Am I a leggings expert?
Well — yes.
I mean —come on! I've been wearing them as pants since at least ten years before it was cool. I was rocking my first pair by 1998.
Image: Google Trends.
In fact, I'm still rocking those pants!
I've got leggings for every occasion, from Thanksgiving to Christmas to the Fourth of July.
I've reviewed leggings on my blog, and am one of the top writers in Leggings on Quora.
Which — quick detour — is never something I set out to do. One of my recurring frustrations with Quora has been that my great, research-based, thought-provoking answers get maybe 168 views per year...
Then I write something about what it's like to be a pretty girl or whether women wear underwear with leggings, and my answer is so popular, it gets emailed to 100,000 users in the weekly newsletter.
So here we are. I'm among the top-viewed writers in Leggings on Quora — and I've probably exceeded 10,000 hours of legging-wearing, which makes me an expert for sure.
So thank God a man has finally explained leggings — and my vagina!! — to me!
Before someone gets emotional and accuses me of being emotional, I could care less about this dude. I am sharing this story for two reasons:
1. It's hilarious.
2. While I am critical of the overuse of the word "mansplaining" (there is typically a very simple solution to this problem), mansplaining is clearly a thing women contend with regularly, and I thought this was a neat and obvious example.
So a while back, I was asked whether some people like to "wear leggings only."
I answered that I wasn't 100% sure what that meant, but that some women wear leggings without underwear (if that's what you're asking), and leggings make wonderful, comfortable, and flattering (technically, the best) pants, but they might not be tactful for every occasion (if that's what you're asking).
Years later, I got a comment from a dude named Nathan:
This is funny for so many reasons. Like... does he really think I would spend 20 years wearing leggings if I were constantly soaking through and destroying them with my toxic, polyurethane-bleaching waterfall of a vagina? Does he really think that I would continue dressing this way if I were getting vulval hot spots and blisters from it?
And has this man never heard of a gusset???!!!
Image: Art Of Where
Gussets are wonderful because they allow for extra stretch without putting too much stress on the seams, as well as extra modesty — there's a reason women in spandex and leotards don't have to layer up anymore.
And, not to womansplain, but part of the point of gussets is so leggings can be worn without underwear.
Adding to the comedy is that I know exactly why this man thought he was a leggings expert.
A few days prior, a horrible boy had mocked his girlfriend's stained underwear on TikTok... and Quora user Adara Ivanova wrote:
Her answer went viral. It showed up on my feed — and no doubt, Nathan's, too.
Which is how he learned more about leggings in two minutes than I have in twenty years.
I called him out on this. He replied:
Oh — you mean like I just did?
Yeah, so, crazy story. I've had a vagina for more than 30 years. I think I know more about it than you, dude.
Why are you arguing with me about whether or not I should wear underwear under my leggings?
If *some* women are self-conscious, then they should do what makes them feel comfortable.
But I am *not* self-conscious... so why are you mansplaining all this inaccurate and weird stuff to me?
The point is, it's fine to remove an "absorbent layer" because leggings are designed for women and to be worn without underwear.
"Actual women." As opposed to.... me?
Well, so here's the thing, honey. I am the one who wrote the answer. You are the one who argued.
Take a moment to let that process.
I don't have to agree with you, simply because you disagreed with me.
I am not the one arguing with reality in this situation — I am the one for whom living in a female body is a biological reality. You're running on your imagination.
A friend shared another hilarious example of mansplaining recently.
So she's dating this guy — let's call him Mikey — and she's having some bad period cramps, so she asks him to bring her a heating pad.
He says no.
"You shouldn't use heat," this man who has never menstruated before mansplains to my 30-year-old friend who has been menstruating since she was 12. "You should use ice. Ice is better for sore muscles."
She gently told him that uterine muscles are different from hamstrings (not to mention, icing is only really useful after a workout — a 2012 review in Sports Medicine found that most studies conclude that applying ice to a muscle reduces its strength and increases risk of injury — whereas applying heat before a workout can reduce pain and injury risk), and that heat reduces cramping and has worked for her in the past.
Instead of admitting he was wrong and getting her the damn heating pad, he continued to argue with her about whether she should use heat or ice.
And you wonder why some women get grumpy on their periods.
I don't care about Nathan and I don't care about Mikey. Their individual ignorance is not the point of this post.
Instead, I'm writing with the moderate viewpoint that, while the term "mansplaining" is both overused and misused (it doesn't mean "disagreed with me"), it is a very real thing that probably every woman has experienced at least once.
If men can so confidently mansplain a woman's menstrual cycle, her underwear, and her own body... what else might they be mansplaining?
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Eva is a content specialist with a passion for play, travel... and a little bit of girl power. Read more >
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