#SWAAYthenarrative

Keep Your Opinions Off My Yoga Pants And Your Judgments Off Of My Body

Culture

No. No. No. No. After reading it, it's has taken me a couple days to respond to the piece about the horrors of yoga pants that the NYT had the err in judgment of publishing. I didn't know what to say or how I wanted to say it. I just knew I was upset. Really, really upset.


Then I realized that what I had to say was really quite simple. No, Ms. Jones. Absolutely not. Wearing sweatpants is not the answer. And yoga pants are not the problem. You, my friend, are the problem.

You say it yourself, “It's not good manners for women to tell other women how to dress." And yet, here you are. The thing is. I know why you are saying it. And that, perhaps, is what has kept me from being able to write. You don't feel like you look hot in yoga pants. Don't bother to protest. I get it. You're right, lots of women look really hot in yoga pants and it's a tough act to follow.

But you know what? That's ok. You don't have to wear them. Ever. Seriously. But that doesn't mean for a second that I should give them up. I happen to look pretty damn good in yoga pants. I look pretty damn good in sweatpants for that matter. Or at least I think I look good. And that's the point - that is all that matters. Great looking exercise gear that makes me feel like I look, well, great and that makes me feel confident about my body and it makes me want to take care of it by exercising.

Honestly, I feel sad if looking grubby in your “towels with waistbands" as you refer to them is what you actually, authentically, truly want for yourself. But if that's how you feel and that is how you WANT to feel, well, then have at it. Far be it from me to keep you from what you feel is your appointed attire.

Here's the thing, my dad told me many, many years ago that if someone takes issue about something about me that in no way affects them, then they aren't really taking issue with me. The issue they have is with themselves. When I was 12 he would say, “They're just jealous." When I was an adult he would say, “They don't feel good about themselves. They don't feel like they can wear or do what you're wearing or doing. So they see belittling you as their only option."

If you were really talking about sweatpants, Ms. Jones, you wouldn't have spent so very many precious words on putting me and my fellow yoga pants wearing women down. You would not have wasted so many words on how silly and expensive they are. The lady doth protest too much for sure.

If you can't afford Lululemon, I'm not judging you. Don't buy it. If you don't look hot or feel confident in yoga pants, I'm not judging you. Don't wear them. But keep your opinions off my yoga pants and your judgments off of my body.

And let me be very clear here - No one has the right to lay a hand on me or to catcall me or to look at me in a way that makes me feel uncomfortable or threatened. But do I want to feel that I am attractive? Uh, yeah. And so do you Ms. Jones.

What you are really asking for here is for other women not to be so damn hot. “It's not fair," I imagine you saying as you stomp your foot and pound your fist on the air. You know what? It's not fair. There are all kinds of hot women out there being hot. And it doesn't matter if you don't feel like you are as hot as they are. If you feel like you can't compete. You, Ms. Jones, are hot shaming them and age shaming me. I am 47 years old and I have earned the right to wear whatever the heck I want.

Even the drawing that was run with your piece ultimately makes fun of you, I'm afraid. All of the women in class are focused on their downward dog. Except for you. You're too worried about your lumpy sweatpants. The thing is, yoga pants make me worry less about how I look when I work out. I don't have to worry that a drawstring will come undone or an elastic waist will drop or that there might be a clear view to heaven up through the wide legs of my sweats.

Sweatpants are for hanging around the house. Sweatpants are for cozy nights on the couch with my kid. Sweatpants are for wearing over my yoga shorts on the way to yoga when it's cold outside. Sweatpants are not for public consumption as far as I'm concerned. But I would never considering wasting public space, especially that hosted by the beloved and usually insightful and intelligent New York Times to tell other women not to wear them.

Let me give you a little piece of advice, Ms. Jones. Do not EVER tell other women what to wear. Ever. Whenever you speak or write, it is imperative that you are aware of what you are saying about yourself and about women at large when you make such sweeping demands. You have revealed your insecurities and you have infantilized women. We're not babies. We don't need you telling us what to wear. We get enough of that already from all around. From every angle. Every day. From every magazine and man. Et tu, Ms. Jones?

