When Life Hands You Lululemon [Write a Rant on Your Feminist Blog]

I’m angry. I’m sure you’ve heard about the scandal involving Lululemon Athletica, an extremely popular yoga-inspired, athletic wear retailer. Last Spring, Lululemon had produced a batch of their supposedly magical, pricey yoga pants that were overly sheer and therefore exposing the lulubums of a select group of customers who were unlucky enough to buy pants during that time period. Lululemon recalled a portion of their pants, and we forgave them for the almost comical mishap and happily resumed downward-dogging.

In recent weeks, though, customers have been filing complaints about the quality of the pants, which have become a style statement in themselves and are worn by many for daily life, in addition to exercise. I’ve even heard people refer to “lulu”, as it’s known, as having a cult-like following. For around $100 a pair, these yoga pants are not your average pair of leggings. They are made from a special, patented fabric that breathes well and doesn’t hold onto sweat, they’re unbelievably comfortable, and have garnered a positive reputation– until now.

When asked about the sheerness of the pants and their durability, Lululemon founder Chip Wilson stated, “Frankly, some women’s bodies just actually don’t work [for the yoga pants].” He also said, “It’s really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there over a period of time, and how much they use it” (qtd in HuffPost).

Dear Lululemon, I’m sorry my thighs rub together! I’m sorry your pants, which are supposed to be durable and worn for anything from traveling to running to yoga, are not made well enough to stop my “fat” thighs from wearing down the fabric of your illustrious, elitist pants. Here’s the clincher: Lululemon’s women’s sizing ranges from 2-12, and they refuse to expand their size range to include more women. I was fooled by you, Lulu. I was fooled into thinking you wanted to encourage me to exercise, to “sweat more” (one of your many slogans), to better my body but also love it at its current state for the incredible things it does for me every second of every day. I thought you had a positive outlook on health and on body image in a culture where women are constantly shamed and judged by society based on their external appearance and size. Now, I find out that you explicitly try to shame larger-bodied women by displaying sizes 10 and 12, the largest sizes in your line, in the back of the store in heaps, while the smaller sizes are obsessively folded and restocked to reflect the perfection of the smaller bodies soon to be wearing them.

Rather than manufacturing clothing for all bodies, or at least a wider range of bodies, Lululemon has decided that capping their line at size 12 will encourage people to exercise more so that they can attain that smaller size, as if wearing these pants is a reward for exercise and healthy living. Well, here’s an idea: skinniness is not equivalent to health. Just let that sink in for a minute. Bodies come in infinite varieties, and your body is not the property of other people or corporations to police. Lululemon has claimed to encourage us to “love our bodies”, with the caveat “only if you fit into our culturally-constructed mold of what a healthy body should look like.”

I’m angry. I was initiated into the cult of Lululemon a few years back, often wearing their pants for long airplane flights, cozy days in the library, yoga, or other exercise. I felt empowered wearing my tight black workout pants, and enjoyed feeling confident going to the gym sporting Lulu pants and a coordinated, flattering top. The athletic wear was expensive, but I justified that it would encourage me to exercise and I knew I would feel good doing it, like so many other Lulu-wearers. But I will no longer be buying workout apparel from Lululemon or supporting the company in any way. I’m embarrassed to still have Lululemon pants and tops in my closet, but, after much soul-searching, I will begrudgingly wear them in the interest of resourcefulness until my thick, fat, muscular thighs have worn through the fabric and I can finally burn them without feeling like I wasted $100.

Calling Films out on their Gender Bias

Heard of the Bechdel Test? It requires two things in a film:

  1. For the film to have two or more women
  2. For the two women in the film to talk to each other about something besides a man

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1392170/
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1392170/

Seems simple enough, but try applying it to a range of your favorite films and you’ll see that far too many films fail to pass. (Note: The Hunger Games passes – YAY!)

So now Sweden’s applying this to their movies – Seems like a good idea to me! Let’s call out the gender-bias that exists in our society. This is one test more of society should be taking!

http://www.salon.com/2013/11/07/sweden_introduces_a_gender_rating_system_for_films/

Why “Anti-Rape Underwear” isn’t the Solution

Possibly you’ve heard about the new anti-rape underwear, and while the idea behind the product is a cause we can all get behind, here is an article explaining the faults in this product.

http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/11/05/2889411/anti-rape-underwear-sexual-assault/

Women at Harvard Law: an exhibition, and an anecdote

The Harvard Law School Library has just announced their newest exhibit, titled “Women at HLS: 60 Years of Transformation.”

