I had a wonderful model friend (the gorgeous Lyz Lupo of “Curvy Style Rocks“) ask me for my perspective on the recent “Fat Girl Costumes” fiasco with Wal*Mart. I admit that I feel really torn on this issue… and that’s probably going to shock you, right?
They called us FAT! We should be offended! Because that’s how we approach situations, like this. We get MAD, and we blast it online until we get an apology. Right? That’s the current normal response to such things.
Well… I kinda can’t be sure what happened with this.
I can’t tell if any reaction I have will be appropriate or hypocritical.
So, I’m going just to give you the analytical process that happened in my brain.
On the one hand… Fat Acceptance tells you that you need to embrace your body and not be ashamed of it. The movement has gone so far to explain that “fat” is something that you have… a descriptor… not something you can be. We’ve reclaimed “Fat Girl” and call ourselves that.
So, as a result… by reclaiming it and celebrating it… we’re saying “That word can’t hurt us anymore!” There is also a push toward no longer using the term “plus sized” when referring to clothing or models in an attempt to be more inclusive.
Then, we have songs that celebrate body acceptance that has “Fat” and “Skinny Bitches” in the lyrics (which I am not commenting on, here, really). So, this whole body acceptance thing is gaining ground, and it’s becoming more and more popular to celebrate who you are!
If “Fat” isn’t a bad word anymore… and we’ve embraced it… then, how can we be ANGRY when Wal*Mart advertises to us using that term? They’re using language we’ve embraced to sell us a product that is specifically made for us.
We IMMEDIATELY take it to be an insult…
That’s HORRIBLE Wal*Mart! HOW DAAAARE YOUUUU!!
If it isn’t a bad word… why are we taking offense to it?
Because it IS still a bad word. The word “fat” is still a loaded gun we’re aiming at our own faces.
I want you to consider that Wal*Mart is a MEGA corporation that offers more plus-sized (is that okay to say?) clothing than any other big box retailer in the USA. The goal was to sell you a costume! They are in the business of selling you stuff.
I think one of two things happened here:
1.) Wal*Mart used the term “Fat Girl” in a cheeky way to appeal to the current Fat Acceptance/All About the Base crowd. They heard you when you said “Fat isn’t a bad word and clothes shouldn’t be called plus sized!” and did something revolutionary that you all asked for.
2.) Click-bait. This is all to get your attention and advertise Wal*Mart all over the internet before Halloween! While you’re all talking about Wal*Mart hurting your feelings… they’re thanking you for the free advertising.
I do not think that their goal was to oppress you.
Stores that notoriously don’t carry plus sizes in store (but offer them only online) are oppressing you and keeping you out of their stores. Wal*Mart’s goal is to make you shop at Wal*Mart any way they can!
I might even go so far as to assume that maaaaybe they hired some jerkface who thought it would be funny to piss people off. But, I think that Wal*Mart would have come forward to say that if that were the case.
This is just where my thoughts went on the subject.
And, I still don’t think I can be mad.
But, you’re welcome for the free advertising anyway, Wal*Mart!
I feel like certain publications blow things out of proportion for the traffic, as well. It’s rare to see a pragmatic, even, thoughtful and well-rounded perspective on a situation, like this. Those types of opinions aren’t going to get your traffic (, and your traffic makes them money. Please understand that! Sites that aim to make you angry and upset you are hoping that you’ll freak out and bring all your friends to fight in the comments. It makes them look really good to advertisers! While you’re there you might go ahead and make yourself feel better by purchasing something from their sponsors).
When certain voices tell us “GET MAD” we rally. And, that isn’t what acceptance means. But, that’s what we’re allowing it to become!
We can’t sit here and say “It’s okay to be called Fat” and then turn around and blast everyone who calls us Fat! We just cannot have both and ever possibly move forward to true societal acceptance.