Yoga Pants Aren't Bad for Women But a Certain Yoga Pants Brand Might Be

Women are pissed about two recent articles related to this wardrobe staple—and rightfully so

Young woman in sports wear holding yoga mat, standing against grey background, studio shot-homepage

(Photograph: iStock)

If you’ve ventured onto Twitter in the past few days, you might notice that a whole lot of people are talking about:

a) yoga pants


b) Lululemon

The overall vibe on both topics? Pissed—and rightfully so.

First up: an investigative feature from Racked, which explores the not-so-zen corporate culture of the Vancouver-based yoga pants purveyor.

The story comes on the heels of the resignation of Lululemon CEO Laurent Potdevin due to unspecified misconduct, the latest in a short string of scandals that have plagued the brand. Reporter Chavie Lieber spoke to current and former employees who say that Potdevin had been dating a designer at the company who “was given superior assignments and opportunities not commensurate with her role.”

Sources also allege that the company’s former creative director, Lee Holman, also dated an employee during his tenure at the brand—a woman whom some employees felt was a bully who was able to keep her job due to “her personal connections to the company.”

Aside from these problematic relationships, a former designer who worked at Lululemon for more than a decade told Lieber that Potdevin fostered a distinct boy’s club atmosphere at corporate HQ that led to the departure of a highly-regarded female VP: “I remember thinking at one point that if you wanted to become a VP at Lululemon, you had to be a man. It became almost ironic that it was just a group of men running a leggings brand for women.”

While all of us should be reconsidering our Lululemon obsession right now, the New York Times just presented an entirely different (and entirely flawed) reason to ditch yoga pants: because they are “bad for women.”

Yes, you read that right. In a hotly-contested opinion piece, writer Honor Jones suggests that women only wear tight pants to the gym “because they’re sexy,” and puts forward the idea that we should work out in looser pants “that don’t threaten to show every dimple and roll in every woman over 30.” (Perhaps she’s still wearing a pair of circa-2013 Lululemon Luons?)

Cue the online outrage.

That said, at least one New York Times reader hasn’t checked out the Racked feature yet.

In all seriousness, if you love yoga pants, effing wear them (this advice holds for any and all styles of clothing that aren’t appropriated from, or oppressive of, other cultures). However, you may want to think twice about where you’re buying them from—because the only way yoga pants are bad for women is if they’re made by a company with a documented track record of anti-woman behaviour.

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