The store Dainty Hooligan sells clothes up to a size large, so employee Sherene Zarrabi was shocked when Jessica Issler, the founder and CEO of the company sent her store manager an e-mail about the pictures, including those of Sherene, that appeared on the store’s Instagram account:
Something I want to make sure you keep in mind: I want size small, the stereotypical ‘model’ type to model our clothes. Please use our pictures of our models if Stillwater store can’t find someone who would be considered ‘model material.’ This is not to put anyone down but to communicate the expectations of presenting our brand.
According to a piece on Refinery29 “[Issler] added that the employee shouldn’t “take it personal,” but any images that don’t comply with that “really good representation” of its clothing should be removed from Instagram.”
So, if you’re not a size small the CEO will be happy to take your money, but she thinks that the way you look is a poor representation of their brand. Why would anyone feel put down by that? (I so very much need there to be a sarcasm font.)
Oh but it gets
better so much worse. Sherene talked about what happened, and people called Jessica on her sizeist bullshit. I imagine Jessica was pretty surprised since bullies like this tend to expect that their victims will feel ashamed and keep silent. So Jessica went on the attack:
My No. 1 priority is the safety of my staff, so the evil and lack of positivity is terrifying. This girl has now created a hostile work environment because she has a sad body image of herself….She’s not mentally healthy.
I’ve seen my share of blame-the-victim bullshit when it comes to fatphobia but this one might take the cake. Sherene Zarrabi posted pictures of herself in the clothes her employer sells on her employer’s Instagram account. Her employer, Jessica Issler, told her that she is a poor representation of the brand because she doesn’t look like an almost impossible to attain stereotype of beauty, and insisted that the pictures be taken down.
And Jessica thinks that Sherene is the one with body image problems? She thinks that Sherene is the one who created a hostile work environment? And then she decides to add healthism and ableism to the sizeism in which she’s already engaged? Pro-tip – if your plan for “positivity” in the workplace depends upon your employees remaining silent about your mistreatment of them, then you probably shouldn’t be surprised if that doesn’t work out for you.
Jessica then realized that talking complete nonsense wasn’t working out, and so she went took a swing at an apology and missed for strike three of this fiasco.
I can definitely see where feelings got hurt and negativity from there festered from something I take full responsibility for…I wish you the best of luck and honestly I don’t have any ill or hard feelings toward you and I want to thank you for a very humbling experience.
Ok, that first sentence is like poorly completed apology madlibs. Also, obviously this experience was not humbling enough if she thinks it’s important whether or not she has ill or hard feelings toward an employee whom she treated atrociously. Jessica, I think the words you were looking for are: “I fucked up. I am sorry. Is there anything I can do to rectify the harm I’ve done?”
Sadly, on the About Us page of the store’s website, Jessica says she started her first store because “If I could just get girls & women in my shop, I could make them feel like a million bucks with my merchandise.” Apparently “feeling like a million bucks” should not include thinking that it’s ok for you to appear in the store’s clothing on Instagram if you don’t look like a model.
Happily Sherene quit, leaving the job behind, but not her positive body image:
My advice for others who face body discrimination is just to simply love yourself. Sometimes it isn’t easy. You reach a certain point where you realize that you have nothing to prove to anybody. Your body is your only body, so love it. Be proud of who you are and what you look like. If anybody tries to bring down a person based on their size, there’s something that person is struggling with themselves.
Jessica Issler has said that she doesn’t expect this to affect sales because “I think the typical standard customer knows what we’re about and knows this topic is irrelevant.” Do you think it’s irrelevant? Want to let Dainty Hooligan know what you think?
E-mail them: CustomerCare@DaintyHooligan.com
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