“Does Lululemon want women to be comfortable in their clothing, or uncomfortable in our own bodies?” asks the Change.org petition calling for Chip Wilson of Lululemon to “stop shaming women’s bodies…apologize and make clothes for women of all sizes.”
Wilson made waves yet again last week when he said in an interview that the problem with Lululemon yoga pants being see-through and pilling isn’t poor quality, but that “quite frankly some women’s bodies just actually don’t work for [lulu yoga pants].” After the media flurry that followed, he then put out a response with an apology to Lululemon employees and an appeal to supporters without a word about the thousands of women he offended, whether they’re customers or not.
While detractors (many of which we’ve noticed are males and/or lulu ambassadors, though not all) might say neither Chip Wilson nor Lululemon owes anything to anyone, including an apology or making clothing different sizes to fit different sized women, the authors of this petition (at 1,156 signatures at the time of this post) do make some valid points about the broader issue and what this yoga pants problem says to women about their bodies in general.
Rebecca Hains and Marci Warhaft-Nadler who created the petition are members of Brave Girls Alliance an advocacy group leading the #bravegirlswant movement promoting positive messages of girl power and empowerment in response to mass media, corporations and mainstream retailers. Personally experiencing eating disorders and working with young girls today already in the practice of body and self-loathing, Hains and Warhaft-Nadler took it upon themselves to speak out for change, and against the need for the trendy, yet unrealistic “thigh gap.”
Via the Change.org petition:
We’ve got news for Wilson: even though the “thigh gap” has become trendy and desirable among girls and young women, for the vast majority of us, it is absolutely unattainable in a healthy way. Those who chase the thigh gap are at increased risk of eating disorders.
Furthermore, Lululemon clothing is only available up to a size 12. But a size 12 is average for women in the US and Canada, and women who wear a size 12 and larger can be just as healthy as their thinner sisters. Size is not a sound measure of fitness! If Lululemon is really a brand for women who are pursuing health and wellness, shouldn’t Lululemon clothes be made in sizes larger than the average, too?
By only producing clothes up to a size 12 and by making comments to the media that shame women’s bodies, the Lululemon brand and its founder, Chip Wilson, are treating thinness as a status symbol. Only those who are “thin” are “in” when it comes to the upscale Lululemon brand.
The full letter to Chip is below:
To: Chip Wilson, Founder, Lululemon
Your recent comments regarding women’s bodies are leading many of us to ask:
does Lululemon want women to be comfortable in their clothing, or uncomfortable in our own bodies?
Women across North America were shocked to hear you claim that women Lululemon pants wear out too quickly it’s because their bodies aren’t built right and that the problem is that their thighs are rubbing together.
As the founder of a health brand, you of all people should be sensitive to the struggles with body image that millions of Canadian and American women go through. The attitude toward women’s bodies that you are promoting, is the same one that leads to dangerous eating disorders.
We believe you owe women and girls an apology. If Lululemon pants wear out quickly with normal use, please acknowledge that there is a problem with your pants without blaming women.
To show your sincerity, we are asking you to make clothing for a wider range of body sizes than those found in Lululemon shops currently. If Lululemon is really a brand for women who are pursuing health and wellness, shouldn’t Lululemon clothes be made in sizes larger than the average, too?
Please make sizes 14 and 16 available in all your stores and online.Stop acting like only the thinnest of women have value.
Click here for the full petition.