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There was a time when top-notch fashion was synonymous to being skinny or zero size. However, in this new era of body positivity, the fashion caste system seems to fade away gradually, as plus sized models and influencers everywhere are shattering age-old body-size stereotypes. With more and more people coming to the forefront to flaunt their beautifully real sides, a wave of body neutrality movement is taking over the world of fashion.
Amidst this emerging body positivity utopia, the news of a top-selling clothing brand fostering body-shaming saddened fashion enthusiasts deeply.
Forever 21 has recently sent out free samples of diet bars with online orders, including some of the plus-sized orders. The 'insensitive' and 'tone-deaf' move garnered a lot of flak as buyers hit out against it on social media.
A twitter post read, "My friend bought plus size clothes from Forever 21 and they gave her a sample item.. the sample item was an Atkins bar!! Are you kidding me?!?"
Another fuming user questioned if the free samples were only intended towards plus-size shoppers. She wrote, "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?"
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? pic.twitter.com/ds8kUTs7T7— MissGG🏳️🌈 (@MissGirlGames) 19 July 2019
As the backlash started gaining momentum, Forever 21 jumped to its defence in no time. The company issued an online statement that read, "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," the brand told.
Given to the rise of strong negative responses, the promotion has been stopped. The brand has gone a step ahead and apologised for this 'oversight' that they cited to be unintentional. "This was an oversight on our part and we sincerely apologize for any offence this may have caused to our customers, as this was not our intention in any way." - mentioned the statement.
Apparently @Forever21 sends out Atkins bars with all of its orders, which sends a wildly dangerous message to ALL of its customers. Not only is it fatshaming, it could also trigger people of all sizes who have EDs. This is as dangerous as it is inappropriate. https://t.co/gPfr3jMUK4— Samantha Puc 🍦✨ (@theverbalthing) 23 July 2019
However, this doesn't seem to have convinced the dedicated shoppers who felt insulted. "It's upsetting, and I feel like a lot of people are disappointed in them as a fashion outlet that they rely on," said Ganiella Garcia, a frequent shopper of Forever 21, in an interview given to BuzzFeed News.
sending people diet bars, shakes, teas, etc. with clothes they bought can send a negative message about body image.— jesse (@jessemarisaelao) 19 July 2019
Unfortunately, body shaming is not restricted to a particular country. Women across the globe have been prompted to change their appearances so that they can fit in with the societal standards.
Boldsky got in touch with two women who have been victims of body shaming.
A school teacher from Kolkata, Ishita Gomes (29) tells us, "It's 21st century. I earn my living. I pay my bills and taxes. I have my own sense of style. I know what looks good on me. I know my body type. I'm comfortable in my own skin. What I don't understand though is why should a diet bar be promoted with a clothesline?"
Adding to this she said, "Distribute free bars at malls if you have to. Why would you make women feel the need to have diet bars when they orderclothes? It's my choice to be a size 24 or 12. Giving me a bar doesn't make me feel that I need to opt for a healthier snack, it just shows bad marketing strategy on your part. I own my body and I am proud of it."
Speaking along the same lines, Priyanka Saha, an IT professional from Australia narrated how she has always been fat-shamed since childhood. "It's not funny and it never was. I am 29-year-old now and I was overweight since my childhood. My entire school life, I have been body shamed, not by strangers but by my relatives and friends."
She continues, "Being ridiculed, mocked and judged by people just because of my weight affected my self-esteem and had a deep impact on my mental health too. After a point, I started disliking my own body. People around me almost convinced me that one's worth is determined by his/her physical appearance only. But thanks to the positive people around me who accept me for who I am as a person and not what I look like."
Dusting off the regressive vibes that pulled her down in the past, today Priyanka absolutely abides by this Marilyn Monroe quote - "To all the girls that think you're fat because you're not a size zero, you're the beautiful one; it's society who's ugly."