I usually stay out of trending news but I could not stay silent about the latest controversy surrounding the clothing store, Forever 21. In case you haven’t heard, Forever 21 caused backlash when it sent diet bars in clothing orders.
According to BBC, customers flocked to social media complaining the company was ”fat-shaming” women after they received Atkin bars with plus-sized orders. For those that don’t know, Atkins markets these bars as low-carb snacks for weight loss. One Twitter user wrote: “My mom ordered some clothes from @Forever21‘s plus-size collection and they sent an Atkins diet bar along with the stuff she ordered.” I have to agree that this is disrespectful and rude, but most of all, I fear the possible consequences.
Imagine this: The protein bar arrives with a clothing delivery to a plus-size girl, who is already insecure about her body, and may be battling an eating disorder. This may seem minor, but this is, in fact, a very dangerous situation. Sending unsolicited diet bars to anyone could be a trigger for body dysmorphia and eating disorders. Eating disorders, a subject I tend to write about often as a survivor of this horrible disease, is one of the most terrible things people can put themselves through.
Instead of doing more damage, we all need to make sure everyone feels comfortable in their skin. We need to make, in this case, women, love their bodies and embrace them, now and forever. No one should be under the impression that the way they look is not normal and frowned upon, that it needs “fixing”.
A different Twitter user tweeted: “I went from a size 24 to 18, still a plus size girl, so I ordered jeans from @Forever21 Opened the package, when I looked inside I see this Atkins bar. What are you trying to Tell me Forever 21, I’m FAT, LOSE WEIGHT? do you give these to NON-PLUS SIZE WOMEN as well?” Another consumer wondered the same thing and asked: “Hey @forever21 do you include weight loss Atkin bars in all your shipments or just in the ones for ladies over 1X ??”
Well, in their apology, Forever 21 addressed this question. In their statement, the retailer said: “From time to time, Forever 21 surprises our customers with free test products from third parties in their e-commerce orders. The freebie items in question were included in all online orders, across all sizes and categories, for a limited time and have since been removed. This was an oversight on our part and we sincerely apologize for any offense this may have caused to our customers, as this was not our intention in any way.”
I want to believe Forever 21. But I can’t escape the feeling that all of this could have been avoided with a small judgment call. Even with freebie items, there is a time and a place. How did no one think of the possible outcomes? The danger? There should never be such an “oversight”.
To conclude all of this I want to send a message to all of you women out there struggling with your body. I know I make it sound easy, but I know just like you how difficult it really is. It takes time, but eventually, after some hard work, you’ll get there. Get to a more wholesome place, to acceptance, to self-love. I wish you nothing but luck and send you a lot of love.