Montana State Rep. David Moore is a dumbass. Not just any old dumbass, but a Red Forman Dumbass Award winner. What has he done to merit such an accolade? He introduced a bill in the House Judiciary Committee, specifically House Bill 365, that would sentence any woman caught wearing yoga pants in public for the third time to five years in prison — and it would allow a fine of up to $5,000. Felonious wearing of yoga pants? What a dumbass!
For those of you who haven’t watched the late and lamented “That ’70s Show,” Red Forman was a curmudgeonly father and a hard-working Korean War vet who just didn’t understand why his son and his friends behaved foolishly, so he had a term for them: dumbasses.
Republican Moore represents the city of Missoula, population of around 70,000. Apparently, he has his knickers in a twist over some cyclists who participated in a nude bike ride through the streets of Missoula back in August (well, you wouldn’t wear just a smile outside in Montana in February).
So, self-appointed guardian of public morals that he is, he has decided to expand the indecent exposure law in the state. “Yoga pants should be illegal in public anyway,” Moore said after he introduced his bill. But he doesn’t stop there. Nipples must be covered, and not just ladies’ nipples, but those of the gentlemen as well. And no wearing of clothing that makes it look like you’re exposing your privates. As he put it, you can’t wear anything that “gives the appearance or simulates” buttocks, genitals, pelvic area or female nipple. So the guys can wear fake lady boobs, but the ladies can’t. Also banned are Speedos and bicycle pants.
Currently, the law is: Indecent exposure. (1) A person commits the offense of indecent exposure if the person knowingly or purposely exposes the person’s genitals under circumstances in which the person knows the conduct is likely to cause affront or alarm in order to:
(a) abuse, humiliate, harass, or degrade another; or
(b) arouse or gratify the person’s own sexual response or desire or the sexual response or desire of any person.
Well, how many women in Montana wear yoga pants anyway? Smug East and West Coasters would probably be surprised to know that there are at least five yoga studios Missoula alone, but that’s what Google told me (so it must be true).
Four things in particular appall me about this:
1. Moore believes he can tell people what to wear. People talk about the fashion police, but I am pretty sure he doesn’t have a badge. Google has photos of him in a dark gray coat and a brown patterned tie — sorry, Buckwheat, but you don’t get to tell anyone what to wear if that’s the best you can do.
2. It seems, once again, that the Republican Party is uncomfortable with the female form. Dudes, if you can’t control yourselves, that isn’t her fault.
3. I seriously doubt that Moore would be willing to raise taxes on his constituents to keep the yoga-pantsed “hussies” locked up for five years. Yes, the fine would help reduce the costs of incarceration, but the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC, the Koch brothers’ favorite place to craft reactionary laws) claims Montana’s average annual cost per inmate is $35,635 and that Montana’s prisons are over-crowded. You really want to lock people up and spend more than $170,000 for wearing something that offends you?
4. But above all what wigs me out is that Moore’s bill is actually a REDUCTION of the penalty. Yes, folks, he expands the number of things count as indecent exposure, but the five years his bill proposes for a third offense is more lenient than the current law. Under Montana state law, if you are found guilty of indecent exposure for a third time, you could go to jail for life and get fined $10,000.
Jeff Myhre is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine.