Another store, another case of fat shame
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.