The infamous Victoria’s Secret launched three new lingerie and body care collections with a yoga class press event in New York City this week. None of the products being launched had anything to do with yoga – although the free 45-minute class for NYC fashion and beauty editors/bloggers was also an opportunity to promote Victoria’s Secret VSX yoga line.
This event is completely not interesting (although it’s worth noting that one of the body care collections is called Love My Body, which seems to be a reference to their recent highly criticized campaign of the same name). But it did remind me of something that I’ve been thinking about for a while. Yoga panties!
Five years ago, in the documentary Yoga, Inc., Trisha Lamb commented on how yoga was being used to market things unrelated to yoga and noted “chakra panties” as a product that crossed the line for her. She prophetically asked, “What next?”
Well, Ms. Lamb, what’s next are the Victoria’s Secret line of yoga panties. They’ve bypassed the chakras pretense and the pseudo-spiritual self-empowerment babble and just went straight for what matters: ass. (Also, neons and animal prints – they matter, too!) Available in yoga bikini, boyshorts, hipster and thong styles, these saucy little pieces are “a no-show, smooth & stretchy fit, perfect for yoga pants!” Victoria’s Secret is reminding us that they are more than underwear and cheap swimwear.
They’re also emblazoned with inspiring, bold statements across the ass, which are intentionally designed to be seen through light and sheer yoga pants. In case everyone in your yoga class didn’t already know that you’re “totally hot” or “ready for anything.”
There comes a time when I just have to put up my hands and say, “You know what, dominant culture? You win. This is not worth getting my panties in a bunch.” It’s so easy to form arguments for how yoga panties appropriate and denigrate a spiritual tradition, blah blah sexualization of yoga, blah blah commidification of the body…
It’s all so obvious, it’s not even fun to critique. Much like the Playboy Yoga phenomenon a few years ago, the best response is to sit back and laugh. And wonder, “This again/still? Will it ever end? Really, what next?”
We’ll just have to wait, and marvel at the fact that we live in a beautiful and complex world where yoga magazines tell us we need to lose weight and lingerie brands tell us to love our bodies. I’m counter-appropriating “ready for anything” as my new mantra. Bring it.