Yes, that’s me sitting there and smiling proudly on the cover of my 2006 release of Hot Body Cool Mind, feeling great in my then Lulu ensemble, “Deep V” tank and Groove pants, just one of countless similar outfits that graced most of my DVD covers that sit next to your tv’s, ready to go, as we speak.
Sadly today, however, I’m not feeling particularly jolly or joyful– the way I looked on my 2006 cover. I’m feeling angry and disappointed. And like some of my brave peers, I feel compelled to speak out about the truth of what has long been hiding beneath the 4-way stretch and alleged “no-stink” technologies Lululemon espouses. Something does in fact stink at Lululemon. Something is rotten in the state of fancy yoga and Pilates apparel, and he looks like this:
No, today, I am not smiling, but I am feeling damn good about two things:
#1. That unbeknownst to Mr. Chip “No rub” Wilson, the day he had his team name me Ambassador, my well-muscled, dancerly thighs did in fact not only touch, but RUB, and they still do!
#2. I am downright proud that I have thighs that touch AND rub, and I love my beautiful, curvaceous, womanly body and celebrate it!
Today, I tendered my resignation and sent an official letter to the original “Lululemon Community Team” in Philadelphia, terminating my Ambassadorship and my affiliation with the company.
“Dear Alyssa, Dana and Katherine,
I regret to inform you all that because of what has recently been revealed as Chip Wilson’s long history of misogyny, racism and greed, I am officially terminating my affiliation with Lululemon and as of this email notice, am no longer an Ambassador.
I think it would be important for Mr. Wilson to know from all of you, and all of us as women, that 99.9999999% of his employees’ thighs touch and in fact RUB. And if they don’t, it’s simply a matter of a different, but equally as beautiful way that the legs are shaped, resulting in alignment and gait variations. Please see Mariska Breland’s exceptionally witty and insightful Blog on the subject.
Don’t you think he deserves to be privy to such vital information?! Afterall, it’s what he has clearly founded his entire business ethos on …
People ultimately do reveal their true “Luon colors” sooner or later, and I think it is beyond disappointing after the tremendous investment of time, effort and money on all our parts that this hypocrisy has been lurking behind the “Ta ta tamers” and the “Free to be” tank all this time, and that it took one interview to expose Mr. Wilson for who he really is.
By the way, “Ta ta tamers?” Denigrating, exploitive name, don’t you agree?! As soon as I started seeing monikers such as that appearing a few years ago now, I had to scratch my head and wonder if this kind of degradation was coming from the top … and still, I gave the company another chance because of all of the apparent good and positivity the company seemed to generate in the community, and chalked it up to a momentary lapse of reason, human error, weakness–a slip of poor taste and bad judgement.
I am challenged to come up with the words to aptly describe my feelings of betrayal and exploitation when I consider the size and scope of my endorsement for the company over the course of the past seven years.
I generously gave my name and reputation to Lululemon, offered my image countless times for large-scale promotions and chose Lululemon as the line to grace not only each one of my DVD covers, but the bodies of every one of my dancers and co-workers who appeared in my programs.
Shame on you, Mr. Wilson. And shame on anyone who tolerates this kind of behavior and this glaring lack of integrity. And speaking of “integrity,” now we know for certain that the Lulu “manifesto” (”Friends are more important than money,” ”What you do to the earth, you do to yourself”) that was printed on every single wall to seduce community instructors and employees and on every bag that left the store was purely a mercenary tact to appeal to the higher aspects of humanity, and really, in the end, just a bunch of letters with no meaning behind them. I’m so curious … did you write this one, Chip: “Your outlook on life is a direct reflection of how much you like yourself.” Tell me, what’s your outlook on life today?
Turns out at Lululemon, the all-important commitment to your INTEGRITY mantra was about as fluffy as the words in your manifesto. What is integrity, afterall? It is word and deed aligned. Sorry, Chip Wilson, now we know, it’s something you never had. At Lululemon, there is no integrity, and no one is “Free to be,” (as in the tank) that is, unless your thighs don’t touch and can pronounce the company name minus a Japanese dialect.
I feel for each one of you, and wonder what your course of action will be henceforth.
Whatever you decide to do, I hope that you consider your own dignity and integrity first, and that you act in a way that makes you proud for yourself and your kindred women around the world, for please keep in mind: Grown-ups were not the only ones who heard what you said about womens’ bodies not “being right for the clothes,” Mr. Wilson. Girls and young women heard that too, and don’t you think battling the onslaught of photoshopped, deceptively flawless, overly-thin bodies in the media is enough for these tender, emerging young hearts to contend with, not to mention your words now, about clothing they once saw their mothers and older sisters wearing and aspired to wear themselves? Not allowed to wear them if their thighs touch?! Really? How dare you.
I would very much appreciate a reply to this email confirming that you have received this statement of termination, and further, I would ask that you send me the name and email address of the person who works directly with Mr. Wilson at corporate headquarters and serves as the COO, perhaps. It is my sincere wish in parting that Mr. Wilson read this letter, as well as the others that have been written in reaction to his “admissions,” a sort of appetizer-style penance, if you will.
Stay strong and do the right thing, ladies.
Finally, in case you have not yet read former ambassador, Natalia Petrzela’s Blog in the Huffington Post, I strongly suggest you do. If you are wavering in your own decision to stay true to yourself, this blog may give you the fuel to drive your car to the other side— to safety, where you can wipe the tears of anger and regret from your eyes and hold your head up high, high enough to see that a bright future awaits you, one where there is a world free of Lululemon and companies like it, but even more importantly, free from guys like Mr. Chip Wilson.
No, there’s something so much better out there, and who knows?! Maybe you will create it … a company that means what it says, that endorses self-love and healthy body-image in the people who buy their clothes, a company that treats the planet and its resources venerably, one that includes and respects all humans, one with a great design team and even greater integrity. And when I say integrity, I mean the real kind, the kind that means that as soon as I finish this letter, I am taking a car-load of Lululemon clothes, every stitch I have ever owned to the recycling center near my home, where there will be no more rubbing, pilling, or over-stretching, just the closing scene of me walking away, smiling because I can feel my powerful, sexy thighs rubbing together as I take each step further and further away from disappointment to declaration: ” I am a Lululemon Ambassador No More!”
My very best to you,