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Style & Self

Lululemon Turns Exercise Bourgeoisie

31 Jan , 2013  

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There is sadly an intrinsic relationship between wealth and health. This is not to say that all wealthy people are healthy, or that one must possess wealth to be healthy. However, the upper crust has better access to nutritious, organic food, expensive, trendy yoga classes, and topnotch workout facilities. Lululemon is a company only exacerbating this problem by taking away the last proletariat aspect of exercise—clothing. This cultish, robotic company is the epitome of the snobby, physical elite, charging almost a hundred dollars for yoga pants and hiring muscle-toned zombies to inquire about your every workout habit while you shop. Imagine a Ayn Rand-inspired ex-surfer (Founder Chip Wilson) guiding thousands of swollen cronies to selling fifty-dollar, striped tank tops while surreptitiously trying to figure out where you workout, what you had for breakfast, and (this is speculative) what your next bowel movement will look like.

Wilson also seems to have little problem using child labor, and also seems to cultivate an absurd, misogynistic perspective on why his company even reached fruition. Wilson has stated, “Ultimately, Lululemon was formed because female education levels, breast cancer, yoga/athletics and the desire to dress feminine came together all at one time.” ( While this claim may initially seem innocuous, in actuality Wilson is suggesting that feminism in a sense overcame itself and reverted to simpler, antiquated desires. Moreover, Wilson directly links birth control to rising divorce rates, and that the exercise movement is a means of balancing out women’s role in the workforce.[1]

The danger here is that Lululemon is attempting to make diet and exercise elite activities. Not only now does one need the expensive gym membership, but is expected to show up and look fashionable and attractive, despite the reality of being sweaty, reddened, and exhausted. While marathons and obstacle-course-style, adventure races are more popular than ever, and yoga and cross-fit classes are gaining continuing popularity, this is a company demanding aesthetic beauty for a tremendous price. (A price that goes well beyond $108 yoga pants)

To break things down by the numbers, my YMCA membership costs $35 a month, or a grand total of $420 a year. Keep in mind that is a modest gym cost based on my age, from an institution that has long sought to provide affordable facilities, not an exclusive country club or specialty gym. Now, if I were to go to the gym wearing one outfit entirely purchased from Lululemon (let’s just say pants, t-shirt, socks, and underwear) it would cost me approximately $200. The question then becomes is it more important to be exercising or to appear fashionable during yoga class? Are we willing to succumb to the philosophy that we can buy our way to fitness? I certainly hope not. Let not our habiliments rule our bodies, and we shall arise as we weight lift and run in ragged t-shirts and gym shorts off the sales rack. Screw you Lulu.



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