What is a Lululemon, you ask? A refreshing citrus-y rum cooler, maybe, or a girlie-girl super-hero who hurls lemon grenades at the bad guys? Maybe it was just a finger-stutter while texting “lemon”?
All good answers, all wrong. Lululemon is a very trendy, very pricey line of yoga wear. There’s a point at which “pricey” become “stupidity” and Lululemon has blown right past it. Or, rather, those who purchase their yoga pants have — they’re as much as $130 a pair, which is one more zero than this cheapacabra is willing to pay for yoga pants. About $13 from Marshall’s or Ross, and if I can find cheaper ones, I’ll grab those.
It’s a moot point, really, because they don’t make Lululemons larger than a size 12 — mainly because they don’t want women larger than a size 12 (like me) wearing their product. Lululemon only wants their tight little clothes on tight little bods. Anything else is just bad advertising. They want the women wearing their clothes to serve as sexy little walking, talking commercials that will entice insecure young women everywhere to think that they must have Lululemons too, so they’ll look sexy in yoga class or, better yet, sexier than everyone else in yoga class.
Because looking sexy is what yoga is all about.
(Side note: America has ruined yoga.)
Those of us who don’t go do yoga to get our sexy on just shuffle into class wearing our Target tights and worn out Life is Good T-shirts, and roll out our mats in the back row, and all in all, everyone’s doing their own respective yoga thing, and life is pretty much copacetic. And then one day a few months back, some of the gals in the back of the room noticed that they could tell what color panties the Lululemon crowd in the front were wearing. If they were wearing any at all. If you get my drift.
Word of the too-sheer yoga pants went viral, sales dropped off a cliff, and that was bad for Lululemon’s bottom line (sorry, sometimes I can’t help myself). Yes, Lululemon dealt with the sheerness problem. But they blamed their customers. The problem wasn’t the pants, the problem was that women were “wearing the wrong size.” Translation: The fatties are squeezing into our pants and stretching them out.
Having gotten away with blaming their customers rather than the sagging quality of their product, Lululemon founder Chip Wilson employed this strategy again when customers more recently started complaining that their hundred-dollar yoga pants were “pilling” between the thighs — right where they rub.
In a televised interview on Bloomberg news, Wilson, flanked by a dull-eyed zombie in a blond wig, explains that the problem isn’t the pants. It’s women’s bodies: “Quite frankly, some women’s bodies just don’t work for it,” says Wilson — the “it” being their product. The blond zombie slowly nods in agreement.
The Bloomberg reporter seems incredulous as she hears his comments, and considers their implications: Women whose thighs touch at the top are just not quite up to Lululemon’s high standards. Pudgy peasants. Let them wear Kohl’s.
MSNBC commentator Melissa Harris-Perry was a little more than incredulous over Wilson’s comments, and wrote a blistering “Letter to Chip Wilson,” which she read on her show and noted, “…most women — nearly all women — have thighs that rub against each other. Especially when working out, which is what your clothes are presumably for.”
She pauses and adds, “I mean, my thighs touch, Chip.”
Melissa H-P is not a woman with a weight problem. If anything, she’s at the tinier end of the size spectrum. If her thighs touch, well, the rest of us shouldn’t feel so bad.
Melissa emphasizes that Lululemon is catering to the “thigh gap” crowd – those relatively few number of very thin women whose thighs don’t touch at the top, and points out that “thigh gap” isn’t even physically normal for the vast majority of women.
“In order to achieve the ‘thigh gap’ that you apparently think Lululemon customers should have — which, by the way, is an obsession some experts have said is causing eating disorders in young women — to get that thigh gap, one must not only be thin, but have especially wide hips. Someone like me would have to rearrange her skeleton to achieve it.”
Melissa H-P goes on to declare that for the price of their pants, Lululemon could reinforce the fabric between the thighs, rather than creating yoga pants designed for the miniscule number of women whose thighs don’t touch. If Lululemon can’t do that, Melissa H-P so delightfully summarizes, “…despite the cult-like devotion to your products, women will take our big ol’ thighs to another retailer — one who won’t expect us to pay exorbitant prices for the privilege of being body-shamed.”
I’d like to add that there are a whole lot of us with big ol’ thighs, and collectively, we have a whole lot more money to spend than those spindly little thigh-gap gals. And we won’t be spending it on Lululemons.
Those of you who purchase Lululemon products — stop and think. You’re supporting misogyny. Disgust, disdain and, yes, hatred, for the natural female form is essentially misogyny. Why do you want to help promote self-hatred and the denigration of women? Where is your female pride?
But, you plead, you have a really sexy thigh gap, and you look really hot in your Lululemons and don’t want to give them up. Know what? You’ll look hot in anything. It’s not the product — it’s you. Don’t buy into the marketing. Wear something, anything else, and show Lululemon that it isn’t the gap between a woman’s thighs that matters — it’s the gap between her ears, and what she fills it with.
— Email Debra DeAngelo at [email protected]; read more of her work at www.wintersexpress.com and www.ipinionsyndicate.com