Stand Up with #SocialPower

This post brought to you by Social Power. All opinions are 100% mine.

Those of you who are a regular part of the One Artsy Mama community know by now that I’m a pretty upbeatperson.  I get all excited about glitter and Starbucks, but you’ll rarely see me post something that isn’t optimistic.  Don’t belive me?  Check my posts and my Facebook page!  I tend to look on the bright side and would rather spend my time encouraging people than complaining.  {Hence my motto is create, share, love and inspire, not whine, grouch, swear, and complain}. ;)   But every now and then, something happens that makes my blood boil.  Usually it comes in the form of some kind of injustice or something that violates the things I believe to be right, good, and true.  And that happened today.
I was browsing Facebook while procrastinating writing my next post, and I saw a link my cousin Christina had shared.  It was titled “Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Explains Why He Hates Fat Chicks.”  Um, excuse me?  What?  There are so many things wrong just with that title.  I clicked.  I read. I got really really angry.

If you haven’t read the article for yourself {although you probably have since it’s gone viral}, it’s basically the CEO Mike Jeffries explaining why his store doesn’t offer clothing larger than a size 10 for female customers. {Raise your hand if you’ve ever worn a size 10 or above!  Yeah, me too!}  Apparently, he “doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people,” …“He doesn’t want his core customers to see people who aren’t as hot as them wearing his clothing. People who wear his clothing should feel like they’re one of the ‘cool kids.’” Woah, hold the phone.  And it gets worse.  He stated that he doesn’t feel bad about discriminating against heavier customers because, In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids.  Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.
You have got. to. be. kidding.  How can a company get away with such blatant discrimination that sends a
poisonous message to the American public, particularly young women?  While the company offers XL and XXL men’s clothing to appeal to “athletes,” female consumers are being given the message that they have to be a certain size or else they’ll never be attractive, popular, have friends, or be happy!  Wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong!  The idea that Abercrombie & Fitch is unapologetically telling young people that popularity is all that matters and that the only way to be happy and well-liked is to conform to an unrealistic cultural ideal of “attractiveness” literally makes me feel sick.

I’ve shared with you before that I struggled with my weight all through middle and high school.  I topped out close to 200 lbs and wore a size 16-18.  I was also one of the “smart kids,” and that combination meant I wasn’t part of the “in crowd.”  But you know what?  I had friends.  Good friends.  I graduated at the top of my class and went on to graduate from college summa cum laude, “with highest honors.”  I married a funny, smart, loving, handsome man and have a son who is the light of my life.  I have the best job ever, doing what I love and making enough money to support my hobby at the same time.  I’m surrounded by a close family, great friends, and a community of readers who feel like my extended family.  I am blessed.  I am happy.  And I didn’t look like an Abercrombie & Fitch model when I was 16.  Shocking, isn’t it?

I hate that poisonous messages and world views like that of Mr. Jeffries are being promoted.  No wonder there are so many young women who struggle with self-image and eating disorders.  No wonder kids are bullying each other when they see big bullies like him running successful companies.  Reading this article made me want to do something.  I wanted my voice to be heard.  I recently heard about a website called Social Power that’s designed to be a forum for doing just that.  The idea is that if there’s an issue that enough people feel passionate about, we can join forces via our social media and actually make a difference.
So I tried it.  I went to the website and created my issue.  It took about 5 minutes; I just wrote a title and a brief description of what I’ve just shared with you above, uploaded a photo, and I was finished.  What happens now?  Well, my hope is that other people who feel the same way I do about this will support my issue by visiting the link and clicking on the “Support This” button.  Those people can then share the link via their social media and it works like a big gian grapevine to raise awareness of the issue.  If and when an issue reaches 1000 supporters, it becomes an initiative and Social Power’s “agents of change”  actually try to take action and get something done by working as a mediator between the people and the company/brand or whoever is involved to come up with a solution.

Will it work?  I honestly don’t know.  Social Power is still in Beta form and so far, it’s so new that none of the issues have yet reached 1000 supporters.  So, I can’t give you any examples of what happens once something becomes an initiative or how any of these issues have been resolved.  Yet.  If you browse the site, you’ll see that some of the issues are far too broad to actually reach much of a resolution {ie:“Let’s stop the Earth from being destroyed by greed.”}, some are far-fetched and kind of goofy, {ie: All golf carts should be hovercrafts.” }, but some are just specific enough to work.  For example, one suggests that supermarkets sell close-to-expiring products at a 50% discount, which would help deal with local hunger and poverty as well as eliminate unnecessary waste of food.  Another suggests that Starbucks bring back the gold card benefit of free soymilk modifiers, which I gladly clicked to support since I think it’s unfair for lactose intolerant folks like hubby to have to pay more for their drinks due to an allergy!
The bottom line?  I don’t know if posting this issue on Social Power will make any difference at all, but it made me feel better to do it.  It made me feel like I could at least raise awareness and that people could stand up together and say, “This is not okay.”  Because it’s not.  Period.  It helped calm my nerves a little and relieve my desire to punch something {or someone}.  If you have a minute, I’d love for you to click on over and support this, just to see what happens…you never know what we might accomplish if enough of us make our voices heard!  And remember, whatever size and shape you are, you are beautiful.  And more importantly, your value extends far beyond your physical appearance.  You are the handmade creation of the greatest Artist of all.

Hugs & Glitter,

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7 comments on Stand Up with #SocialPower

  1. Megan Chamberlin
    May 21, 2013 at 4:40 AM (1 year ago)

    Already knew this, but loving your post – I’ve never worn A&F either, but I remember wishing I could a)afford it or B)fit into it – and I was a size 6 or smaller until late college! As a woman and a mother, I find the whole thing sickening. I agree – let’s make social media work for good!

  2. anastasia anezinis
    May 21, 2013 at 6:39 AM (1 year ago)

    Very good post!I support you completely in your cause and I share your opinion!Good luck!

  3. Tawna Thompson
    May 22, 2013 at 3:23 PM (1 year ago)

    He is a despicable person! It’s his companies decision if they don’t want to carry the sizes but I think it is absolutely horrible that he would come out and attack people for being who they are saying that they can’t be a part of the “In crowd” or that they aren’t as “Hot” as the people who wear his clothes. It’s disgusting!

  4. Emily
    May 22, 2013 at 3:58 PM (1 year ago)

    I’ve been steamed about this issue too! I never wore A&F because I thought the clothes weren’t of the best quality for their price, and I also found the store pretentious. I’ve supported this cause and shared it on Twitter and FB acounts (both personal and my blog page!)

    BTW, this guy needs to realize that this kind of message angers moms, who are the ones who buy the clothes! I have a “popular” son, the athlete that A&F reportedly caters too. (Don’t know how he got to be that way. Definitely not my DNA.) Guess what? I buy his clothes, and he’s just now getting into adult sizes. I’m not buying him A&F. Not wasting my money on a brand that promotes hate.

    A Tossed Salad Life

  5. Susan@Organized31
    May 22, 2013 at 9:00 PM (1 year ago)

    I am so with you on this one. To quote an old song, “Everyone is beautiful in the own way.”

  6. Nicole Burkholder
    July 20, 2013 at 4:02 PM (1 year ago)

    LOVE the last line of the post. And I’m headed over right now to show my support. What a jerk. (I’ve NEVER bought a thing from A&F anyway because of their soft-core porn they call catalogs.
    Nicole Burkholder recently posted…Vol. 2, Day 16: Crockpot Refried BeansMy Profile

    • dancers4life
      July 21, 2013 at 8:29 PM (1 year ago)

      Ugh, I know! Their catalogs and Victoria’s Secret ones are the worst!


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