Speaking of silly outrage about clothing

I went to tweet about my last post (oh, yeah, I'm trying out Twitter; @red3blog) and realized some sort of brohaha had erupted around Lane Bryant snarking about this t-shirt by definatalie.
@lanebryant: Is this really necessary? We say NO! Share your thoughts! http://ow.ly/2fILH #lanebryant
Seriously? Part of me is most baffled that THAT is the message Lane Bryant considers beyond the pale. I mean, its so ordinary. I'd hardly call that confrontational, yet we are reminded the very low bar some feel to be confronted by fat people not apologizing. Why on Earth is that where Lane Bryant wants to draw the line. Aside from how silly it is for a corporation to be picking fights with a CafePress site, its silly to be doing it over such a simple message. Especially with the scare capitals of NO! I don't want to seem like I'm ragging on the shirt. Its just, I really don't see what Lane Bryant's fuss was all about.

Naturally people took Lane Bryant up on their suggest to share their thoughts. Want to guess how that went?

Really, I find it bizarre that Lane Bryant would pretend to have ANY credibility to talk about what is necessary to promote acceptance of fat people. Like Lesley from Fatshionista, I don't expect Lane Bryant to be fat positive, but that's precisely why I also don't expect to appoint themselves the arbiters of appropriateness in fat positivity. Their track record on such issues is awful. And self-defeating, too.

One of Fat Acceptance's greatest challenges is that an industry exists to make money selling fat shame. Lane Bryant is a company that stands to make money from the opposite, yet they have never really seen that potential. People who have a loving relationship with their body will be more interested in buying clothing than someone who is mired in self-shame. This isn't rocket science. Lane Bryant has spent decades leaving an untold amount of money on the table by not getting this. By being content to being a destination of necessity rather than desire. Its baffling from a financial stand-point and speaks to just how ingrained fat stigmatization is in our culture. Even capitalism can't fight it. Whatever baby-steps they are taking now, their place is hardly to scold people for being ahead of their very curve.


Notblueatall said...

Oh, I'll just admit it, I was waiting to see if you had thoughts on this. Love it!

Miriam Heddy said...

"being content to being a destination of necessity rather than desire."

Yes, this pretty much defines their approach.

What they've failed to realize is that, since the internet has made it possible for us to shop beyond our hometown, Lane Bryant is no longer even a necessity.

Brian said...

I'm increasingly convinced their issue is that she used the word "fat". Its just such a terribly non-controversial statement for a t-shirt, but obviously I'm not coming from a place where I'd be outraged over fat arses.

silentbeep said...

Fat is a demonized word in the mainstream, and LB is very much mainstream corporate. For us fat activists/supporters the word fat is largely non-controversial but you know, we are a very small minority. For most people it's very controversial, and it shouldn't be, but it is. Hence, LB acting stupid.

Brian said...

Its clear from LB's apology that that's exactly how they approached it. Charlotte Cooper has a very "on the nose" article on the Feed about how that semantic dynamic works.

I still don't quite it, though. I mean, there is still context. But, to be fair, I've seen people not get out of their preconceptions to consider context in the past with regards to fat acceptance. We are clearly using the word in a transgressive manner, but for some it is so transgressive that they just can't process it.

silentbeep said...

"We are clearly using the word in a transgressive manner, but for some it is so transgressive that they just can't process it. "

Well, yeah.

Anonymous said...

So well spoken red no.3 of the illogical financial sense of Lane Bryant throughout the years.

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