Fat-washing: Why I'm sick of brands pretending to be inclusive
Has anyone else noticed this weird trend of brands' “fat-washing”?
Picture this, you’re a size 26 gal looking to spend some money. You see an ad on Instagram with a model that looks big - not fat, but certainly almost fat! You scurry on over to the website, giddy with the thought that you might be able to fit into the brands' clothes… only to look at their size chart and deflate faster than a balloon.
The amount of times I’ve seen an ad featuring a plus size person, or advertising inclusive sizing only to disappointedly find out they barely offer a size 20 is getting silly.
It’s like companies have realised that offering inclusive sizing is a good idea and is important to their customers, but are too lazy to actually do anything about it, which is just unbelievably frustrating.
Not a surprise
At this point, I shouldn't be surprised. I have been fat my whole life, so I’m no stranger to things like this. I have gotten used to the world being against me, as dramatic as it sounds. I have never fit in, both physically and metaphorically. So to walk into a store, or go online, and not find anything in my size is a regular occurrence.
I’ve spent a lot of time looking at scarves.
But this really stings though. To have something flaunted in your face and give you that little bit of hope that FINALLY brands are waking up and realising they should offer the bigger sizes, only to be cruelly taken away with a paltry offering of a few size 18s,
It drives me nuts.
Just a stunt
Using inclusivity as a PR stunt just seems extra wrong, especially if they’re not going to follow through and offer the sizes. It's all a bit gaslight-y, and really just makes you feel worse about yourself.
What is the point of advertising that you cater to everyone when it's just the opposite? Or using slightly bigger models in your pics to give off the air of inclusivity. So many big brands do it, but a lot of smaller companies are guilty too. They should all know better.
Not to be controversial, but I honestly don’t mind if you don’t do plus sizes! I mean, I wish you did, because your clothes are super cute and I’d love to wear them! But pretending to be inclusive just for clout is just dumb. It's 2023 for goodness sake, there's really no need for fat baiting. Just offer larger sizes or don’t. That's all there is to it.
Campaign for change
Representation needs to be more than a PR stunt, there needs to be real change. It's not like the companies wouldn’t benefit from it. Think of the money they would make if they actually sold clothes that would fit larger bodies. Fat people need clothes too, and we’re crying out for more options and more brands to do so. We have the money, we just can’t spend it.
But by faking it and pretending to be inclusive, all brands do is alienate a portion of their potential customer base, to the point where we aren’t going to want to support them even if they did sell clothes to fit us.
If there's one thing we can be sure of, fat people are no longer tolerant of this fat washing. In the world of social media and cancel culture, brands need to try harder and work on actual change. When they’ve achieved that, then they can start talking about how amazing and inclusive they are.
Until that point, they can get in the bin.