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Another store, another case of fat shame

September 10, 2013

Fat NewsDickweed

In my last post, I blogged about Lululemon, a store that sells yoga pants, which got some backlash for not catering to larger customers. Now another clothing company is getting backlash and bad publicity for fat-shaming a customer.

Shelby Buster, a 14-year-old girl who lives in Eugene, Oregon, was at the Valley River Center Mall with her mother and a friend celebrating her birthday when the two girls walked into Rue 21. According to Shelby, a store employee approached her, but instead of asking her if she needed help, she told her “you’re too big to be in this store, I need you to leave.”

Embarrassed and hurt, Shelby and her friend left to get her mom and they headed back to Rue 21 and demanded an apology, which they got. She later posted her story on Rue 21’s Facebook page and the company responded to her claim admonishing the employee who made the remark. But then the incident made its way into the media and Rue 21 suddenly switched gears and stated that they don’t know if this actually happened and they are going over surveillance footage to see if the clerk did what Shelby accused her of.

Response to this story has been generally positive, with many supporting Shelby and angry at the employee’s attitude, but there are some who doubt that someone would actually say that to a customer. But as most of us fat people know, it doesn’t take much for a complete stranger to insult our appearance no matter where we are or what we’re doing. Look no further than  Ragen Chastain, who wrote about her hellish ordeal with not one, but two fat-shamers. Kath Read, who writes Fat Heffalump, has also chronicled her negative experiences of being fat in public. Jezebel has also posted the story and commenters there have talked about their nasty encounters with fat-shaming sales clerks.

Shelby has turned to Facebook to make others aware of what happened to her, encouraging people to call the store and complain about the employee’s behavior.  A future fat activist may be in the making — and we definitely need more of those to let everyone know we, as well as our money, shouldn’t be disrespected because of our size.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Duckie permalink
    September 10, 2013 11:30 am

    When I was about 100 pounds smaller than I am now, I went into Victoria’s Secret and was told by the clerk that they had nothing for me there and that I should try Lane Bryant. I had some words for her.

    • Elizabeth permalink
      September 10, 2013 1:38 pm

      Wow, you got this at Victoria’s Secret? A girlfriend bought me some long underwear there and I figured it would be too small. When I finally put it on, it was quite large and I used it for pajamas. I am so glad you had some words for the clerk!

  2. callow permalink
    September 12, 2013 9:24 pm

    Or someone looking for attention or money? We’ll probably never know the whole truth.
    http://www.kezi.com/weight-discrimination-claim-retracted/

  3. September 12, 2013 9:50 pm

    But hey! Don’t let that “unknown truth” stop you from oh-so-subtly casting aspersions on the kid’s character. [rolleyes]

  4. callow permalink
    September 12, 2013 10:22 pm

    Honestly I’m torn between the kid made it up or was paid to change her story. Either way, it’s sad. It makes me feel emotionally manipulated and it makes other people’s experiences less believable.

    • September 12, 2013 11:26 pm

      I’m not getting that from the report at all. It sounds like somebody in the store did indeed say shitty, upsetting things to her, and she understandably mistook that person for a store employee.

      Less believable for who? People who’ve already decided that anti-fat comments aren’t real? No development in the story would have changed their minds, no matter what that development was.

  5. lifeonfats permalink
    September 13, 2013 9:15 pm

    I was a little hesitant to do the story at first because I know there are people out there who make things up willy-nilly for attention, like the woman who said a man made gay slurs at her two year-old in Walmart. But I figured what teenage girl would call attention to herself by saying someone said she was fat? But it appears that someone did say something to her, store employee or not and people who still believe these things don’t happen in everyday life or believe it doesn’t matter who said it, it should have been said, will still have their attitudes. If the family and the store are choosing to put this incident behind them and move on, more power to them.

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