While society pretends it’s become more body positive, encouraging women to “love their curves” at every turn, actions continue to speak louder than words. Just because clothing retailers cater to those deemed plus-size by the fashion industry doesn’t mean they remain sensitive to this marginalized group’s wants or needs.
Wish.com, for instance, has come under fire for its recent advertisement featuring plus-size tights. The site, which sells inexpensive products directly to consumers from Chinese manufacturers, offers $2 tights that come in black or nude. But it’s how these “Plus Size Ultra Elastic Tights Stockings Women Sexy Shaping Pantyhose Socks” are displayed that’s causing quite the controversy.
Every image shows slim models stretching the tights up and over their petite frames in what one can only assume is the retailer’s attempt at demonstrating the product’s size.
Except the execution couldn’t be any more offensive.
While most of the images show the models pulling the material up around their shoulders or over their face, another shows the model standing inside one leg, presumably to demonstrate how far the product can stretch without running or ripping.
“What is the point they are trying to make here? That our thunder thighs are so big that their model can fit her entire body into a pair of our tights?” said Cosmopolitan UK fashion and beauty writer Laura Capon. “Round of applause for her, well bloody done. Now do you want me to model a pair or “regular” tights by wearing them on my finger?”
It’s unclear as to whose tone-deaf brainchild this was — Wish.com has declined to comment to multiple media outlets about the images in question — but it’s blatantly obvious that the mastermind behind this shameful concept has no regard for the feelings of those who wear anything larger than a size eight.
If the company wants to sell plus-size clothing and accessories, why not appeal to said demographic by hiring plus-size women to model the products? Many would agree such a strategy sounds like common sense, but if that were the case, Twitter wouldn’t be up in arms over this subtle sort of body shaming—and rightfully so.
According to social media, Wish.com might’ve lifted the images from ads for “magic tights” that were designed to withstand any condition without tearing. Regardless of the circumstances, Wish.com made the decision to attribute these photos to the sale of plus-size tights, which deserves the subsequent outpouring of disgust. While the models themselves might be innocent, the site itself must be held accountable.
There are countless ways to body shame people without calling them out explicitly, and this instance fits those criteria perfectly. Wish.com had the opportunity to embrace the plus-size community and employ models that might otherwise struggle in a fashion industry that has yet to truly embrace women who don’t fit the mold society’s created. Instead, the retailer chose to send its target market running in the opposite direction. Without an apology, Wish.com will only reinforce the assumption that it doesn’t approve of these women’s bodies, and that’s the quickest way to alienate any and every shopper with an ounce of decency and compassion for their fellow humans.
(This post originally appeared on Storia.)