I was ranting about this over on Facebook but decided it deserved a full-on blog post rantorama. So!
Warning: swearing, bullshit sexism, fashion-industry-offensiveness (ok, I’m repeating myself), etc.
Let’s do this.
I get the Champion USA catalog in the mail, because I like some of their bras and bought a pair of sweat pants from them once.
The latest catalog includes their SHAPE collection. Its heading in the catalog is:
new SHAPING active wear: smooth curves all the way around. be SMOOTH. be COOL. be CONFIDENT. with activewear that smoothes & shapes yet gives you freedom of movement.
Setting aside the goofy capitalization and grammar there, let’s see what they’re saying these items will do: they will make you feel smooth, cool, and confident (which you obviously don’t already while at the gym), and they’ll shape your body but still let you move.
So basically, Spanx for the gym.
To drive this home, let’s look at some blog quotes included in a “blogs are buzzing!” box on the page:
Shapes your belly, hips and thighs! They were tight but comfortable. the pants helped get rid of any unflattering ‘love handle’ (sic) some pants can give you…
Makes me look and feel great!
The quotes also talk about them not riding up or shifting around, and wicking sweat, which is good, but: who gives a FUCK how you look at the gym? I mean, sure, you don’t want to wear dirty clothes or ones that are totally worn out and falling apart, but beyond that?
You Don’t Have To Look Hot At The Gym, Goddammit!
Hey women of the world! You don’t have to be hot every time you leave your house! Hotness is, to paraphrase a quote I saw recently, not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked “female!” Female bodies don’t have to apologize for existing by looking good!
Do you think guys at the gym look for clothes that will hide their fat? No, they look for exercises that will burn it, or that will shape the muscles under it so their bodies look (and are) stronger!
This shit is sexism laid bare.
Gym clothing has one job: be comfortable while you exercise. This means it needs to allow freedom of movement and keep you cool, whether by baring skin or wicking sweat or both.
It doesn’t need to be fashionable or hide your “tummy” (because god forbid you have a tummy, grrrrr). It doesn’t need to “smoothe” you. It doesn’t need to make you look hot. It just needs to function.
Yeah, flattering clothes are nice. But you’ll notice, if you look at most clothes men wear that are considered flattering, that clothing can be both attractive AND COMFORTABLE.
A well-cut suit is fucking expensive and looks amazing, and lets a dude walk, run, and lift shit over his head.
Hell, look at baseball players! Most fans agree they look good in their uniforms, but do you think for one second that their uniforms interfere in their playing even a teeny tiny bit? FUCK NO.
So basically, men’s clothes can be functional and attractive, but women’s clothes put attractiveness over function. Women are expected to look hot and smoothe and have no tummy and be thin all the fucking time.
I’m just waiting for shaping sleepwear.
Fuck. I bet it exists already. I’m not going to search for it, though, because my head will explode if I find it.
Fuck the Women’s Section
This shit is why I shop in the men’s section when I look for clothes. (The only exception is blazers, because they are a bitch and a half to alter. Once I’ve paid down my debt and have more cash, I’m just going to get some blazers custom tailored. It looks weird to me to have my blazers button on one side and my pants on another.)
There are a bunch of reasons I shop on the men’s side these days. Let’s take a quick look:
- The clothes are better made.
No lie. Men’s jeans last waaaay longer than women’s, which dissolve in like six months because the fabric is thinner and has cheap stretchiness in it so you look more “smooth.” Bonus: the jeans pockets are way deeper in men’s jeans because men are expected to actually carry shit in their pockets. They aren’t expected by designers to fuss about ruining the line of their leg when wearing goddamn jeans.
- There’s almost no “shaping” bullshit.
I don’t need the ads around my clothes to imply that I look too lumpy and fat and need to be “shaped” to look good. Men don’t have to see that shit all the fucking time.
- The women’s clothes don’t fit right off the rack, either.
If I’m gonna have to pay for a tailor AND for the clothes, I might as well get clothes that are well made and not trying to make me feel bad about myself.
- I like the look better anyway.
I like my clothes to be simple and have bold, straightforward lines. I’m not interested in frills or lace or soft colors. I mean, look at what I wore to my last interview:
So yeah, men’s section for me, kthxbai.
Fuck sexism in the clothing industry. Fuck the idea that you have to look hot at the gym. Fuck the idea that “hot” = “thin and smooth.” YOU ARE A HUMAN BEING. HUMANS HAVE FAT AND LUMPS AND TUMMIES AND ARE NOT PHOTOSHOPPED MODELS. EVEN MODELS DON’T LOOK LIKE MODELS IN REAL LIFE.