Monday, November 18, 2013

My Thoughts on Lululemon

Last week, yoga/fitness/lifestyle clothier Lululemon's founder Chip Wilson made a huge body image/weight stigma blunder by refusing to take any responsibility when accused of poor product construction. Instead, he blamed yoga pant pilling on poorly constructed women. "Some women's bodies just actually don't work," he said. "It's about the rubbing through the thighs." It's not the fabric's fault, silly; it's your bulging gams.

Wilson has apologized publicly for the offense, but many in the eating disorder community just won't have it. Body Image Advocate Marci Warfhaft-Nadler makes some excellent points here and also started a petition encouraging Lululemon founder Chip Wilson to "stop shaming women's bodies" and "apologize and make clothes for women of all sizes!"

In defense of Lululemon, I happen to like their products, swayed early on by the brand's comfort, fit, and seeming impermeability to sweat smells and stains.* Granted, unlike the average American woman, I wear a size that entitles me to shop at Lululemon in the first place, but in my experience, their yoga and running pants actually pill less than other brands. And, for those of you who have never seen me, I'm sans thigh gap and not even close to a top-shelf Lululemon'er. And yet, my trusted Lulus have held up over
time. . .

Wilson made an offensive comment and for that, he should take responsibility, but let's hate the player and the game. Wilson's fat-shaming sentiment, and the brand's refusal to carry larger sizes, are not at all unique to Wilson or Lululemon.  Rather, they are problems that plague the fashion industry and our culture as a whole. The conversation about bodies, clothing, and weight stigma goes way beyond Chip Wilson and Lululemon and must evolve, along with the industry, to be more inclusive and less offensive to all of us.

*Product plugs:  I'm grateful to Lululemon, Nike, Hard Tail, New Balance, and Apple products for outfitting and entertaining me during today's morning workout, which allowed me the time and space to write this blog post in my head.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013


You may have heard that Michelle Obama is scheduled to appear (again) on an episode of NBC's The Biggest Loser.

This time, the eating disorder community won't go down without a fight.

The last couple of weeks have witnessed a social media* blitz suggesting our first lady reconsider her appearance. The folks over at Binge Behavior started a petition encouraging Mrs. Obama to cancel on TBL. The petition already has 3,500 signatures, including mine!

Binge Behavior, together with the Binge Eating Disorder Association, the Academy of Eating Disorders and some other key e.d. players, also sent a letter to Mrs. Obama explaining why we are challenging her appearance on the show.

What do you think?

*Speaking of social media, a couple of months ago, I signed on as one of the official Tweeters for the Academy of Eating Disorders.  For great content on eating disorders, check out their Twitter feed: @aedweb (and mine, too: @drstaceyla)!