Nope, Not Buying It Lululemon

lululemon-thighs-rhymeOkay, okay, Lululemon — you win! I will never even think of buying one piece of your overpriced clothing.

Athletic apparel brand Lululemon has, once again, turned off their consumer base by making insensitive, belittling comments about women’s bodies. Not too long ago the brand was forced to recall some of its yoga pants after customers complained that the pants became see-through when worn. In response, Lululemon founder Chip Wilson blamed women for the recall, claiming that “Quite frankly, some women’s bodies just actually don’t work” with the pants; it’s because of “rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there over time.” In other words, “Hey, you big-thighed/overweight/bottom-heavy women, please stop wearing our pants. You’re killing them! They’re meant for slim women.”

As if it couldn’t get worse, their latest “Huh?” commentary comes from their location in Bethesda, Maryland. For the holidays the store decided to play on Wilson’s comments about women’s thighs with a lovely poem in their front window: “Cups of Chai/Apple Pies/Rubbing Thighs” This, on top of comments by former employees that the company discriminates against bigger sizes and wants to be the go-to brand for the “fit” and stylish.”

Lulu is clearly suffering from an incurable case of foot (thigh?)-in-mouth syndrome. As anyone could have predicted, Chip Wilson took back his comments after a petition was lululemon-shares-fallcirculated, demanding that he apologize for his words, and the Maryland store promptly removed their window rhyme, adding that they were “deeply sorry”. But what are they really sorry about? Making hurtful, disparaging comments about women or the dollars that they see slipping from their hands? Moreover, the damage has been done and their shares continue to fall.

Now, some ask, what’s the big deal about their comments? Why should those who have extra weight or bigger bottoms wear stretchy, tight pants material? Why can’t a brand be particular about its customers?

This issue is bigger than the right of women with big thighs to wear trendy yoga pants. The issue is one of a culture which green-lights a negative, shaming attitude toward women and their bodies which don’t fit its idea of beautiful. When comments like this are made, all women are affected by the perpetuation of thinking which values (and devalues) women based solely on their outward appearance. Even the slimmest of women are made to wonder what flaws of theirs people are secretly laughing at, as they have another plain salad for lunch. Women who are attempting to work out and be healthy should be encouraged, not shamed.

So, nope, not buying it Lululemon. Not buying your numerous apologies after making hurtful, sexist comments about the women who made you into a multi-million dollar company. And definitely not buying your poor quality, $90+ Spandex.

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13 thoughts on “Nope, Not Buying It Lululemon

  1. This is similar to the Abercrombie and Fitch guy who has blatantly said he wants the cool slim kids to buy his merchandise. Let them say what they want and customers should respond with going elsewhere.

    While I agree it does tap into the wider beauty conformity issue and that is not acceptable but I say the loudest and easiest push back is to hurt them where it matters, their wallet.

  2. Miss Alee,

    Had not hear about the lululemon controversy, but thanks for the info. I did want to let folks know out there that some of the Los Angeles area stores have free yoga classes, and they appear to be welcoming to all sizes coming to those classes, although I have never been to one and cannot testify to that.

    Miss Wanderlust got it right – if any business operates with a disrespectful model, we can leave them alone and seek out the businesses that are respectful.

  3. Hi Wanderlust,

    “This is similar to the Abercrombie and Fitch guy who has blatantly said he wants the cool slim kids to buy his merchandise.”

    Yes! That was a pretty interesting comment to make. As if kids don’t feel enough pressure to be “cool”. Abercrombie has a terrible track record in general.

    “I say the loudest and easiest push back is to hurt them where it matters, their wallet.”

    Agreed. I sincerely hope more people become aware of this and stop buying their products. They’d save a lot of money too.

  4. Hi Sherry,

    “Had not hear about the lululemon controversy, but thanks for the info. I did want to let folks know out there that some of the Los Angeles area stores have free yoga classes, and they appear to be welcoming to all sizes coming to those classes…”

    I do think I remember hearing an LA area yoga instructor commenting about it on the news and she said that yoga classes themselves have and accept people of all sizes.

    I absolutely agree that people looking for yoga apparel should look to other brands.

  5. Mira,

    “No idea what Lululemon is, but fuck those assholes.”

    Ha, many people don’t, especially outside of metro areas of the United States. For some reason they think they are so big now that they can dismiss whole groups of people. Uh, no.

  6. “Quite frankly, some women’s bodies just actually don’t work” with the pants; it’s because of “rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there over time.”

    But isn’t this a big reason why such pants wear down faster (thigh rubbing)?. He surely knows his brand. Perhaps the quality is also not up to par?. Dunno. Am I lacking in empathy because I giggle at his comment?.

  7. foosrock,

    I knew you’d sympathize with his comment. 🙂

    “But isn’t this a big reason why such pants wear down faster (thigh rubbing)?”

    It can. But that’s why many, especially sports apparel is made to be extra strong (I wear lots of tights and they are just fine, after years of wear.). Lululemon was just using bad material for their pants; they’ve since re-released the pants with a more durable material.

  8. Wow, how tactless. Just in time for holiday shopping season to upset potential shoppers.And their stuff is ridiculously overpriced for what it is. I was actually considering a purchase until I looked on their website. But, nope. I can buy yoga pants for way cheaper than that. I would go to TJ Maxx, or somewhere like that.

  9. Alee, I so adore how you know me. Tis true, while tactless like madamesiamese said, it’s (in my humour) a giggle worthy statement and am, for those prices, do the pants come with a hot male yoga instructer?.

  10. Hi madamesiamese,

    “Just in time for holiday shopping season to upset potential shoppers.”

    Lol, indeed. And they were doing so well prior to this year.

    In general I do think people should look for cheaper pants. There’s simply no reason those pants should cost that much!

    foosrock,

    “for those prices, do the pants come with a hot male yoga instructer?”

    Ha, don’t we all wish. Even if they did, I’m still not buying it! 😉

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