Popular clothing store Abercrombie & Fitch received backlash after reposting an image of a plus-size customer wearing their clothes.
While many commenters online stated the image was an advertisement created by Abercrombie, the image was actually reshared by a customer.
“Abercrombie is often tagged by our customers on social media and we love to celebrate them by reposting their images to our channels,” an Abercrombie spokesperson told Newsweek. “This is one of those occasions. The post was never removed from any of the channels to which it was posted.”
But after posting the image on their Instagram on August 21, the clothing company began experiencing criticism online claiming they were promoting “obesity.” Although discourse online claimed the image was deleted, the image is still up on Abercrombie’s Instagram account at the time of publication.
Average Sizing in America
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the average waist size for women in America is 38.7 inches while men average closer to 40.2 inches.
The average pant size for adult women in America is large or extra large and the average dress size is between 18 to 20.
While these are the recorded averages in America, research has found that many stores do not produce jeans in these sizes. Rather, an analysis conducted by Quartz found the most-carried pant size was a size 27 while the median size carried was 30 inches.
Although about 50 percent of the population has a waist larger than 37, these sizes are offered in only about 13 percent of malls.
Currently, Abercrombie carries pant sizes from size 23 to 37 and carries curvy styles that range in various lengths as well. Before undergoing a complete rebranding starting in 2017, Abercrombie was notorious for only offering small sizing options.
Before his resignation in 2014, former Abercrombie CEO Mike Jeffries went viral for his comments about being “exclusionary” and saying many people “don’t belong” in their clothes.
Twitter users continue to slam the company more than a week after the image was originally shared.
“New Abercrombie & Fitch ad just dropped…This season they are featuring diabetes and heart attacks,” user @Chesschick01 tweeted over the weekend.
“Why are we normalizing obesity[?] Why don’t we normalize fitness & health[?] Obesity ain’t it,” user @morgonnm tweeted.
“Abercrombie went from ‘I don’t want fat and poor people wearing my clothes’ to lets [sic] get the fattest chick we can find,” user @balcilic tweeted.
“I just did a scan through Abercrombie & Fitch social media,” user @BrianClowdus tweeted. “It’s literally become exclusively a social justice warrior company now: abortion, queer everything, drag queens, BLM & everything woke under the sun. I miss frat boys & frat girls on shopping bags. Those were the days… .”
The company responded to the backlash on its official Instagram page on Tuesday, stating that it will continue to celebrate its customers.
“Those we feature don’t need to change anything about themselves,” the statement said. “We will continue celebrating them exactly as they are.”
According to a study of almost 14,000 people in six countries conducted by the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, more than half of the respondents had experienced fat-shaming.
Researchers found that family members were the most common source of fat shaming, with between 76 and 68 percent of participants reporting they received negative comments about their weight from a relative, particularly during childhood and adolescence.
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