Nude/Sexualized Women in Yoga Ads

Recently Ms. Magazine‘s blog had an interesting post on the sexualization of women in yoga advertisements, entitled, “Yoga’s Feminist Awakening.”

So do a Google search for “yoga” and you’re going to find a lotta pictures of women.  Some naked.  Many in bounded, contorted, sexualized positions.  Don’t believe me?

Hmm, something tells me that more than yoga and goodwill is being sold here.

After seeing the following ads which sell socks (how sexy can you get?),

Yoga Journal Co-founder Judith Hansen Lasater responded:

“I’m concerned about ads that have stimulated both confusion and sadness in me about where the magazine is now and where it is headed. I am confused because I do not understand how photos of naked or half-naked women are connected with the sale of practice products for asana, an important part of yoga. These pictures do not teach the viewer about yoga practice or themselves. They aren’t even about the celebration of the beauty of the human body or the beauty of the poses, which I support. These ads are just about selling a product. This approach is something I thought belonged (unfortunately) to the larger culture, but not in Yoga Journal.”

And many people have responded to the hoopla with a resounding “who-gives-a-shit.”  Which is sad.

In the words of Monica Shores via Ms. Magazine: “Looks like some otherwise enlightened yogis could do with a course in Women’s Studies 101.”


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5 responses to “Nude/Sexualized Women in Yoga Ads

  1. Pingback: Towards a Feminist Yoga Practice | Broad Recognition

  2. Wrench Turner

    It’s a shame that we have to measure everything against our own views as if we could speak with conviction about what’s right and what’s wrong. Maybe we could get along more easily if we deal with what’s right for us as individuals. Some people actually like sex, but from the tone of your article it seems they should feel guilty about it. Which is sad.

    I suspect that Christy Turlington or even the models in the advertisements for ToeSox enjoy feeling “sexy”, and enjoy that as a benefit of their yoga practice. I know for myself, I enjoy looking and feeling good in any state of dress or undress. Are you saying I should hide that fact for fear of being perceived as sexual?


  3. kera

    “It’s a shame that we have to measure everything against our own views as if we could speak with conviction about what’s right and what’s wrong. Maybe we could get along more easily if we deal with what’s right for us as individuals.” I totally agree with you. For example, I don’t judge people by what they wear. I don’t believe that women “ask” for rape by wearing soemthing low-cut, and I don’t believe that saggy pants or short shorts indicates unintelligance (there is, however, elements of appropriateness). I would be a nudist if it weren’t for other judgmental people. But these ads are an issue about embracing your sexuality – they are advertisements companies have designed to sell socks, or to spread awareness about an important humanitarian issue. The fact that they are using not only sex, but sexualizing women, is significant, because it doesn’t have anything to do with the product. It’s a primal marketing tactic to get you to buy something. Now porn, strip clubs, prostitution, ads for dildos – all sell sex. And that’s great. Guiltless, equal, honest, and unharmful sex is the best sex, and you should get as much of it when you can. But, however, you do need to take into consideration issues of disempowerment and disenfranchisement that come along with women (and often children) working in the sex industry.
    So, no, everyone should embrace their sexuality, but I’m encouraging us to look beyond that to deeper issues of disempowerment and sexualization of women.


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  5. Pingback: Wordpress » Towards a Feminist Yoga Practice

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