Urban Outfitters... did you REALLY think this was acceptable??

While going through my Google Reader today, I came upon this post by Tasha at Random Musings of an Overactive Imagination and like her and many others, I'm kind of outraged too!

Recently, the company Urban Outfitters, which is known for having stores in shopping malls across America, had to remove a t-shirt they were selling on their website.

http://www.clevelandleader.com/files/urbanoutfitterseatless.jpgThe shirt in question is to the right ---->

Many feel that it promotes anorexia (a movement called Pro-Ana), as the message is "Eat Less" and is worn by a model on their site who looks pretty skinny. Their target demographic for their clothes are high schoolers too, as they rival other mall stores geared towards teens such as American Eagle and Abercrombie and Fitch.

I understand, America is becoming more obese and lazy - while viewing a local commercial for am upcoming local family summer event, my husband couldn't help but comment at how "big" some of the kids in the commercial were. But selling a t-shirt that says "Eat Less" and marketing it towards teenage girls - many of which already have insecurity and body issue problems to begin with - is just irresponsible and promoting a poor solution to an important issue. While it is important to be healthy and in shape "eating less" is not the answer - eating healthy and regular exercise is.

To be honest, I've never shopped at Urban Outfitters as I find their prices (as well as the prices of American Eagle, Abercrombie & Fitch, and other similar stores) to be too expensive, but I remember being in Jr. High and shopping at stores like that cuz it was trendy thing to do - if you wanted to fit in with the popular crowd, you had to wear the name brand labels. Last time I can recall wearing a size 0 was in 5th or 6th grade. For most of high school I was a size 6 and by the end of college I was at least an 8 to a 10. Now, before getting preggo, I was comfortable in size 12, as a 13 was too loose and an 11 was just slightly too tight. Aside from my size 12 Old Navy jeans, I'm in a 14 (which I blame on pregnancy). I've never been obese or "big" but I do have big thighs which is why I have to currently wear double digit pants, as the smaller sizes I can't pull over them. So far, the exercise I have tried in recent years, doesn't seem to help much in my thighs as all it does is tighten them and turn the fat into muscle. I've just come to accept that I have big thighs, which I've heard will come in handy when I pop out this kid in February. Sometimes you just can't help the way your body is. Yes, before I was pregnant I could use to lose a good 10-20lbs just to be healthier (I was in the lower 160s), but still... I wasn't skinny, but I wasn't obese either - I considered myself to be average.

This is why movies such as the Bridget Jones ones upset me - in the movie she weighs 130 or so and EVERYONE seems to think she's fat because of that, including herself - Hollywood's pretty skewed if they think 130lbs is a "fat girl" number. Watching that movie even depressed me, as at the time I first saw it in college I was at least 140lbs! Ladies, unless you're super super short, 130lbs is NOT fat! I know plenty of women, myself included, who would LOVE to be 130lbs.

My college roommate once came across a Livejournal group years ago (back when Livejournal was the main form of blogging) that she shared with me - it was a Pro-Ana group and it saddened us both so much to see images of super skinny celebs that these young girls (most seemed to be in Jr. High and high school) were aiming to look like. They practically idolized the skin and bone images of Mary Kate Olsen back when she struggled with her eating disorder. It was just sickening. A handful people, us included, started posting trying to explain to these girls that this wasn't healthy at all and having a news design and art background I even tried to explain how a lot of images you see in magazines and such are altered in programs like Photoshop to make the celebs look more skinny and glamorous. The girls would have none of our rational talk though as we spent a week on there trying to help them - instead they continued to hold each other accountable, using their skin and bone images of celebs as inspiration while they tried to reach 60lbs... and then 50lbs... It was so sad!

Having experienced that first hand, as well as having been a teenage girl who spent time trying to fit in, and having a current teenage sister and the fact that I'm going to be a mommy soon and hope to someday have a girl, a store selling and marketing stuff like this to girls is really upsetting to me!

What were the people who approve the items Urban Outfitters sells thinking when they approved this?! It doesn't appear that anyone sees the "humor" in it (if there was any) - it comes off as being either Pro-Ana or just mean spirited. What were they thinking??

Here's the article from the Cleveland Leader, which has been making rounds on the net:

http://mondoboston.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/urban.jpgNew Urban Outfitters T-Shirt Promotes Pro-Anorexia Movement
     Urban Outfitters does admittedly have at least some pretty cool clothes, but if you're bigger than say a size 8 or are anything more than small-chested, good luck finding anything there to fit. I suppose that could be the message of their latest t-shirt, "Eat Less" and maybe you'll be able to buy/wear our clothes.
     Perhaps some of the American population could stand to take the shirt's advice, but for those impressionable teens who shop at Urban Outfitters, it's message is more pro-anorexia than anything, especially when worn by an emaciated model.
     Many are outraged by the t-shirt. If you too would like to give Urban Outfitters a piece of your mind, you can send your comments to service@urbanoutfitters.com
Actress Sophia Bush, from the hit TV show One Tree Hill, has even taken a stand against this as well and wrote an open letter to Urban Outfitters on her blog. While I'm not too familar with the actress, having never watched her TV show, I do applaud her for taking a stand and expressing her outrage about this - it's nice to see SOMEONE in Hollywood/Showbiz take a stand against this kind of thing.

What do you think? Was Urban Outfitters out of line marketing and selling the shirt? What are your thoughts?


  1. Wow. Just wow. Unfortunately, I DON'T have a problem believing this. Girls have such a problem as it is with their bodies and what others think. Whoever came up with this is ridiculous. Honestly, stores like Urban Outfitters, American Eagle etc should PAY people the wear their clothes. Most of their products have their company name all over them. People should think before they pay to be a walking advertisement.

    Back to the Pro-Ana movement. It saddens me SO much that girls will go to that extreme, and the fact that there are support groups to STAY in an eating disorder isn't just sad, it's scary.

  2. It's terrible that they are selling a shirt like this, but if they want to thats their choice, just like not buying the clothes is the consumers choice

  3. Right, but they're marketing it towards the teenage girls that shop at their store, whether or not they buy it though... something about that just doesn't seem right.

  4. I agree that anorexia is a terrible problem and that the Urban Outfitter outfit (on that super skinny model) gives the wrong message. I suppose for some people, eating healthy means eating less (since we should be eating about the same number of calories that we burn), but it's way too vague. At least it doesn't say "Eat nothing" or "Eat once a week" or something. But still.

    As you imply, 130 lb could be fat depending on the height of the person (my mom is 5 feet tall, and she has tried to diet when she's passed 120 lb). I guess Renee Zellweger is 5'4", though sometimes a character an actor plays is supposed to be taller or shorter than the actual actor (like Wash always seems shorter than Zoe in Firefly, though the actor is taller). Of course, the fact that muscle is denser than fat creates a problem, because it's possible for two people the same height to weigh the same but have different percent body fats, so one is fatter than the other. So in that way, weight is kind of a bad measure to go by (except within reason).

    There are so many different body types that it's kind of not fair to make comparisons in weight; 140 lb may be a healthy weight for one 5'4" person, but it may be a bit much for another. It is good that you seem to be satisfied with your body, because there are so many women who aren't. I think many of us tend to see ourselves in the mirror as fatter than we are. I get frustrated sometimes with my waistline, even with a wonderful boyfriend who assures me I'm perfect. I wish I and many others didn't feel this way about our bodies. That's just my perspective.

  5. Wow! That's insane!!!

    I'm glad they were forced to take it down!!


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