November 20, 2013

Defending Chip Wilson. ~ Lizzie Kramer

I have one problem with Chip Wilson, and one problem only; that the single Lululemon top that I own makes me look hotter than I actually am.

God damn you, Chip. I blame you and your clothing company for the delusion that I actually have a full pair of breasts and a perpetually flat belly.

It’s definitely your fault if I get hit on at my local yoga studio.

Lululemon has been in the yoga world news recently (big surprise there). They’re the company that everyone loves to hate and loves to wear, with plenty of women being really angry about Chip’s recent comments about the quality of Lululemon’s pants while simultaneously wearing the pants.

The soundbyte that has caused this uproar is from his interview last week on “Street Smart” that “Frankly, some women’s bodies just don’t actually work” (for the yoga pants) and “They don’t work for some women’s bodies. It’s really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there over a period of time, how much they use it.”

Having never had the $98 to spend on making my ass look more perky, I can’t say whether or not I have a personal opinion about the quality of the pants in question. But I have to say that I’m a little more concerned with the reaction of women to Chip’s comments than I am to Chip’s comments themselves.

There has been a lot of outrage about Chip’s remarks regarding maintaining a culture that emphasizes “healthy” body image.

But this begs the question: if we’re spending $98 trying to make our butts look better (while we’re doing yoga, might I add) then where’s the healthy body image in that? I understand from a quality standpoint why women are irked that their $98 yoga pants are wearing down on their asses while they do their asanas. But really, what are these women trying to cosmetically change with a pair of pants in the first place?

I am also well aware that Lululemon somehow degrades the idea of “healthy” body image by making it clear that they don’t want to cater to plus-sized ladies, since Lululemon refuses to carry clothing above a size 12. But this begs another very interesting question—should anyone really be larger than a size 12?

The average US size 12 waist size is between 32 ½ and 34 inches, and a size 14 measures in at 34 ½ to 36 ½ inches. It’s also common medical knowledge that once a woman’s waist size is above 35 inches she is at an increased risk for diabetes and heart disease, not to mention a plethora of other health risks. She’s also more likely to have a BMI that puts her well into the overweight or obese category. I wouldn’t really call heart disease, diabetes, and premature onset of illnesses “healthy.”

We can say that we’re “born this way,” but truthfully, American women weren’t always this big.

In 1950, the average waist size was 27 inches. As of 2013, it’s 34 inches. Is it just me or is that difference not all muscle? Naturally, the majority of fashion corporations have adjusted their sizes according to this demographic shift in order to retain profit. And because it would really suck to be surrounded by a bunch of naked fat people.

Also, if there is any doubt in your mind about the fact that yes, size 12 really is “fat,” go to our government’s website with all the facts. A not so shocking two-thirds of American adults are considered medically overweight or obese. Clearly, there’s a problem here. It’s not Chip Wilson’s fault, either. It’s the fact that we’ve become delusional about size ladies. Yup, I said it. We’re delusional.

I am sick and tired of having overweight and obese women say that their bodies are perfect and beautiful just the way they are and that the rest of the world just needs to cater to their needs. I don’t buy it from an aesthetic or a health standpoint. I don’t believe that fat is healthy, no matter how much you want to scream it in my face with your slogans and headlines and triple D’s.

And if you think I’m just some skinny bitch who has never had to work off a Cheeto a day in your life, then you’re completely wrong.

I was medically overweight my entire life up until I started moving my butt and eating whole and healthy foods two years ago. And I myself have had struggles with anorexia and binge-eating disorders, trying to reconcile an old image of myself with a new one. I understand from personal experience why we as women are so defensive of this delusion.

In an effort to encourage our women to stay away from the dangers of eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, in an effort to protect our daughters from stick thin models and photoshop, we have created another issue altogether. The delusion that accepting your fat is having “healthy” body image. And when someone, anyone, threatens that delusion that we have created, we get mighty defensive.

But being overweight is just as risky as being underweight, and saying that fat is beautiful and healthy has about as much truth to it as considering bones beautiful and healthy. And if you want to get really technical, wearing clothes that sucks us in and flattens us out isn’t really healthy for our organs and joints. It’s also not a proponent of this delusional “healthy” body image at all. It’s not accepting your natural flaws, it’s covering them up. If you love it so much, then why don’t you want it all hanging out?

Maybe instead of spending 98 dollars on a pair of yoga pants, we should be spending our money on making nutritional decisions that nourish our body, getting a gym membership, or buying a pair of running or walking shoes that will give us proper arch support. Or even better, donate the ninety eight dollars to some starving kid in Africa and just do some squats guys. You can make your butt look good, with or without Chip Wilson.

Although, let’s face it, he does make some cute pants.


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Editor: Dana Gornall

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