On International Women’s Day whilst retweeting uplifting quotes of empowerment about the sheer delights of being female, up popped a tweet accusing team Yoga Leggs of being “Fatphobic Trash”!!! (I don’t think there was a hashtag). (OUCH!) It was International Women’s Day! Only seconds earlier I had liked and shared some soppiness urging us not to be MEAN GIRLS. I loved the sentiment. Sometimes as women, depending on things like hormones, lack of carbohydrates or where the moon is at, we can have a tendency to over think, over analyze and over criticize. It’s part of our genetic makeup as sensitive, curious, emotional souls to dig deep and have our say. (I’m generalizing and it is just my opinion, I am only qualified as a woman who comes from a large family of women, that has given birth to a woman, that knows a lot of women! please don’t shoot me, I know that we are not all the same!)
I watch my three sons (that differ dramatically in age, size and personality) punch, kick and wrestle away any disagreements. One minute somebody is pinned to the floor or in a headlock, the next, they are laughing again, or throwing balls at each other. I know it’s not right, but it clears the air and peace is resumed (think I’m becoming immune!) Bizarre as I hate violence. I have relinquished the urge to constantly shout “STOP FIGHTING!) If my daughter joins in, that just feels very wrong, I’d rather her go off in a strop. (Am I being sexist now too?!) Sorry again!
From an early age, the male species are discouraged from crying and showing off their vulnerabilities. Is it any wonder that our other halves are so reluctant to divulge how they really feel. Ladies, on the other hand, need to constantly know stuff and share. (Luckily for us we are persistent creatures and can usually crack them with our military style interrogation techniques).
Girls don’t often come to physical blows. We are taught from childhood that this is not ladylike behaviour. So do we learn to deliver our punches verbally? Words still pack a punch; so why do we feel it’s acceptable to slap somebody with our tongues? It’s still harmful. The bruising is just less visible.
When watching TV I might comment to the rest of the occupants on the sofa in true Gogglebox fashion that Cheryl looks too thin or Claudia’s eye makeup looks like a panda or that Paloma’s voice is annoying (don’t judge my weekend guilty pleasures!) But I don’t want them to hear my bitchy comments! I’d be mortified if they did. That old saying about if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all now springs to mind. Besides, who made me an expert? What do I know? Am I perfect? Do we so willingly turn on others to give our inner punch bags some respite? I’m constantly trying hard to be my best self but this compulsion to judge what I do and don’t like has such a stronghold. It’s like a bad habit that I’m are barely aware of. Think it might be a side effect of being human.
I have been accused of fence sitting in the past, which I think actually takes tremendous restraint. I’m no saint and can rant with the best of them, but I am by nature a peacekeeper and seer of both sides of the story (this usually loses me popularity with at least one of the sides) and I like to remind myself that politeness should not be confused with weakness. Words spoken in haste aren’t so easy to take back. With age and experience, I am learning that silence can at times be the best answer.
But now it’s fashionable to air our grievances and dislikes in a much more public manner. Gone are the days of a private word, a phone call or a letter of complaint; we seem to need an audience. Our very own giant soapbox. (Guess I am on mine now) Being a relative newbie to social media its eye-opening. We want the followers and the friends. We like to share. And we like the likes. So do we have to take the haters in our stride? Could we all filter more or should we all grow thicker skins? Are we setting good examples for our children to follow or are we catching it from them? It feels ever so slightly adolescent. I feel as adults we should have better manners. Am I out of touch?
So the FAT PHOBIC TRASH tweet came about because team yogaleggs were slow to respond to a tweet questioning our lack of outsize leggings!….. (rude of us, I admit) We deliberated just a little too long on how best to word the why to that question in a tweet. (Tricky one) on the back of the fat phobic tweet came an attack of our usage of the phrasing “real women” (oh dear!) this is bad!
We are asked on a regular basis why we started selling Yoga Leggs. Simple answer we loved going to yoga, it grew from there. The longer I practice I’m becoming more and more aware that the yoga industry has a dark side. It can be insanely judgmental. (Ironic?) It is a yogic minefield of dos and don’ts. The barre(he he) is set impossibly high. The teacher, the school of training, the style, the breath, what we eat, drink, say, read, watch, believe and especially wear all come under careful scrutiny. Is it too late to re-brand as Pilates leggs?
The truth is that unfortunately we just haven’t had the demand so far, our Yoga Leggs range from an extra small to an extra large. Our sizing is generous thanks to our compression fabric and higher waisted design and it seems the whole world (well a lot of Essex) can fit into a size small. As a new business, for us to survive we have no choice but to invest in the products that we know that we can sell. We have also been asked for men’s, children’s and pregnancy pants. All have been considered and put on the back burner. As self-confessed people pleasers, we would love to provide leggings for all. Nothing pleases us more than a large or extra large sale. Firstly because it was always our intention to offer a range of yoga wear for women of all shapes and sizes and secondly from a business point of view we have a company to grow and more importantly children to feed (lots of them!). When my lovely kids are asking why we are not off of on holiday again this year or when we can replace chitty chitty bang bang with a new car that doesn’t shudder and clang and embarrass my teenagers, I can show them our extensive selection of extra large leggings. (They just love being the offspring of entrepreneurs!)
If there are any curvaceous beauties reading this please treat yourself to some colour and get your Yoga Leggs on, they are fabulous, step away from the black. Our larger sizes are both generous and flattering. (I don’t think chitty has much more to give!) We do understand that it must be incredibly frustrating to be limited in your choices if you are a larger lady. Hopefully one day we may be able to offer size 20 + it would be wonderful to be part of this specialized market. At the moment we are learning on the job, be patient with us. We love that when we attend our local yoga and Pilates classes we see ladies from age ten to seventy rocking their Yoga leggs. Apologies to anyone offended by our words, we would never imply that you aren’t a real woman if you don’t fit into our stretchy pants. In our eyes all women are real; regardless of size, age, origin, beliefs or leggings preference.
Words from the wise. Buddha says…… “And if you propose to speak always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind.
Let’s try hard not to be mean girls.
Really well said. Honest and frank.