Victoria's Secret is accused of body-shaming a customer
As the body-positivity movement continues to grow, more and more brands (such as Nike, Lovesick, and Urban Outfitters) have expanded their offerings to cater to plus-size shoppers. One brand noticeably left out of the conversation? Victoria's Secret.
Though the intimates retailer has come under fire time and time again for promoting an unrealistic ideal body image (that of the ultrathin Victoria's Secret "Angel"), the company hasn't made any moves to become more inclusive—a fact made painfully clear by one plus-size shopper's discouraging experience at the brand's Cardiff, Wales store earlier this week.
According to Yahoo! Style, Abbie Walsh-Greenfield was out shopping when she decided to visit her local Victoria's Secret. She'd never been inside the store before, let alone visited the brand's website, but figured it was worth checking out.
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While she was looking around, she realized that there wasn't anything available in her size; in fact, she didn't see a single XL in the entire store. Still, she was content with browsing, until an employee approached her and rudely asked: "Hi...Are you aware of the sizing in this store?"
Walsh-Greenfield, who is a size 20, felt the employee was body-shaming her. In an open letter to Victoria's Secret on her blog, Walsh-Greenfield admits the cruelty of the woman's comment didn't fully sink in until later. Still, she recalls, "I shuffled away, with my tail between my legs. I didn't even want to hold the shorts anymore.... My friend, upon discussion once leaving the shop after making her purchase, was livid. Her experience ruined. She wanted to ring the head office or go back into the store to make a complaint.... I didn't want to go back to complain, I didn't feel welcome."
In her letter, Walsh-Greenfield writes that she, personally, is fine—upset, but fine—yet she recognizes the experience could have ended much differently for someone with less confidence, someone who, as Walsh-Greenfield writes, "couldn't handle it." She concluded her letter by proudly announcing that later that day, she spent $100 at a different store—money that could have been spent at Victoria's Secret.
Walsh-Greenfield's letter caught the attention of the folks at Victoria's Secret, who reached out to apologize on behalf of the body-shaming employee. Unfortunately, it's unlikely a simple apology will do much good: Several other customers commented on Walsh-Greenfield's post, recalling similar incidents at different Victoria's Secret locations. Body-shaming isn't cool, but body-shaming a customer? Well, that's just bad for business. Looks like Victoria's Secret is going to have to seriously re-evaluate its business practices if it wishes to stay relevant in today's inclusive, empowering fashion industry.
Check out Walsh-Greenfield's open letter to Victoria's Secret in full here.