Fat people are considered a target market for all kinds of sleazy industries all year long (diet industry, beauty industry, surgeons who perform stomach amputations etc.) There are even conferences that teach these people how to target us.
The holidays up the ante quite a bit since two of the three Dieting Axis of Evil events fall around this time (“The Holidays are Coming” and “New Years Resolutions” with the third, “Bikini Season is Coming,” just around the corner) and this time of year can create stressful situations that can make people more susceptible to the kinds of predatory marketing in which those sleazy industries engage.
Today I got an ad on my Facebook from Lane Bryant – a store that sells clothing exclusively to “plus-size” people. It said “Get the Latest Looks for Holiday.” I happen to know that there are a lot of “holiday” themed pictures on the LB site right now…
Not to mention 68 dresses for sale that are specifically labeled “Cocktail and Occasion Dresses” But none of these appeared in the ad. What appeared was this:
I looked this item up. It’s called the “Miracle Vest Shaper” and the description is as follows:
Designed to reduce inches from your waistline, lift the breasts and flatten the tummy, Squeem’s Miracle Vest is more than just shapewear – it’s magic! Squeem’s intelligent fabric technology offers a unique mix of triple-filtered cotton and natural rubber fused into a single-layer compression fabric designed to offer superior shaping results. As an added benefit, it provides excellent back support while improving posture. Exquisite details like flexible boning, adjustable bra straps and underarm Spandex puts you in total control, just the way you like it. Front hook & eye closure.
Expert Fit Tip: First, slip your arms through the straps with hooks facing forward. Firmly pull the bottom ends together and fasten hooks from the bottom up. Adjust the straps to your comfort level.
Oh, and it’s a #plusisequal Hot Pick! Because the belief that your body should be squeezed by a rubber garment to “look good” should be for all sizes amirite? It’s probably worth mentioning that, unlike a lot of Lane Bryant’s offerings (including 12 of those Cocktail and Occasion Dresses,) this garment goes all the way up to a 4x.
I am sick and tired of this shit. I’m a card-carrying member of the Fuck Flattering Club (or I would be if we had cards) but I am also a proud card-carrying member of the people of all sizes are allowed to buy and wear the Miracle Vest Shaper, or whatever clothes they want for whatever reason they want Club. I’m not saying that this clothing shouldn’t exist or that people shouldn’t be allowed to buy it.
It does not follow that stores that cater to fat people need to highlight this type of clothing, choosing it to push it onto our Facebook feeds, and suggesting that it’s a “Magic’ “Miracle” that really tight rubber-infused cotton can squeeze our bodies into a shape that is more like the stereotype of beauty that is used to oppress us.
I expect it from the diet industry, but for a store that makes its money selling clothes to fat people to suggest that fat bodies will look better squished into another shape and size, and to use the holidays to do it, is incredibly disappointing to me.
Today is Say Something Sunday, so of course I’m going to give you the contact information for Lane Bryant. But I also want to give you a gentle reminder that you are not ever obligated to engage in activism, and that whether or not you say something out loud, it can help to have a little mantra that you say to yourself to remind your that you’re not imagining it – people are trying to make money by trying to make you hate yourself and your body – and that you can say no and opt out. My personal mantra is “Hey, that’s bullshit!” but of course you can use whatever works for you.
If you’d like to say something to Lane Bryant here are some options:
Cutomer Service: https://www.lanebryant.com/content_body.jsp?areaName=EmailUs
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14 thoughts on “Lane Bryant’s Horrible Holiday Ad”
uuuugh! Why! That’s where I get my jeans! Jeans that actually look and feel like jeans not spandex masquerading as jeans. I’m not surprised, but I’m so very disappointed.
How is this different than a Victorian corset? It’s got boning and everything. Just looking at the picture makes me feel like I’m going to be unable to breathe, fall off a stone tower, and need a pirate to rescue me. Ugh!
Oh, the dreaded stomacher! Because they thought women should be perfectly cylindrical.
And pregnant women had to hide away, because they couldn’t appear in public being non-cylindrical! Poor squished up babies, with mothers who waited until the last month for their “confinement.”
No wonder she turned pirate. She got to wear comfy trousers. Amazing what a woman can accomplish, when she can breathe!
You know, I sometimes wonder if the whole “Squeeze them until they can’t breathe, let alone compete with men” fashion industry isn’t really a conspiracy. We women spend so much time, energy, and physical well-being trying to look a certain way, to please the patriarchy, that we haven’t got any time, energy, or strength left to fight the patriarchy, unless we give up the beauty standards, entirely. I mean, with women fainting left and right because of corsets and restrictive diets, no wonder men maintained that they were a superior sex, and women were pathetic little brainless creatures who needed to be coddled and cared for and ordered about. Of course they didn’t want us voting or holding positions of authority. We were too stupid to breathe!
In some ways they are doing exactly what the stores for “straight sizes” do, which is to push this shit that says your body isn’t good enough, stick it in this girdle (oh, sorry, *shapewear* because that somehow makes it more comfortable) and then maybe we’ll consider you to be more acceptably molded to wear our clothes.
