Target Misses the Mark, Combines Plus Sizes with Maternity
The worst question you can ask an overweight woman of virtually any age is, “So, when are you due?”
We think, “Shut up! I’m fat, damnit, not pregnant!” Of course, that’s not how most would reply. Weight challenged individuals are usually apologetic, even when insulted, humiliated, or ashamed. We apologize for THEIR error, wanting to spare their embarrassment — being so deeply and keenly aware of the enormity of both our size and perceived failures.
With its recent store reconfiguration, Target, an otherwise fine retailer, actively invites this insensitive question. Is Target consciously perpetuating ongoing discrimination against overweight women?
Target tucked its “Plus Size Women’s” section into the Maternity Department and put both into a nearly hidden, discreet back corner of the store, the back of the “bus” so to speak, so as not to expose such ‘unpleasant situations’ to others.
It gets worse.
The clothes for the overweight and for expectant mothers are hung side by side on the same racks! This forces plus size women to examine each and every label while standing next to a seemingly everpresent young woman, utterly fit, but with a belly clearly into her ninth month. Her clothes labels are marked s/m/lg/xl. The clothes for large, non-pregnant women are coded 1/2/3/4. Side by side.
Someone could walk by and think, “Wow, she (substitute any derogatory term so often, sadly, applied by others) has to buy maternity clothes because she’s so big!”
Those who are size, shopping, and weight challenged do not need to be reminded that they are hard to fit. There are stores devoted solely to the “plus size woman.” Others simply have friendlier departments that specialize in these sizes. Since the obesity crisis in America is certainly in the news, it is hard to believe that Target would intentionally insult a large segment of their customers. However, it is inconceivable that no senior manager there recognized the insensitivity of its plus/maternity combination during the course of a carefully plotted national chain reorganization.
Shopping is certainly not an easy activity for the overweight. The limited range of clothes and styles available are often ugly and matronly. In many stores, trying on clothes in a dressing room designed for the slim puts plus size folks in a tight spot, literally. Many can remember being teased as children that their clothes would have to come from “the tent-maker.” The equivalent fear for grown-ups is that, God forbid, all one could wear is maternity clothes.
Target has certainly reinforced that fear as well as the common belief in America that big (even pregnant) is to be hidden. Perhaps Target should put the “Petites” in the children’s section. With the infant wear?
Clearly, the Target overhaul was designed by someone clueless and slender (and probably male). Whoever their creative overseers are, they certainly haven’t a clue about the daily discrimination weight-challenged Americans must handle simply to get through the day.
So, if you or a loved one shop plus size, or if you simply hate the notion that anyone, including the overweight, in America are disciminated against, perhaps you and I should take our business elsewhere.