Is women's sportswear getting sexier?

Is women's sportswear getting sexier?
The market for 'Athleisure', which refers to relaxed and practical clothing that can be worn for both working out and daily activities, is expected to increase its value in the industry. This trend of wearing activewear, even outside of the gym, is gaining popularity among millennial women, who are 3 times more likely to embrace it compared to other generations. However, there is a debate on whether this type of clothing is discriminatory towards women.

To understand the reasons behind women's adoption of athleisure and their opinions on the trend, recent surveys developed by major brands in the sportswear industry have conducted extensive research. This involved analyzing social media data, retail sales data, several sportswear brands, and a survey of 1,700 women.

The trend of staying fit

The trend of athleisure is primarily seen on social media, especially among millennials. This is evident from the fact that activewear brands make up 11% of brand posts on Instagram and account for around 11% of all interactions. Social networks like Instagram and Twitter have a significant influence on promoting the idea of a healthy lifestyle and constantly showcasing it. Whether or not we have recently worked out, wearing leggings and running shoes has become a way to demonstrate our commitment to fitness.

The voice of women is heard.

The trend for 'casual' items has sparked curiosity about women's true opinions and reasons for embracing it. According to recent surveys more than 1,700 women, revealing the following findings:

The majority of women (89%) have confessed to wearing sports clothing in non-gym settings. The most preferred occasion for donning athletic wear was while relaxing at home. A small percentage (5%) have also worn athleisure to work and 2% have even worn it on a night out. The main reason cited by 75% of the women for wearing sportswear was its comfort. However, a significant portion (18%) have also experienced feeling objectified while wearing sportswear. The majority (76%) also stated that female activewear can sometimes be sexist.

Interestingly, individuals also mentioned that they donned activewear primarily for relaxing at home. This was then followed by using it for household tasks, going on trips, driving, and shopping.

It is quite unexpected that the majority of women opt for athleisure not because of its fashionable appeal, but rather for its comfort. A mere 3% of females claimed that this was their motivation for adopting the trend. Nonetheless, the rise of athleisure has been greatly influenced by celebrity endorsements and its success on social media, along with other popular trends like clean eating and overall wellness. The abundance of posts featuring women in sportswear on social networks suggests that they are showcasing their healthy lifestyle and demonstrating their alignment with a community that values certain principles.

Is there sexism in the world of sportswear?

The findings were concerning as they showed that many women have felt objectified or have been subjected to objectification while wearing sportswear. Additionally, there was a general agreement that sportswear can perpetuate sexism. Below are some quotes from the participants:

According to my experience, some pants have a low cut and do not provide enough coverage for my hips and waist. Additionally, they tend to be very tight and have low necklines, making it uncomfortable to run in them as they expose too much skin. I have also been subjected to inappropriate comments from men while wearing these outfits, whether I am playing sports or not. I believe that there is a trend of sexualizing women's sportswear through the use of sheer fabrics and panels, which is unnecessary and unrelated to its intended purpose of exercise.

On the other hand, there were women who appreciated this aspect of athleisure, shifting away from the notion that athletic clothing is discriminatory. In fact, almost half of the female participants (45%) expressed that they believed activewear complemented their body shape, while 18% stated that it made them feel alluring.

The crucial aspect to consider is diversity, as long as women have the option to select tighter or looser sportswear, revealing or modest, they have the freedom to wear what makes them comfortable. The issue of sexism lies not in the clothing choices themselves, but in the way women who choose to wear them are treated.