OliverasChip Wilson, founder and CEO of athletic apparel maker Lululemon, recently released a statement in response to consumer complaints regarding the company’s see-through leggings. According to Wilson, it’s women’s fault that Lululemon’s $98 yoga leggings are see-through.

“Frankly, some women’s bodies just don’t actually work for it,” Wilson said. “It’s really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there over a period of time, how much they use it.”

Wilson later apologized for this statement and resigned shortly after.

Clearly the founder of this company didn’t do his research, but I did. I surveyed both male and female students at West Linn High School about body image. From this survey, I found that two-thirds of girls do not have a “thigh gap” — space between the thighs when standing with feet together.

My suggestion to Lululemon would be to focus on making higher-quality products that are meant for all women. Making higher-quality products would bring in more customers, and in this case, they could use all the help they can get. I know for a fact I know that Lululemon has already lost many customers due to Wilson’s insensitive and unintelligent statement — me included.

I noticed a few alarming things while conducting my survey. Of the 17 girls I surveyed, only one said she is 100 percent comfortable in her own skin.

One. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t seem like a particularly comforting fact. Many of the women said that they felt they weren’t living up to society’s standard of beauty. Men, on the other hand, are feeling pressure to look a certain way from sources other than society.

Many of the men said that at times they have felt pressure to look and dress a certain way in order to impress women. The survey revealed that stereotypes for men included “six-pack abs,” height and athleticism. It seems that many women do look for those traits in men. I also think that we have society to blame for this too.

The media is constantly bombarding us with images of fit men and skinny, beautiful women. Because this is the majority of what we see promoted as being attractive, I think over time is has been programmed into our minds.

The tragic part is that once you learn something, it is extremely difficult to unlearn it. When I asked what can be done to change society’s standard of beauty, many said that they didn’t know.

Fortunately, when I asked what advice they would give to the opposite sex when it comes to positive body image, they had more to say:

“You are beautiful the way you are,” one said. “Self-confidence has a ‘self’ in it for a reason. If you think you look great then who should say otherwise?”

“You don’t need to be super muscular with a six pack to be happy or feel like you fit in,” another said. “There are so many more valuable things in a person other than their appearance.”

“Ultimately, image isn’t so important,” I was told. “Take care of yourself, but make sure it’s for you before anyone else.”

“Body image isn’t a big deal; as long as you have beauty on the inside then you will be fine,” one person said. “As long as you stay true and be the best you can be, somebody will love you.”

I think the key to changing society’s standard of beauty is more amazing people like the ones quoted above. Thank you to all who participated, and remember that you are beautiful no matter what anyone says.

Sarah Oliveras is a sophomore at West Linn High School. She is contributing a regular column to the Tidings this school year.

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