Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

PSA: The Front Seam On Your Leggings Is Another Sign That The Patriarchy Exists

Between my job at the campus gym and my own exercise regimen, I spend the majority of my life these days in stretchy athletic bottoms. And every day I wonder to myself, who in the hell decided that biker shorts or leggings should have a front seam that goes right down the middle? Now, I’m no anatomist, nor do I claim to be, but it doesn’t seem like rocket science that this design is not conducive to female comfort, health or even aesthetics. Having to constantly adjust and tug at your bottoms to avoid camel toe detracts from your workout, is extremely uncomfortable and just plain awkward to deal with in public. Not to mention it puts you at a higher risk of developing UTIs!

After years of dealing with this, I came to the conclusion that there is no way anyone with a vagina would design pants with a front seam. This led to a quick internet search, followed by a trip down the Google rabbit hole, only to discover that essentially every big-name brand in the women’s athletic industry was founded by a man.

Granted, I have taken Stats 10, so I know that correlation does not mean causation, but my attention couldn’t help but focus in on this odd pattern. All of the biggest brands targeted specifically towards women, such as Lululemon, Athleta and Alo, were ironically developed by men. And maybe not so coincidentally, these companies all choose to produce products with the infamous front seam.

To be clear, I have absolutely no inherent issue with male-based businesses. In fact, the most central tenet of feminism is that men and women are equal and should be treated accordingly. Therefore, we should never downplay a man’s accomplishments in building a successful and profitable business, just as we should never do towards a woman. However, when a brand claims to create products specifically for women, the brand should cater those products to the needs and bodies of most women. By this reasoning, I see great failure in many of the popular activewear brands created by men these days. And by the nature of their roles in owning the companies, these men have thereby failed to produce the best product for their self-proclaimed target demographic.

However, this is no new concept. Women have been talking about the failure of apparel brands to meet their needs for decades. The same non-inclusive and impractical patterns apply to women’s underwear brands owned by men such as Victoria’s Secret, jeans designed with fake pockets and “one size fits all” products.

But, while we tackle the larger beast of women’s lack of representation, we can at least find pants that don’t pinch, gather, chafe or ride up while we do it. Some great (and still super cute) options for athletic bottoms without a front seam in sight are Gymshark, Oner Active and Celer. We’ve got a long way to go in making the fashion industry an equitable and inclusive space, but we should at least be able to enjoy comfortable workouts while working toward it!

Ciara is a second year UCLA student from Oakland, CA who is majoring in Human Biology and Society. She loves to travel and explore new places; especially when there's any kind of ocean involved. When she's not busy workshopping her next Her Campus article, you can find Ciara sipping her morning coffee somewhere sunny, relaxing in her hammock, or chasing a sunset.