In an era when it has become en vogue to publicly shame allies of constitutional rights for your own social media likes and follows, women who support the Second Amendment and see guns as important to defending themselves against attack have become ripe targets for ridicule.
Two years ago, Amy Robbins, the Texas-based founder and CEO of Alexo Athletica imagined creating a new kind of women’s apparel. She had no background in fashion design and no idea how she would pay for a start-up. But when asked what led her to persist despite people who tried to discourage her vision by saying no woman would want running pants to hold a self-defense tool, her answer was simple.
"I created Alexo because I wanted a functional line that kept women safe and stylish and gave them places to store their everyday essentials."
Today, Robbins spearheads a cohesive business team, produces an athletic line that is selling out faster than they can keep it stocked, and outfits a movement of woman who feel empowered to live prepared lives in whatever way they choose.
All it took to bring out a barrage of intolerance against this successful female entrepreneur was for Tomi Lahren to don Alexo’s Signature Pant (you can see it here) while carrying her pistol. The political commentator who gained attention for her widely-shared “Final Thoughts” segments then posted a photo to her Instagram account last week. That is when the outrage started.
While Lahren herself may be a polarizing personality, the message in this particular social media post should not have been. The FOX News contributor addressed her female followers by writing, “Chances are your assailant is gonna [sic] be bigger, stronger and faster and that’s why you have @alexoathletica for your gun, your mace, or even your phone.”
Many women feel safer armed and if they have had proper training and permits, they have every right to make this choice. Highlighting the ability to choose what you want to carry while you wear Alexo’s Signature Pant may well have been the aim of this product promotion. I mean really, how long have women asked just for some pockets in our clothing?!
Unfortunately, what followed was a series of shaming comments, threats, and even full articles discussing the ghastly idea of “gun-slinging yoga pants.” Whether you love Lahren or hate her is irrelevant. Shaming a female entrepreneur like Robbins or the women who chose to support her company and its products is significant. The only reason these pants became an incendiary issue is that they allow women to safely carry firearms bought for protection.
Jezebel quickly churned out an article linking these pants to doing armed yoga.
The responses were exactly what you’d expect:
The pants are not the issue here. The problem is the double standard for which choices we as women are “allowed” to make. From the crowd that consistently touts themselves as pro-choice, they seem to be pretty up in arms (heh, pun) when a woman lawfully chooses a firearm for protection. If we can all agree women are disproportionately victimized, why applaud those who decide they want their iPhone, Chapstick, and pepper spray with them on their solo morning run while shaming those who don’t think that’s quite enough to protect themselves?
My friend and co-host Kirsta Rinehart and I just discussed this very topic on our podcast, ‘Life As She Knows It’ (Find the LASKI podcast here). We talk about the ways we as women are criticized for well, everything.
As for the pants—if you don’t like them, don’t buy them. But I love mine.
Kimberly Corban is a Colorado mother, victim advocate, and motivational speaker. She co-hosts a weekly podcast called ‘Life As She Knows It’ and isn’t very sarcastic. To learn more about Kimberly and her story or to request her for your next event, visit http://kimberlycorban.com. Find her on Twitter @kimberly_corban, Instagram @kimberly_corban and on Facebook @kimberlycorbansurvivor.