On Prince Edward Island, there’s a 22-year-old blogger named Tim Brown who thinks yoga pants are the new push-up bra. A self-styled Joe Francis, Brown started a website called Girls in Yoga Pants that sadly does for yoga what Francis did for Spring Break. It attracts a whopping 20,000 unique visitors a day, which allows Brown to make a tidy living from what’s essentially yoga soft porn.
Imagine Girls Gone Wild in Warrior I. Instead of getting girls drunk a la Francis, Brown asks women to submit racy pictures of themselves in yoga pants and bras. Then he plays Hugh Hefner—evaluating, describing, and then categorizing the women’s butts.
A few weeks ago, It’s All Yoga Baby directed the yoga world’s gaze to Brown’s blog. The story broke the same week that the yoga community agonized over the appropriateness of an ad in Yoga Journal that featured a nude yogi selling Toesox. (I mean isn’t that how we all practice?)
Yoga’s sexualization has became the community’s newest hot button issue, and it’s hardly surprising argues Stefanie Syman, a Brooklynite, yogi, and author of The Subtle Body: The History of Yoga in America. When you combine yoga + consumerist culture + the web you’re bound to get sexed up depictions of yogis, says Syman. “What I find more surprising is how much Sturm und Drang ads like ToeSox and Girls in Yoga Pants stir up. Isn’t it pretty obvious that a sustained yoga practice has nothing to do with either of these cultural instances, that women’s sexuality will long be exploited to move merchandise, and that the best thing to do is to ignore them?”
Sure, we could ignore them. Or, we could shine a spotlight on Tim Brown’s creepy enterprise. We tracked him down for an interview and asked for a close-up of his derriere in yoga pants. We figured it’s only fair that the ogler let himself be ogled. His response? “Hahaha I won’t be trying on yoga pants any time soon, I’ll leave that to the ladies.” Needless to say, he’s never been to yoga class. Here’s our interview, which we’re running in all its unedited glory.
W+G: What inspired this site? Why yoga pants?
TB: Well, it’s really just because there were times when me and my friends were all sitting around drinking and talking about how somehow, yoga pants make girls’ butts look so much better than wearing jeans or spandex or anything else.
W+G: Does the site have anything to do with yoga?
TB: Nope, not at all. I know absolutely nothing about yoga.
W+G: Where do you get the photos of women on the site? Do you take them?
TB: We’ve taken pictures of friends of ours. But for the most part, girls just send in pictures of themselves. We get about 10 submissions per day.
W+G: Is there a review process for the photos?
TB: Yeah, there’s a process all the pictures go through. We judge them and see if they’re good enough to go up there. Some are funny, and we think people will get a kick out of them, so we put them up for that reason.
W+G: What do you say in response to people who think the site is degrading?
TB: I was talking to a girl about that yesterday. She thought it was degrading to women, and she wasn’t sure how she felt about the site. But, I don’t really think it is. All the girls I talk to say yoga pants are really comfortable, and they like that they make their butts look good. It’s really a humor site. It’s not meant to be taken really seriously.