A woman in Florida photographed a sign in a Dillard’s Department store that said ““Dear Santa, This year please give me a big fat bank account and a slim body. Please don’t mix those two up like you did last year. Thanks.” If you’re thinking that the women shopping for clothes were appalled, you’re almost right. The sign wasn’t in the womens department, it was in the girls department. That’s right, cute stripey leggings and Christmas sweaters with a side of body hate, just what every little girl wants, whether she celebrates Christmas or not.
Dillard’s told WPTV that “the sign was put in the Girls department in error, and has since directed all stores to remove the sign from sales floors entirely.” This leaves me with two questions:
1. Where was the sign supposed to go?
2. How could you think it was ok to put this sign anywhere but in a fire?
Gods forbid any woman or girl go more than 5 minutes without being reminded that, even if it were possible to be too rich or too thin, she definitely isn’t getting it done. And best to start as early as possible, why settle for just commercializing a holiday when you can use it to reinforce poor body image and fat hatred in little girls?
Of course this gets the inevitable “can’t you take a joke?” response. Anytime someone points out that an attempt at comedy may be hurtful, it’s almost immediately suggested that they lack a sense of humor, have a stick where normally there is none, that they need to learn to take a joke, etc. First of all, nobody is obligated to celebrate humor made at their expense so pardon me if I don’t think it’s hysterical to tell girls that they should ask Santa not to look like me.
Also, I’m having trouble distinguishing between the kind of body shaming that paralyzes girls and women, encouraging them to view themselves as constantly inadequate, spending tons of time, money, and energy approximating a stereotype of beauty, and that has encouraged a 119% increase in eating disorder hospitalizations for kids under twelve, and the kind of body shaming that’s somehow hilarious. And let’s be clear that a couple talented people advertising people could have come up with ten funny iterations of this that aren’t based on body shaming faster than you can finish a pumpkin spice latte. Perhaps rather than complaining that people need to take jokes and pick battles we could invest time in creating funny things that don’t stigmatize people for how they look.
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