It's Not Lane Bryant's Job to Make You Feel Better About Your Body

lane bryant plus is equal campaignLane Bryant hosted an #AskLaneBryant Twitter convo yesterday, and the social media stunt drew out hordes of women who are seriously pissed at the plus-size brand. But, from what we can tell, a lot of the hate seems misdirected.

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There were plenty of complaints about the clothes: too expensive, ugly, bad designs, crap fabrics, too many bold prints, not enough sleeves -- the works.

At least those are critiques Lane Bryant can actually do something about ...

But then, the snark veered into territory that I'm not sure Lane Bryant is in charge of patrolling. Take this tweet from body-positivity activist Amanda Levitt:

Okay, so, Lane Bryant's not perfect, but it was trying to serve the size-14-and-up market long before other brands caught on. And yet, that doesn't seem to have earned it much goodwill among its shoppers. Despite the store's best efforts, body positivity doesn't come from an ad campaign or marketing team.

And maybe this is where the whole thing went so terribly wrong.

By wrapping itself around body-positive messages and pitting itself against Victoria's Secret with the #ImNoAngel campaign, Lane Bryant tried to do something a retail brand simply can't do: impact how women see themselves.

More from The Stir: If You're Freaking Out Over Being Called Plus-Size, You're Missing the Point

Internalizing marketing messaging as gospel is what got us here in the first place. Fix this, pluck that, lose 10 pounds, buy this skin cream and all your troubles will be over! It cuts both ways. Brands don't define you. They just sell you shit.

Yes, the offerings at Lane Bryant don't meet the needs of every single woman's lifestyle or tastes. That doesn't mean Layne Bryant hates you or doesn't think you're worthy of clothes; it can only make so much.

Our rage should be reserved for those who want to pretend like fat women don't exist or aren't worthy of being served. Women who aren't a perfect sample size have been willfully ignored by the fashion industry for all sorts of reasons, and thanks to the foot-stomping of activists and women everywhere, that's changing. ASOS, ModCloth, and many other retailers are waking up to the reality that women of all sizes want something cute to wear. Yay!

But beating up on a business for trying to connect with its customers and sell its products is a waste of time.

Lane Bryant is just in the clothing biz. It isn't in the biz of bolstering body image or how women view themselves. That's our job.

 

Image via Plusisequal.com

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