Lululemon: Everything in Moderation?

“brahmacharya: (moderation, non-excess) This yama, or yogic philosophy, teaches us to recognize that moment of “just enough” so we don’t move past it into uncomfortable excess. Maybe it’s by pushing away the plate of french fries or using our pent-up energy for a run. By focusing inward, we keep our bodies healthy and energetic. (And hey, there are some things we’re better off avoiding altogether.) Where in your life could you practice moderation?”

I read this quote on the side of a bag from the popular store lululemon athletica, a women’s and men’s athletic clothing store targeted toward fit, stylish young adults willing to spend relatively high amounts of money on clothing that will supposedly lift and sculpt their bodies. Lululemon markets itself as being focused on health, fitness, and bettering both the mind and body, but is this really just a marketing technique that feeds on the pressure facing young 20-somethings to be physically fit and attractive?

It is somewhat ironic that this quote presses “everything in moderation” when the clothing being sold is so expensive (for example, $82-$98 for a pair of yoga pants). In my opinion, this is a product of the culture we live in – everyone has to have whatever will make them the “best” version of themselves, and if they are not striving to achieve this (i.e., spending money) they are made to feel guilty by the media, similar to what Jean Kilbourne said in “Killing Us Softly 4” about the guilt associated with eating and not exercising – with being what society deems “lazy.” The quote on the bag is condescending, insinuating that the reader doesn’t really need those french fries, now do they? Thus making consumers feel guilty. The marketing is genius, really; “We (the brand) know you (the consumer) are ashamed of your body and embarrassed of any ‘weak’ moments you’ve had. Luckily, we have an entire store full of clothes that can help you look and feel better about yourself.”

Do you agree that stores like lululemon use the pressure on both women and men to be fit as a way of selling overpriced clothes, adding to the obsession with physical attractiveness? Or are they really a brand focused on promoting healthy lifestyles?

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