Lululemon founder’s wisdom on breast cancer

Lululemon founder and notorious asshole Chip Wilson thinks that ball busting businesswomen created the breast cancer epidemic:

“Breast cancer also came into prominence in the 1990’s. I suggest this was due to the number of cigarette-smoking Power Women who were on the pill (initial concentrations of hormones in the pill were very high) and taking on the stress previously left to men in the working world.”

You heard it here folks: all those entrepreneurial women gave themselves breast cancer by working in the big bad world. They should’ve stayed home and done some yoga instead, then they’d be happy, skinny, and cancer free.

Seriously, why are women still buying from this company? I don’t care how good their overpriced pants make your ass look. Wilson has declared that he named the company Lululemon because he thought it was funny that Japanese people couldn’t pronounce it. They carry sizes 2-12, when the average American woman is a size 14. They’re famously fatphobic. They plaster their bags with crazy Ayn Rand slogans. And their merchandise is shotty.

On a related note, there’s a great post on pinkwashing in the yoga community over at It’s All Yoga Baby. I have to admit my heart sank when I saw Manduka pushing pink yoga mats in October.

Bright Pink Fabfest

Bright Pink Fabfest

I have mixed feelings about Bright Pink.

On the one hand, younger BRCA+ women face some different challenges than older BRCA+ women, especially when it comes to preserving fertility, navigating dating/marriage/relationships, and timing surgeries. I appreciate the fact that there is a nonprofit dedicated to helping young BRCA+ women navigate these hurtles. I especially like that their website has really handy downloadable, printable patient guides full of excellent questions that BRCA+ women should ask their many doctors. Their Pink Pal program, which pairs up a newly tested BRCA+ woman with a BRCA+ women who has already been through the surgeries, has the potential to be really great.

On the other hand, the organization is called “Bright Pink” and they really seem to embrace pinkwashing and what Gayle Sulik calls the “she-ro” breast cancer warrior rhetoric. And now, with it being October and all, the website is covered with nods to their corporate sponsors: ebay, tressame, aerie, etc.

And then there’s this picture. Yoga for BRCA+ women is a great idea: it helps you connect to your emotions and your body, it helps you deal with stress and has physical benefits. I’m all about it. But this is not my idea of therapeutic yoga for the BRCA+ masses. There’s no diversity here in color, class, or body type. Most young BRCA+ women are not conventionally beautiful, skinny, white, tanned, affluent, and straight with carefully plucked eyebrows and no body hair. Many BRCA+ women do not look good in skimpy tank tops and snug yoga pants. Where are the BRCA+ women who are disabled, chubby, brown, transgendered, out of shape, tattooed, flat chested, unconventional, or just plain unphotogenic? This picture makes it seem as though Bright Pink wants to make BRCA+ women healthy and happy by transforming them all into SEC conference sorority girls: it looks like rush week at the University of Alabama.

No thank you.