I have been wanting to write this post for a long time. All of this year and most of last. I am beyond sick of brands – and in particular, ones that cater for plus size customers – all over social media, shaming, being offensive and (worst of all in my book) – repeat offending and then not apologising when they are called on their nonsense.
Let me make one thing clear – I am not adverse to naming and shaming. One look at my Twitter feed will tell you that. I call people out on body-shaming whenever I see it. I don’t care WHO you are or how big your brand is, if I see you fat-shaming or skinny-shaming, I am going to have something to say about it. BUT – I will not be naming names in this article. Not because I want to be coy or mysterious, not because I am scared the brands concerned might not want to work with me (Ha! I wouldn’t want to work with them!)-no. Simply put, I refuse to give them any sort of publicity. Even bad press is still publicity and they don’t deserve a millisecond of your attention, far less your hard earned cash!
Also, She Might Be is a body positive publication – we in no way want to be promoting anyone with a negative record. With that in mind, let’s get started.
So today, a sponsored advert appeared on my Facebook timeline, from an apparently new designer, bearing the words “we are proud to design clothes for Real Women. For You”.
For “Real Women” ? Seriously? So who are you alluding to here that may NOT be a real woman? Because – NEWSFLASH – anyone who identifies as a real woman IS a real woman, it is not the job of a brand to decide who a real woman is – get over yourselves! And furthermore, if you are such a champion of “Real Women” (and sorry, I have no idea what you are trying to achieve with the random capitalization there) – why are you advertising your clothes literally on a coat hanger?! And the models on your page all seem straight sized, yet you are calling out other brands for not working with Ashley Graham, when your own range at first glance appears to stop at size 20? Please.
That’s before we go into the brands who keep on posting memes containing fat jokes, making pointed remarks about eating habits, questionable comments about health and still think plus sized people are going to want to buy from you? Nope. I will take my fat pounds somewhere that doesn’t think I’m a joke, thanks.
And by the way, I am well aware that there are people behind the social media accounts and people are flawed, all of us, and mistakes can be made. Once. When it keeps happening, and we keep raising it with you, and you keep doing it – well that tells us all we need to know really.
Then there are the brands that have turned insulting their customers into an art form. I am thinking of one brand in particular here and could give you many, many examples. Suffice to say, when a regular customer emails in a polite query regarding the quality of an item she has purchased from you (one of many items), it’s not cool (and definitely not polite) to reply suggesting maybe she needs to buy a bigger size or get some shapewear! GUESS WHO’S NEVER SHOPPING THERE AGAIN?
I wrote this tweet right at the start of 2016 – not long after I received that email, and after we had had brand after brand messing up and posting insulting, shaming things every day for a week. I left it pinned to the top of my Twitter page, envisaging it would stay there for a couple of weeks, until the crazy died down (the festive season seems to bring out the absolute worst in some people). It’s still there. Every time I think I might swap it out for a different tweet, another brand messes up. Sometimes, not for the first time.
Advice for clothes shops/brands in 2016 – you sell clothes. You are not health/fitness/lifestyle gurus. Your shaming is alienating customers
If you can’t be trusted with your own Social Media accounts, get yourself a Social media Manager – ask us for details, we know several really good, competent ones, who would enhance, not destroy your business. Use your Social Media as a force for good, engage with us, talk to us – find out what will make us willingly hand over yet more money to you. Don’t use it as a stick to beat us – we’re fat, we’re not idiots and we’re no longer prepared to be your punchline or your punchbag.
Because in case you hadn’t noticed, we vote with our feet – so maybe take YOUR feet out of your mouth and think about what you are saying, before you alienate all of your customer base.