As you should know by now, I hate to shop. In particular, I hate to shop at stores that make me uncomfortable. I have only been into our local Lululemon store once but it was enough. I stopped in looking for some comfortable post-partum clothes and, within minutes of walking in, I felt like Vivian the prostitute from Pretty Woman when she went shopping on Rodeo Drive.
Over the past year there has been some issues and complaints about some of the brand’s yoga pants. Material that quickly pilled and became sheer resulted in a massive, money-losing recall. Considering the positions you get yourself into in yoga, sheerness really isn’t a quality you are looking for in a pant, especially ones for which you have shelled out almost $100. But again, even when this was making headlines, I didn’t care.
So, why do I suddenly give a shit about Lululemon yoga pants? This comment by the Vancouver billionaire founder of the company is why…
“…some women’s bodies just actually don’t work for [the pants]… It’s really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there…”
I’m sorry, but when Chip Wilson said this, it just pissed me off. In this interview, he suggests that the issues with their yoga pant isn’t actually a problem with the quality of their product but is a problem with the bodies of the women wearing them. But the problems with this pant isn’t just with overweight women. Skinny women who have bought the same pants in the past, and worn them successfully for years, are complaining that their recent purchased aren’t meeting the grade.
He has since issued an apology that wasn’t much of an apology.
“I’m sad. I’m really sad. I’m sad for the repercussions of my actions. I’m sad for the people of Lululemon who I care so much about that have really had to face the brunt of my action. I take responsibility for all that has occurred and the impact it has had on you. I’m sorry to have put you through all this.”
So, he apologized to his staff for causing them grief but he did not retract his statement that “some women’s bodies just don’t work” for his pants.
The thing that really gets me about this whole debacle is that most of the backlash is about overweight women not being given equal shopping opportunities in Lululemon. This is true, of course. These stores stock very few items in larger sizes and they are usually kept in the back and have to be requested. This is crappy, but it is not unheard of or even uncommon. During my younger years, I could never shop at stores such as Esprit or Benetton. (I wasn’t overweight, I just had breasts and hips that their clothes didn’t accommodate).
People seem to be overlooking what I see as the real issue, the reason I find Mr. Wilson’s comments so objectionable. Mr. Wilson is saying that this piece of clothing doesn’t work on women whose thighs rub together. So who the hell is his company making pants for if you can’t wear them if your thighs touch? This woman?
This is supermodel Cara Delevingne. An inspiration for many young women who are being sucked into a dangerous weight-loss trend gaining popularity on the Internet called “#thighgap.”
“Thigh gap” is exactly what it sounds like: a visible space between the thighs when a woman is standing with her feet together. It’s not a new phenomenon but the trend has recently gained steam online. Pictures of supermodels, anorexic women and, as the New York Post noted, even victims of the Holocaust are being posted for “motivational purposes.”
This belief, that a thigh gap is both desirable and obtainable, is bullshit and comments such as Mr. Wilson’s just adds to the misconceptions.
For the majority of women, a thigh gap is a physical impossibility. The same New York Post article cites Dr. Vonda Wright, an orthopedic surgeon,
“The spacing between a person’s legs is based mostly on genetics. And even extraordinarily thin people may not have a body type that can achieve a gap. You have to be both skinny and wide-hipped.”
She continues to explain that, even if you have the right genetics, you must also be devoid of leg muscle. Any healthy amount of muscle will cause a woman’s thighs to touch.
Do my thighs touch? You bet they do! Not only because I’m carrying around a lot of extra weight at the moment, but because that is the nature of my body. Even when I was at my fittest, training for a half-marathon and wearing a size 4, my thighs rubbed together.
Mr, Wilson, I know you aren’t reading this, but I wish you were. I don’t care if you think fat people shouldn’t wear your clothes, and I really don’t care about the reasons your yoga pants aren’t worth the money. I care that you are telling healthy young women that their bodies aren’t good enough. Sir, this is your real offence.
Any thoughts on this? I’d love to hear them.