The internet briefly exploded into a freakout today because the Walmart website had a page for its Halloween Costumes called “Fat Girl Costumes.” People took to social media to discuss their displeasure and Walmart took the page down, tweeting things like “This never should have been on our site. It is unacceptable, and we apologize.”
I completely understand why people were upset. First was the speculation that a web developer had done it as a “funny” joke, or maybe did it as an inside joke among the dev team and then forgot to change it. Even if they were well intentioned there are many people who fit the physical descriptor of fat who don’t like the word because of the negative connotations other people have heaped upon it and that’s absolutely understandable.
For my part, I would love to live in a world where “fat girl costumes” was a completely neutral descriptor. I, as you might have noticed, like the word fat for a lot of reasons. One of the main reasons is that I consider fat a reclaiming term, my use of it is one of the ways that I tell my bullies that they can’t have my lunch money anymore. I think that I’m fat whether people call me that or not, and I’m not so sure that making fat the Voldemort of adjectives is particularly empowering or helpful to anyone (though of course each person is allowed to choose the words that they prefer to describe themselves.)
I like “Fat Girl Costumes” (since I’m a fat girl looking for a costume) much better than I like “Plus Size Costumes” (as if people who are size 0-12 are one species and those who are above a size 12 are something else that needs a special name for our sizes.) Note that we could easily solve all of this if clothing was made in a wider variety of sizes and sold together – then you just need a webpage for “Costumes.”
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