There’s a storm a-brewin’ for lululemon athletica.

My take:

Yoga is a very cool way of life, deeply rooted in ancient traditions dating back centuries BCE.  It has lasted through the ages, I imagine, because of its ability to stay relevant in a changing world, because it can adapt or be adapted, because its essence is bigger than social circumstance.

In our modern world yoga is quite popular, I suppose for myriad reasons like disillusionment with traditional Western religion or our spiritually bankrupt consumer culture or fascination with the exotic or the physical benefits of the practice.  I believe lululemon’s popularity is linked to the latter.

I’m a person attracted to the mojo of yoga, but not its current ubiquitous iteration.  It looks too much like the rest of our society — elevating those who can best execute complicated poses and look good doing it.  In general, I find most studios rather unwelcoming to the non-cream-of-the-crop folk, and yoga teachers often talk a good game but are just as catty and bitchy as the people they purport to rise above.  So too with lululemon athletica, home of the $100 yoga pants designed only for women with the thigh gap.

That’s right.  $100 yoga pants, because you as any good consumer knows, you have to buy your way into acceptance. The gang sign you flash to the yoga elite is the lululemon logo which I think bears a striking resemblance to Pearl, the octopus in Finding Nemo.

But you probably shouldn’t get those two confused if you want to hang with the cool kids. Despite my love for the practice of yoga, elitism masquerading as “authenticity” sent me running for the hills.

Back to the $100 yoga pants.

Just for comparison, annual income per person Ethiopia is about 4 yoga pants.

But wait, people will say, my lululemon yoga pants last for years, and as such are a good value.

Ok, but recently their quality has come under fire.  Founder and chair of the board, Chip Wilson, blames women whose thighs rub together for the poor performance, setting off quite a public relations poop storm.  I drank it in smugly until I came across this lululemon blog post by Big Mouthed Chip.  I saved a screen print thinking it wouldn’t last, but holy conspicuous consumption Batman, it’s been there since 2009.

Their Creation Myth, penned by St. Big Mouth, goes like this.  In the 1970s, we got the pill, or as he writes, “the pill.”  First those silly little women started controlling their reproduction, then they burst out of their cozy kitchens and slapped on some shoulder pads.  They forced their way into the boardroom, which, as we all know, is where men belong.

I am not making this up.

Ambition is for men, silly rabbits.

Guess what the result was?

Breast cancer.

And $100 yoga pants.

Never mind that Siddhartha Mukherjee traces breast cancer at least back to Ancient Egypt. (OMG!  Is breast cancer as old as yoga??)

Never mind the millions of people who take the pill (“the pill”) and don’t get breast cancer.

Never mind the fact that the pill reduces the risk of ovarian cancer.

Never mind that the two biggest risk factors for developing breast cancer are being female and getting older.

See, here’s what happened.  You forgot your uterus is more important than your silly little ladybrain so you got breast cancer.   Luckily, lululemon will rescue you with such important events as “Boobie Strong, Body Strong.”  Now get back to the kitchen and bedroom;  lululemon will help you stretch out your tight hamstrings AND remind you that you don’t need fancy anatomical terms like “breasts.”

Let’s just stop the research, ok?  After all, those big science words are really hard to understand.

Breast cancer is caused by FEMINISM and cured, apparently, by $100 yoga pants.

That this company borrows from the mindful lifestyle of yoga without embracing gender equality bothers me.  That they body-shame their target market baffles me.  That women continue to buy their products mystifies me.

That they spread false, blame-the-victim information about breast cancer makes my blood boil.  I think a full boycott is in order.

Please, step away from the octopus.

2 thoughts on “Lululemon”

  1. I would so love to join your boycott, Katie, but I wouldn’t dream of buying $100 yoga pants from even the most socially conscious company. I guess in a way I am already boycotting…

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