I shop at Lane Bryant occasionally because I want to have as much fashion choice at my disposal as possible and the clothes fit me, but I am always amazed at the level of body shame I hear the clerks engage in. Last week the sales person told me how she wanted to lose 50 lb even though her husband loved her just as she was. Others have given me sidelong glances that say “What are *you* doing here, you don’t fit in these clothes” (yes, I do) or have said as much as I was checking out. So there is just a lot of body judgment going on there and I’m wondering how much is fueled by company philosophy. It’s like, okay, these clothes exist, but they’re the booby prize and obviously you should be trying to get smaller so you can get the ever elusive prize of the smaller size. It’s just weird. I want to shop in a store of body-lovin’ people, not an atmosphere of body shame. Lane Bryant is obviously not interested in changing the culture even though they are in a position to do so, just profiting from our shame.
I remember that when I shopped at Fashion Bug (Plus) a long time ago, the salespeople engaged in constant body and fat shaming, even though most of them were fat. It was extremely depressing and not good for the bottom line, so to speak. I stopped shopping there when I was able to shop online. The stores who target fat people as their customers seriously need to engage in enlightenment/consciousness improvement for their sales staff.
And that said, the fact that these stores push shapewear on us only enables this kind of body shaming, as well.
Perhaps this is why I haven’t seen a Fashion Bug store, Plus or otherwise, for years. They used to be all over, in my area at least, but I can’t think of one nearby.
That makes about as much sense as teaching the cashiers at a fast-food restaurant to say, “And what size fries would you like with that?” (a common means of upselling), and then have them turn around and say, “You don’t really NEED those fries, you know. A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips! Shame, shame, shame!”
What were they thinking?
Even successful models are routinely told that they are still not good enough, and they need to change something or other.
Ever see that slideshow that shows the different ideal silhouettes over the decades? The “ideal” woman’s shape kept changing! That means that a woman could have a modeling career for only a few years before she’d have to use shape wear or surgery to be able to fit the new mold, and maintain her career.
Beauty, alone, was never enough. It had to be the right kind of beauty, or else! And even if you had the right kind of beauty that season, and were “the It girl,” the next season, something had changed, and you weren’t good enough, any more.
Squeem? SQUEEM?! That name alone makes me WANT to Squeam. Oops. I meant scream. Oh, and it makes me SqueamISH, too.
Now you’ve got me wondering how exactly you squeam, I can tickle the ticklish, but how do you squeam the squeamish, is it just threaten to make them wear shapewear and badly made clothing in oversized prints?
I think squeam is the noise you make when you’ve squashed your body into Squeem. Or other shapewear. So to squeam the squeamish would be to force them into wearing such things. 😀 The few times I have worn shapewear I have felt squeamish and wanted to scream.
I’m convinced that “shapewear” was invented by folks who wanted to know what it felt like to be a sausage and then some fashion dolts took it and decided it would make a stellar modern corset.
I used to want a flat stomach. Just last night, however, for the first time, I sat and fondled my round belly. It was nice and soft, and squishy, and it felt good. I mean, once you get over the “hard-body” ideal, a soft body feels soft and comfy and nice.
Now, I’m all for support garments, if your body needs support, such as a back brace or what have you. But leave my belly as it is, please. Squishing it in is not what I need. Squishing it in will not make my back feel better. It will just make me feel like I’m going to puke. I speak from experience.
I’m learning to love my body the way it is, and never want to wear any “shape wear” ever again. I’ll keep my carpal tunnel braces, but I like to call them “gauntlets,” and it gets me in the mood to play Runescape or Dungeons and Dragons.
Why couldn’t they have posted some of the pretty pictures of pretty clothes, instead of that? Also, the pictures of pretty women with loads of presents kind of turned me off. How about pictures of pretty women in pretty clothes talking and laughing together at a party, instead? I’d love an ad like that. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Ramadan, or any other wintery holiday, you can enjoy hanging out with friends. That speaks to everyone. THIS, on the other hand, definitely doesn’t speak to me.
Well, it speaks to me, but the words it says to me are not worth repeating.
First of all, this thing shouldn’t provide medical promises like back support. Yes, boning can support your back, but if you have back issues, you really need appropriate medical care (We will leave the problems of seeing a doctor while fat out of this).
My friend who is a professional corset-maker NEVER promises medical aid and always encourages people who ask about it to seek proper medical care.
It is also super disappointing that they are telling women they can’t have fun and/or look beautiful until they buy and wear this stupid thing. I’ve seen articles discouraging people from wearing shape-wear for more than four hours as it can cause health issues. Mostly because people try to wear the tightest one they can find.
If I want shape-wear, I will go get a corset from my friend because it will fit well and look sexy. And possibly be designed to be worn without a blouse or dress over it. *wink wink*
Why doesn’t Lane Bryant do something useful and design more things that look good over big boobs and bellies?
Oh wait, we are all asking that.
Guess it is time for hot chocolate and kitty snuggling!