Athletic clothing is notoriously geared towards skinny people, because anyone above a size 10 doesn’t work out otherwise they’d be thinner, right? This attitude, though slowly changing, is adopted by far too many athletic clothing companies.
Lululemon’s founder Chip Wilson is famous for his horrendous comments about women’s bodies: “Quite frankly, some women’s bodies just actually don’t work [for the clothing]” Wilson claimed in response to consumers questioning the quality of his clothing.
I can certainly vouch for the fact that it is rare to find athletic clothing (well, fashionable athletic clothing) above a size large. It’s also almost impossible to find a correctly-sized, supportive sports bra for big ta-tas.
I was shocked, however, to discover this gem on my travels to Sport Chek. Under Armour’s athletic panties claim many things: they are super-stretchy, soft, and form fitting, cool, dry, moisture-wicking fabric, that you will never want to wear regular panties again, and absolutely no panty lines (because it’s NOT ok for a woman’s rear end to have an unsightly line that may displease people who want to admire it!)
But the kicker? These panties only come in one size: “one size fits all athletes”. At first I scoffed and put them back on the shelf, but a few days later I came back and bought a pair. Why? Because I want to know what size an “athlete” should be according to Under Armour. As far as I can tell by the way they fit me, the brand thinks an athlete should be around a size six. I was surprised they fit me at all – “fit” being used lightly here – as I am a size 10 to 12 non-athlete.
This sizing is ludicrous for two major reasons: first of all, what about all of the athletic girls that are below a size six, and secondly, what about all of the athletic girls above a size six? While I am quite impressed that these undies weren’t smaller, I can’t imagine them staying put on a more slender-hipped lady. But the more glaring issue here is the fact that Under Armour refuses to classify anyone too large for these panties as an “athlete.”
Basically Under Armour is saying women like Mirna Valerio of Fat Girl Running (who runs marathons and ultramarathons – whatever fresh hell that is) is not an athlete. Sarah Robles, known as the strongest woman in America, is a weightlifter but not an athlete by Under Armour’s standards. Same with Holley Mangold, who like Robles has struggled finding sponsors. Robles attributes this to not looking the right way.
It’s time to stop the subtle body shaming, Under Armour.
Image credit: Alana Fitzpatrick, Instagram