14-Year-Old Girl Gets Thrown Out of Clothing Store for Being Too 'Fat'

Heartbreaking 41

14 candle cakeIt's a complex problem for mothers of daughters: How to talk about our culture's obsession with fat (i.e., why being fat is apparently a fate worse than death for a woman) without validating society's disproportionate preoccupation with such matters. It's a talk no mother wants to have, but if we don't -- unfortunately -- somebody else will. A perfect example is what happened to 14-year-old Shelby Buster -- on her birthday, no less.

The teen was on a celebratory shopping trip at the mall with her friends (with mom waiting in the food court so as to supervise without cramping  the teen's style) when some horrifically vile employee at clothing store Rue 21 told her to get lost because she's too fat for their skanky old ugly old outfits. Or, as Buster put it: “I walked in and the lady at the front counter said hey you’re too big to be in this store, I need you to leave."

Um, happy birthday to you ... ?! 

Seriously, obviously, as a mother/woman/human being, this story makes me violently ill/angry. But it also illustrates my original point, which is that we clearly need to talk to our girls about the ludicrous expectations sure to be placed upon them and build up their confidence but good before somebody comes along and tries to destroy their self-esteem. The question is, HOW?? How do we do that??

The trick, really, is convincing our daughters that they're worth more than the sum of their potentially flawed parts -- that our male-dominated, sexist culture is so terrified by the concept of powerful women that it's come up with a million and one ways to prey on our vulnerabilities so we're too busy hating ourselves to actually think about or do anything important. 

This, unfortunately, is a tough sell for the average 14-year-old who just wants to buy a cute top at the mall without feeling like a pariah. 

Unless, that is, we as mothers have set such fabulous positive body image examples that our daughters would never even think to question their own amazing selves. Which ... well, sh*t. I sure as hell screwed that one up, how 'bout you?

Guess we can only go forward. Oh, and by the way, the store did apologize to Buster when she brought her mom back with her, but a fat lot of good that did, I'm sure (pardon the pun). The damage was no doubt done.

How do you boost your daughter's body confidence?

Image via Scott McLeod/Flickr

body image, clothes, news


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nonmember avatar blue

Of course, this situation would be horrible. IF it had happened, which I don't believe for a second.

work4... work4mickey

Wow. I know I'm too big for a lot of stores, but I would raise hell if I was told to leave the store. I have skinny cousins and friends. Maybe I'm shopping for them. Maybe I'm planning on losing weight and want to buy an outfit to set a goal. It would be reasonable to refuse to allow me to try something on, because you don't want me to dammage the merchandise, but to not allow me in the store is ludicrous.

youth... youthfulsoul

Skinny isn't always pretty. Obviously this clerk might be small enough for the store but she's ugly inside.

the4m... the4mutts

Instead of focusing on weight, I talk to my girls and boys about healthy decisions. Being active helps you grow, and makes you smarter. Twinkies are okay for a treat, but broccolihelps your body and your mind. I praise their intelligence and accomplishments, and their generosity or other good traits.

I compliment them on staying clean.

I also talk to them while shopping, about going to stores/sections of stores, that flatter their body style. I truthfully explain to them that not everything will look good on them, or fit them properly. All 4 of my kids are thin, and short. So i'll tell them that target fits them better than walmart, so the pants dont sag and look like they've got a load in their pants.

There are plenty of ways to prep your children for the real world, without telling them that being anything other than skinny is unacceptable. (Which is simply not true)

nonmember avatar Suni

I am finding this story very hard to believe. It just doesn't ring true, much like that mother that posted a story about a redneck ripping the pink headband off her sons head.

That being said, I have encountered alot of fat shaming in my day.

adamat34 adamat34

Oh my. Um pretty sure I would have demanded to speak to a manager, and the manager of the mall. This is horseshit. Im not usually on the lets make it viral bandwagon....but Im 100% in support of this. This woman will lose her job, and hopefully this will be a lesson to assholes everywhere.

dirty... dirtymoon

Nooooo! I was the chubby girl in high school, this would have probably driven me to an eating disorder had someone said this to me. How can some people be so flat out cruel! I seriously think manners and kindness are more of an issue then a number on a scale now days anyways. How rude, and I hope karma gets back at this rude rude clerk. Hopefully this poor teen isn't tramatized for life.

Lobelle Lobelle

Sounds like once again, part of the story is missing

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

I doubt this happened. 

abra819 abra819

4mutts, every comment you make , makes you sound like mother Theresa. Give me an f'n break.

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