Last week we told you about the new, supposedly empowering yoga Barbie that really isn’t empowering at all. And it seems that Lululemon decided to stretch that controversy a few poses further with their own spoof of a Barbie. But instead of being funny, their Lulu Barbie only further perpetuates this awful negative-body mess of a doll–and got a lot of yogis pissed off in the process.
On their Facebook page, the Lululemon folks posted:
We’re so excited to announce the launch of our new Perfect Balance collection, inspired by our Silicone Valley yoga ambassador, Tiffani!
Her 1 year goals include mastering tree pose in high heels and travelling across the country in the convertible of her dreams.
They also posted a video (which appears to have been taken down now) from their VP of women’s design, Deanne Schweitzer, saying they are so excited to “elevate the doll industry from mediocrity to greatness one pair of XXXS groove pants at a time.”
One pair of extra-extra-extra-small pants at a time?
If that doesn’t have negative body connotations written all over it, I don’t know what does. To make matters worse, the Lulu jokesters also put this groovy yoga gal in high heels and did nothing to address her severely out-of-proportion body that seems to say only the skinniest of girls can be yogis.
It may be a joke, but Lulu’s customers are not laughing.
Melissa Mahady Wilton wrote on their Facebook page:
I know that this is a joke, but it is a poorly timed and offensive one. In this single, stupid video, you manage to insult both your current ambassadors and customers by comparing them to a doll best known for the image of brainless consumerism and unrealistic body image it celebrates.
Allison Anderson added:
wow i am really disappointed here LLL because one of the main reason i liked LLL was because they supported more of the real woman athletes that come in all different shapes and forms and not just the professional athletes that are also extremely beautiful to the media.
But Michelle Hurn summed it up best:
Please stick to real people, we are so much more fun!!
Lululemon’s “Tess” responded to the pissed-off commenters by saying they never intended to offend all of us “real” bodied girls:
Hey Everyone, We really appreciate all the conversation and feedback happening here. I want to clarify that this is absolutely not us poking fun or mocking our guests, but rather us taking part in a conversation currently happening in the yoga community. We believe in sparking conversation and it’s never our intention to offend or upset anyone. While we welcome and encourage dialogue and feedback, any posts that contain offensive language or personal attacks will be removed. Again, thank you all for sharing your thoughts and taking part in this conversation with us. ~Tess
Regardless of her apology (if that’s what this is?), surely Lululemon could have been a bit more creative. If they really wanted to jump in on all the controversy over the latest yoga Barbie, how about developing one that showed real women with real bodies sweating their way through yoga, struggling to maintain tree pose and wearing, say, something other than make-up and high heels?
What do you think the ideal yoga Barbie should look like?