Kit Steinkellner
April 25, 2014 10:01 am

First, the good. You’re always supposed to start with the good, right? There’s a Kickstarter right now for a new denim company called Barbell Apparel that aims to make jeans for hardcore athletes who have a hard time fitting conventionally-made jeans over their muscular legs, quads, and behinds. The call to arms to support denim made by and for athletes was heard loud and clear. At the time of their April launch, the Kickstarter goal was $15,000. As of Friday, they have over $330,000 pledged, and a month left to go on the campaign. That’s some Veronica-Mars-movie-level crowd-sourcing. These entrepreneurs found a gap in the apparel market and they are sewing it up tight. Pun absolutely intended.

Now for the… less good. After Hunter Molzen, co-owner of Barbell Apparel explained to ABC News that the company’s denim is “the anti-thigh gap jean” every news outlet up and ran with it and so that’s how these jeans are now known. It’s a memorable moniker, I’ll give it that. But it feels so much more like a way to get hot-button-phrase “thigh gap” into the conversation than a true pitch of what these jeans really do. If we’re going to dignify the idea of the “thigh gap” with a conversation (and I wish we didn’t have to, I absolutely can’t wait for the day that talking about thigh gaps makes you sound like somebody’s grandma). The truth of the matter is that some healthy and in shape women have a space between their thighs and some healthy and in shape women don’t. It’s about how Mother Nature manipulated your genetics to shape your particular pair of legs. It’s an ineffective barometer for judging health. I’m all for marketing body positivity. But this time it comes at the price of perpetuating an a conversation about women’s bodies that’s already received way too much air-time.

Still, that was one comment that got sound-bited all over the place. The Kickstarter really is a rad pitch for these jeans. Even if you’re not in the market for muscle-girl jeans, the Kickstarter is worth checking out for it’s ridic-silly video (see below)! It’s just athletes kicking footballs and doing crazy yoga handstands in super-stretchy jeans.

(Theory: I secretly think these jeans may just be very fancy jeggings. I can do lunges across a football field in jeggings, too, or I could if that didn’t sound like the worst way to spend a Saturday morning.)

I’m really glad that Barbell’s expanding the denim market and filling a need for strong women and men. I’m just annoyed that the conversation got usurped by the Great Thigh Gap Debate of 2014. These jeans deserve a better conversation.

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