Forever 21 launched an Instagram account for its plus size sector three weeks ago. The retailer debuted the page with a photo of Ashley Graham, who has become something of an ambassador for curvy women around the world.
But over the past three weeks, shoppers have had mixed responses to the images that the retailer has posted.
Digiday has pointed to some commenters who were furious that many of the curvy women were not ‘plus’ size enough for them.
This photo, for instance, infuriated women.
“This is so depressing that she’s considered plus sized,” one commenter wrote.
“Right?” Another commenter wrote. “I was her size in grade school and I thought I was fat because of advertising like this.
“Omg how is this considered plus that girl is normally skinny,” another wrote.
One of the original photos that Digiday discussed that particularly left some women cold have since been deleted from Forever 21’s Instagram account.
Throughout the Instagram page’s tenure, there have been some photos that resonated with women, such as this photo.
“I love this because it’s real. Her thighs look real af. Keep showing REAL pictures!” A commenter wrote.
This recently posted photo of Tess Holliday and Priscilla Ono also yielded positive responses.
Some commenters have found a middle ground.
“She is considered a plus size woman, just because she’s not huge doesn’t mean she’s not plus! You people, complaining,are ridiculous! Just because she doesn’t scream “look I’m super size” doesn’t mean she isn’t plus size. @forever21plus carries sizes up to 3x,” one commenter wrote. “They aren’t a all plus size store, they cater to regular size and some plus, just because they cater to some plus size doesn’t mean they have to cater to even bigger sizes. That’s where Stores like Lane Bryant and Torrid come into place. Forever 21 is a very affordable store I’m sure if they had to cater to even bigger size it wouldn’t be as affordable to us the consumers. People need to not complain about these beautiful plus size models because even if they are not a 2x or bigger they are still considered plus size for their size.”
But the dissent might come with good cause.
It might not be that women want to see plus size women — especially if they are already plus size and are browsing an Instagram account dedicated to plus size women — it’s that they want to see real women, complete with flaws, similarly to how non-plus size women want to see the same.
Teen lingerie retailer Aerie has proven that women do, in fact, prefer seeing flaws, whether it’s cellulite, rolls, or blemishes, with its unretouched photos, proving that it’s not a matter of big or small, it’s a matter of whether or not women feel accurately represented.
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