From the announcement:

Since women were first admitted to HLS in 1950, they have transformed the Law School, the legal profession, and public life. A special library exhibit, Women at HLS — coinciding with the upcoming Celebration 60 Reunion of women at Harvard Law School — explores themes such as enrollment, campus life, and the impact of student organizations such as the Women’s Law Association (WLA). It draws on Historical & Special Collections’ Student Photographs collection and the recently processed Red Set Ephemera collection. Jane Kelly and Margaret Peachy curated Women at HLS, which will be on view in the Caspersen Room, Langdell Hall, Monday-Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM through December 13, 2013.

All members of the public are invited to visit the exhibition in Cambridge.

* * *

While on the topic of female graduates from Harvard Law, file this one under “You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby”…

Raya Dreben was among the earliest of the women to graduate from Harvard Law School. She had a distinguished career, culminating in her appointment to the Massachusetts Appeals Court. At one point she was hired by the very traditional but excellent law firm of Palmer & Dodge (now Edwards, Wildman, Palmer).

Here’s the thing: the firm insisted that she have her own letterhead. Her name did not appear on the firm’s standard letterhead which named all the (male) partners and associates.

(Source: Sarah Baldwin, on the EXLIBRIS mailing list.)

Changing the Conversation on Sex

“I’m not the guard who locks you in the tower. Ideally, I am my daughter’s safe space, a garden to return to when the world has proved a little too cruel, a place where she can recuperate and reflect upon past mistakes and know that here, there is someone who loves her wholeheartedly and will hug her until the tears dry.” – Ferrett Steinmetz in Dear Daughter: I Hope You Have Awesome Sex

This father is a role model for parents of adolescents and of daughters, especially. Talking to your children about sex and sexuality isn’t easy, but it’s important. Sex is going to occur whether you talk to your kids about it or not, so prepare them the best you possibly can. Make sure they have every resource available. Be open to this conversation, when the time is right. You wouldn’t want them going into a snowstorm without boots on, would you? 

Equality or GTFO!!!!

Tomorrow Night at Boston University:

“The Boston University Feminist Collective and Video Game Society invite you to join us for a discussion about the gendered minefield that is the online world. We are fortunate enough to have feminist and media critic, Anita Sarkeesian, join us to facilitate the discussion and speak to her own experiences of how gender intersects with online spaces.

Anita is the author of the video blog “Feminist Frequencies” and the video series “Tropes vs. Women” where she explores the tropes of the depiction of women in pop culture. In 2012 she started a Kickstarter campaign to help her create a new series entitled “Tropes vs. Women in Video Games” and experienced harsh online harassment from some members of the gaming community. This backlash furthered her message to include an exploration of the overwhelming amounts of online sexual harassment of female identifying gamers. In 2012 Anita was a speaker at the TEDxWomen conference where she discussed online sexual harassment and how influential it is in the online world. You can see that talk here: – [X]

Thursday November 7th, 7-9:30pm

Have you heard one?

Neil deGrasse Tyson: “Astrophysicist, Am. Museum of Natural History. Author: Space Chronicles, Pluto Files, Inexplicable Universe [Video], Host: StarTalk Radio http://StarTalkRadio.net

The Feminist Rap Movement

GUEST POST BY FEGOSSEN:

Hip-hop gets a bad rep in the feminist world. Songs like “Get Low”, “Lollipop”, “Slow Motion”, and “Golddigger” paint a pretty ugly picture for the rap artists out there. This is vastly unfair. Yeah, the majority of rappers and hip-hop artists are men who have a tendency to focus on a rather sexist male perspective. I recently looked up the lyrics to Freddie Gibb’s “Shame” and realized, yeah, it’s a song about the walk of shame. Oh, and how good Freddie Gibbs is in bed. (I’m still listening though. Gibbs is amazing.)

But the female hip-hop artist isn’t about to put up with this shit. They’re probably some of the most liberated voices out there, not just as shining beacons in a form known for its objectification of women, but also as the voice of women. Here are three albums all by female rap artists every feminist should be listening to:

  1. Queen Latifah’s Black Reign

    220px-Black_Reign
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/images/B000001AL0

Instinct leads me to another flow everytime I hear a brother call a girl a bitch or a hoe trying to make a sister feel low you know all of that gots to go

This album is fantastic, 90’s rap from someone we (at least I) often forget used to rap. The song “U.N.I.T.Y” is an angry rant at the men who think they can just smack your ass whether you’re wearing cut off shorts (oh nineties, we miss you) or sweat pants, and will call girls a bitch. In “Mood is Right”, Queen Latifah tells us she thinks the sex is better if you’re in love and that she really doesn’t need anyone else. This icon was giving women a voice long before Chicago.

Continue reading The Feminist Rap Movement