Monday, August 5, 2013

The "Big" Problem: Part One

Today I want to get up on my soap box, and share my frustrations with the obvious problem we as a country have with negative body image.  I know earlier this year, I talked a bit about "Fat Shaming"... but it seems this is a continual problem that people can't seem to let go of.

Most of you know I work in news.  On Thursday we aired a story about Lululemon.  The fitness company is accused of discriminating against customers who wear larger sizes.  If you're not familiar with the story here's how it goes:

A former employee came out last week and slammed the popular yoga brand for shunning larger shoppers by hiding bigger sizes. According to this employee, the "plus size" merchandise (size 10 and 12) was separated from the "smaller" merchandise, and stored in the back of the store or left unfolded under a table. The employee says this was part of the company's marketing strategy, to be the look of choice for the "stylishly fitness-conscious."  Lululemon has declined to comment.
Now I realize Lululemon is innocent until proven guilty.  But if this is true, I find it incredibly despicable!

  • First of all, sizes 10 and 12 are NOT plus sizes.  Plus size is 14-28!                                                                                                                            
  • Second, women can be "Stylishly fitness-conscious" at any size.  Take me for example, I'm a size 22 and I have been working on my health and fitness for the better part of this year.  Does my larger size make me any less fitness-conscious than a woman who is a size 2 and is working on her health and fitness?  HELL NO!  And who's to say a woman of a smaller size, is in fact healthy or "fitness-conscious?"  I've known women who were smaller than me who survived on McDonald's, AMP energy drinks and loads of sugar.  I've also known smaller women who led lazier lifestyles-- and that just happened to be their size.                                                                                                             
  • Finally, what does Lululemon stand to gain by discriminating?  This is a business strategy I have never quite understood.  You're losing out on money just because you don't want "bigger" women to shop your store.  It seems like an incredibly stupid practice to me for someone who's in the business of making money.
This isn't the first time bigger women have gotten the shaft over smaller women-- and it definitely won't be the last.  One example I want to bring up is from an old blog post of mine (there's no link because I've since deleted that blog).  Here's some background:  below I've posted two ads.  One is an ad for Lane Bryant's lingerie.  In 2010, ABC and FOX banned the ad from their air-- claiming it was too racy.  The second is a collection of Victoria's Secret ads from the same year that aired all over the place...

Lane Bryant Ad

Victoria Secret Ad

You tell me which one you think is "too risque"...

I have nothing against Victoria Secret-- except the fact that they told me once I was a 46 DDD.  Which, if you've looked at my pictures is obviously not true!  My bigger issue here, is with the way we treat "larger" women in our culture.  The model in that Lane Bryant ad was a size 14... and gorgeous to boot!

Every woman should love their body, exactly the way it is.  There's nothing wrong with having curves, and there's certainly nothing wrong with having some love handles!   Just like there's nothing wrong with being small and lean.  What is wrong, is shaming people into thinking they need to be skinny.  I say it's time we disowned that word, and started loving ourselves! 

How do we do that?  Tune in next week to find out...

What do you think about the controversy surrounding Lululemon?  Do you think it's fair, or as a business are they entitled to discriminate against anyone they want?  How about adopting discrimination as a business plan, is it wise for businesses to do so?   What about the two ads I posted?  Do you think either one was too risque to air, which one and why?  And what about the whole banning of one ad over the other?   I am obviously full of questions today, and would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.  Leave your comments below in the comment section!

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