Online shopping, though slightly less rage-inducing than its in-person counterpart, can often be just as exhausting when you belong to so-called fashion niches. You’ve got to contend with a smaller selection of clothes, the likelihood of basic items selling out faster than a pair Beyoncé’s concert tickets and, in many cases, vastly higher prices. But what most people don’t expect (or deserve) is the prospect of having their bodies used as a punchline in advertising campaigns that are specifically targeted towards them.
Wish.com had other ideas about what’s acceptable in an advert, however. Over the weekend, rightfully disgruntled browsers spotted adverts for plus-size tights on the website – each of which featured slender models demonstrating how large the plus-size tights were by pulling them up over their entire bodies – and blasted it for its tone-deaf campaign.
In one picture from the website, a model is pictured with her entire body in one leg of the tights, while others show models using the hosiery as a cocoon of sorts while they strike poses.
According to the Evening Standard, some have pointed out that the images used on Wish.com had previously been seen on trendingvip.com to demonstrate the elasticity of a product called Super Elastic Magical Stockings. While that may be true, the root of people’s anger isn’t necessarily tied to the original intention of the photos, but rather why Wish.com felt it appropriate to use them as a means of selling products for fat people in the first place.
Forever the butt of the lazy, outdated joke, our bodies are seen as a burden, undeserving of space, dignified campaigns, high-quality clothing or trendy designs
The answer lies – as it always does – in societal contempt for fat people. Forever the butt of the lazy, outdated joke, our bodies are seen as a burden, undeserving of space, dignified campaigns, high-quality clothing or trendy designs. Only in recent years, thanks to bloggers like Gabi Gregg, Nicolette Mason and Fluvia Lacerda (to name a few), have mainstream shops begun to realise that shapeless tops, dark colours and hideous patterns aren’t necessarily cult favourites among fat people. In fact, the $21bn industry has seen an influx of small businesses trying to profit from the newfound realisation that a lot of fat women actually like to be on trend and don’t see our bodies as a source of shame.
But, considering the recent obsession with body positivity lite and the tendency to stop short of true inclusivity by solely uplifting “acceptably fat” bodies, it isn’t exactly surprising that campaigns like these keep popping up. So, for the next genius who thinks using slim women to front plus-size clothing campaigns is a good idea, maybe centring the women it's actually for would be a better move.