“Lululemon is not for thighs that touch”

For those of you who have worn Lululemon pants you are aware of how easily they pill. Last week Denis Wilson, Lululemon Athletics’ founder, responded to massive customer complaints about the pilling in an interview. Unfortunately, Wilson explained this apparent issue with the company’s legendary stretchy pants, by projecting the problem onto women themselves; he claimed his pants are not made for women whose thighs rub together. This is not the first spotlight Lululemon has received in result to Wilson’s comments, in 2005 he said “if I was going to make plus size sizes I would have to use 30% more fabric and would have to charge 30% more,” putting the average price of the yoga pants at 156$. The fetishization of women’s bodies and the “thigh gap” is one reasons why Thin Thighs in Thirty Days, released in 1982 still sells, and why companies like Lululemon construct women’s bodies as embodiments of self-worth.

Thighs

Lululemon ambassador Natile Petrzelsa is a professor who specializes in gender in American culture, and who discussed the event in Why This Lululemon Scandal Is Different. Petrzelsa argues

Wilson didn’t just dismiss as unworthy consumers an entire group of women whose bodies don’t conform to his ideal, he did it with galling insensitivity: by honing in on one of the most fraught areas of women’s bodies

I agree with Petrezelsa, Wilson’s comments perpetuate the association of average and large bodies with moral qualities such as laziness and mediocrity.

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Lululemon has made efforts to mend their reputation, they have sponsored events concerning health and women’s relationship with their bodies within clothes, such as HealthClass2.0 and Sati Life. However, despite Lululemon’s efforts Wilson’s actions continually reduce women to their body parts and promotes impossible and contradictory standards; a tendency that seems to consume the majority of todays companies. 

Check out Denis Wilson’s full interview , edited interview and TERRIBLE apology video.

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3 thoughts on ““Lululemon is not for thighs that touch”

  1. I think it’s interesting that most of the founders of companies who say something about their clothes not being for people over a certain weight or people whose thighs rub together (Abercrombie & Fitch, etc.) are men. I remember learning about the thigh gap as a thing in high school when one of my classmates was worried about it, but I didn’t really start thinking about it until I saw post after post about it on Tumblr within the past two years. I think this is a pretty good article about thigh gap obsessions and the way that bodies naturally exist: http://blackgirlsguidetoweightloss.com/beauty/thigh-gaps-dangerous-obsession-healthy-perspective-and-learning-and-loving-your-hips/

    In regard to Wilson’s comment, I think it’s easier to blame product malfunctions on customers, especially customers who are already hyper-aware of their bodies (since Lululemon is marketed as workout gear), as opposed to realizing that there may be something wrong with your manufacturing process and that your product may not actually be worth anywhere near what you’re selling it for.

  2. Pingback: Body Shaming | Girlpower

  3. Pingback: Dressing Bodies Handsomely | Girlpower

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