• author
    • Debra DeAngelo

    • November 15, 2013 in Columnists

    The gap between your ears is more important than the one between your thighs

    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 to 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 body’s 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 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 and disdain, 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.

    • Excellent piece!

    • I have loved Lulu lemon for years. I am not a thin person. My thighs rub and I have the pile up but they are pants that I have worn almost everyday of my life for the last few years, I have never done yoga. I am a normal size 10-12 (mostly size 12) but lulu lemons are made bigger as I wear a size 8. They are soft and comfortable and have wide legs to skinny ones. I will miss buying new ones every few years as they used to be guaranteed for 5 years if washed properly which I don’t. They were my go to pants for most everyday activities. I will wear the ones I own until they literally fall apart but I will not buy new ones. I know they were expensive but for their softness alone and their wonderful fit for me, I will miss them. I thought I always looked great in them with my thighs and all. How could I have been wrong all these years? I have now turned away from Whole Foods (CEO is an ass), Lulu Lemon (CEO is an ass) and now Jelly Bellys (not my favorite so that one was easy) but oh there are so many which are so hard to turn away from like Nestle’s (which I run hot and cold with) and many more companies. Bye bye Lulu, I will so miss you when my pants pile more than I can take and they go to charities to bring someone else joy and piling. Back to Target where my original ones came from before I went upscale. They piled too and Target has has its share of problems with it’s corporate money as well. What is a not thin, piler to do? You are right of course Debra but this one really hurts my lazy lifestyle.

      • Madge, although I never wore Lululemons (I’m simply too much of a penny pincher) I have cut loose some businesses that I’ve loved for years. Barilla pasta, for example. I will not buy it, following the CEO’s anti-gay statements. The only power the little people have is our wallets. I’m not going to help fund hatred, whether toward gays or women or anyone else.

      • dani

      • November 15, 2013 at 10:25 am
      • Reply

      thigh gaps actually suck because when u poop you have to cover the gap with your arms so you don’t smell anything

      • Well, Dani, not having a thigh gap – that’s something with which I have no experience, but I’ll take your word for it!

    • OMG! Did she just say that?

    • OK, still trying to get past Dani’s bathroom dilemma. GREAT column, Debra! I saw Chip’s “apology.” He’s a poop head.

    • Donald and Terri – yah, me too. I have ZERO frame of reference about that! I think I’m glad my thighs touch!
      And Terri, yes I saw the “apology”. SUCH a crock. He was only saying that to save his sad, sexist butt. There wasn’t a drop of sincerity in it!

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