Lululemon, here’s what I think of you: pfffffflt
When I was working out Friday morning somehow we got on the topic of workout clothes. (avoid cotton for heavy sweating – you chafe and it sucks up your sweat and presses it to your body making this heavy weighty shroud. You become very aware of your clothing. And ick. I did this for far too long years ago and buying actual workout clothes made a big difference.)
Anyway, Lululemon came up. My first experience with Lululemon was via Twitter. I follow a lot of health and fitness conscious bloggers and I’d seen more than a few share positive things about Lululemon. It was comfy, pretty, good for working out, etc etc. I’d built some trust in these people so one day I checked out the site.
I need desparately to feel comfortable, capable, and yes even sexy in my workout wear. I am already so self conscious I just need to “fit in” and “blend in.” The work is hard (so hard – and it is for everyeone – but it’s so much more than physical work isn’t it? Physical, mental, emotional. I think the physical work is the easiest.) Something just needs to be a little easier. (If you watch The West Wing you know I’m stealing this line from the beginning of Season 4.)
Okay, so back to Lalawhatisitcalled***. Their primary marketing tactic is exclusivity. Exclusion. They offer a limited selection for a limited time and forget about sales – they charge a premium. It’s designed to make you act now and feel elite. I didn’t know this when I checked out the site. I was excited because I thought they offered comfortable, attractive, performance workout gear that had some sort of organic or philanthropic or pro-woman purpose.
Here is their self claimed manifesto * I find most of it to be drivel.
But here’s the one point that really sticks out to me:
lululemon athletica creates components for people to live longer, healthier and more fun lives. If we can produce products to keep people active and stress-free, we believe the world will become a much better place.
As I clicked around the site I didn’t see anything special. It looked like workout clothes. Expensive workout clothes. I started clicking on actual products – and something else caught my attention. The sizes. Ahhh, exclusion at its best. They don’t carry my size**. I couldn’t even wear something if I bought it. Now, whenever I hear or see their brand name I just think “not for me – another thing not for me.”
Why would a fitnesswear company with such an idealistic manifesto about making the world a better place exclude sizes? Shouldn’t they carry all kinds of sizes? from the super petite (well, they have extra small) to the larger woman? Woman are tall, curvy, bloated, stocky. WOMAN ARE ALL SHAPES AND SIZES. And these women? These women of all shapes and sizes are active. Doesn’t every woman deserve to clothe her body appropriately and comfortably for fitness?
Why ostrasize the very people who probably need you most? Why not be a partner? Be a FRIEND. Show a woman “your body is good.” “your heart is good.” “you deserve to feel more than shame. You deserve to feel good.” You deserve to feel unchafed – to feel free of the weighty shroud of the sweat soaked oversized cotton t-shirt. That t-shirt is some weird poetic dance of your good choices clinging grotesquely to your past. Well, for me anyway.
Lululemon posted a manifesto that is about telling rather than showing and doing.
I wish health and fitness people would stop publishing and promoting a brand like this. At a time when there is such a media battle for dysmorphic thinking and self-love/self-acceptance – shouldn’t these trusted bloggers – these social media powerhouses- embrace brands who care and are available to ALL their readers? Why promote such an exclusive/exclusionary brand? You have the hungry attention of the raw, the desparate, the hopeful, the nubile, the naive – and I guarentee you a significant chunk of them can’t wear or afford the brand you are endorsing.
It’s hard to believe you are good enough when everything points to not yet. Not you. Only if. I love conditionals when I’m working in Excel, but not when I’m working to save my own life. To have a life.
The hard work is good. I believe in it. I believe in the work and the result. But some things just need to be a little bit easier.
**I’m a size 16/18 – XL. I was a 22 a couple summers ago. And then a 20 for a long time stretch
***Something funny about me. For as much as I love language – the written word and particularly, alliteration – whenever I see a long word with lots of consonants I give up on trying to read it. I ignore most of the word and use the first 3 or four letters and then I make up the rest. So when I read “LuLuLemon” I really read it as “LuLublahblahblah”. Other words I’ve struggled with: all the names in the Millennium Trilogy.