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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