Yoga pants make me feel good. They lift me and tuck me in all the right places. They make me feel great when I look in the mirror at barre class. Of course I care how I look. So do you. Believe me, more than I do, in fact. Wearing yoga pants means I don't have to waste a lot of energy worrying about how I look because I know I look good.

You, instead, are wasting a lot of time begging other women to not make you have to look good. Thing is, we don't care. We truly do not care. You go girl. You wear your sweatpants loud and proud. But do it for yourself. By yourself. And don't act like it's some political statement. The only statement your making with this piece is that you want the bar lowered so you don't have to reach so high. I am here to tell you, the bar is arbitrary and ever-changing, so let it go. And keep your hands off my Lululemon.

3 Min Read
Finance

When There's Room To Fly, Women Soar: Why We Should Invest In Women Entrepreneurs

I think we can all agree that we are living in unprecedented times, and many of us are experiencing challenges in both our personal and professional lives. But it is important to remember that often, challenging moments present opportunities for change. Right now, companies and individuals are using this time to rethink how they conduct their business, the resources critical to their success, and how they go about their daily activities. And what we are seeing is that more and more people, especially women, are taking control of their lives by starting their own businesses.

While it is estimated that the number of women-owned businesses is one-quarter to one-third of all enterprises worldwide, there are still many women who aspire to make entrepreneurship a reality. A new Herbalife Nutrition survey conducted by OnePoll of 9,000 women across 15 countries, including 2,000 women in the U.S., found that globally, 72% of women want to open their own business. Of those, 50% don't yet have a business and 22% have one but would like to open another.

Women want to have more control over their future, but they are committed to helping future generations by being a role model for younger women; 80% believe this is a strong motivating factor.

The second annual survey, which explores women and entrepreneurship globally, revealed the overwhelming challenges women experience in the traditional workplace compared to their male colleagues. In fact, more than 60% of women said they would like to start a business due to unfair treatment in previous job roles. Of the women surveyed, 7 in 10 believe that women must work harder to have the same opportunities as men in the workforce. Results also revealed that 43% of women have delayed having children because they thought it would negatively affect their career, and 25% said they had faced pregnancy discrimination. 42% believe they've been unfairly overlooked for a raise or promotion because of their gender — and of those, the average respondents had it happen three separate times. These are a few of the challenges that have been a catalyst for the surge in entrepreneurship among women.

The irony is that startups founded and cofounded by women performed better than their men counterparts: on average women-owned firms generated 10% higher cumulative revenue over five years, compared with men.

With the barriers and negative experiences women cited in the workforce, it is not surprising that across the globe, the top motivation for starting a business is to run it themselves (61%). Women want to have more control over their future, but they are committed to helping future generations by being a role model for younger women; 80% believe this is a strong motivating factor.

But the women surveyed don't expect entrepreneurship to be smooth sailing: one-third of women with plans for entrepreneurship are "very worried" about their business — or future business — failing in the next five years. The top three challenges when starting a business center around finances — earning enough money to offset costs, having enough budget to grow, and financing their business. And when it comes to financing, women face stark disparities in the capital they often need to fund their business. Boston Consulting Group found that women entrepreneurs averaged $935,000 in investments, which is less than half the average of $2.1 million invested in companies founded by men entrepreneurs. The irony is that startups founded and cofounded by women performed better than their men counterparts: on average women-owned firms generated 10% higher cumulative revenue over five years, compared with men.

Women entrepreneurs create a source of income for themselves and their families. They are a vital part of our world's economic engine that society needs to support with flexible opportunities, mentorship, and access to capital. Herbalife Nutrition is proud that more than half of our independent distributors worldwide are women who set up their businesses and decide when and where they work and do so on their terms. We need to invest in women entrepreneurs, not only to help one generation, but to offer role models for the next.