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Disappointed in Lane Bryant

September 10, 2011

As a plus size woman, I don’t have a ton of fashion options without shopping online and a lot of stores that do carry plus sizes tend to have large, ugly prints that few women would want to wear or faux jeans that are just elastic at the top.  It’s difficult to make the best of it as you strive to get back to a healthy weight.  That’s why I appreciated Lane Bryant.  I could go into a store near me and find real jeans that fit and clothes that aren’t frumpy.

It’s going to be hard making the decision not to shop there anymore.  Maybe they’re counting on their customers having few options, but when they sent me their September “magalog”, it was deeply offensive to me.  It featured five women wearing only jeans and they were posed against each other in certain ways to cover their breasts, one of which had her hand placed rather seductively on another woman’s rear end.

I signed up to be on their mailing list a while back, but I wasn’t prepared for what I consider to be soft porn in my mailbox and had never seen anything like that from Lane Bryant before.  My children often ask to get the mail or to go with me to get it.  They look forward to surprises from their grandparents, the next Netflix movie coming, Lego magazines, and The Friend magazine that comes from our church.  Lane Bryant didn’t think about other household members when they made the decision to put that photo on the cover.  I am very fortunate that I decided to get the mail alone that day, but other moms were not so fortunate.  I have read multiple complaints on Lane Bryant’s Facebook page from women who were upset because their children got the mail.  And on top of that, some complaints have been deleted.

Lane Bryant has sent the same canned response to everyone.  When I e-mailed them, this is what they replied.

Thank you for notifying us of your thoughts and feelings regarding the Lane Bryant September mailing. The intent is to feature a group of beautiful women proudly showing their figures and empowering our customers to embrace their own curves.

We appreciate your opinion and apologize for any displeasure the photo may have caused you.  You can also be assured that all comments regarding the cover of this magalog are being sent to our Executive Team.

If you would like to be removed from our mailing list you may reply to this email and include the name and address as it is on your mailers and I will ensure that the information is removed from my system.

Again, we value your opinion and that you took the time to share it, and we will continue to offer the fashion and quality you expect from us.

 

Sincerely,

Matt B
Lanebryant.com Customer Service

I used to be a size 4 and even then, modesty was very important to me.  I wanted to be valued for my mind, my talents, and my personality.  I will never measure my worth based on how “sexy” I am.  The idea of flaunting my body made me feel like I would attract guys who only cared about my body and nothing else.  Besides, I wanted to grow up and marry one man who was attracted to me.  What was the point in trying to sexually attract many men who would never be with me? 

I reject the reasoning behind this ad.  Lane Bryant, you can’t tell me that this photo does me some kind of favor as a plus size woman.  It doesn’t.  Using your body to get attention is a sign of insecurity to me, not empowerment.  Furthermore, those women are average size, not plus size.  They don’t represent your average customer.  If you supposedly want to empower your patrons, why don’t you use size 28 models?

Be honest.  Because it wouldn’t be sexy and it’s the smaller models who make the clothing look appealing.

I don’t want to see a woman of any size posing half naked for a clothing magazine.  Despite Lane Bryant’s repeated “apology”, they still made the decision to use the picture as their Facebook profile.  The customer complaints keeps rolling in while others justify it as helping women who have poor body image or they tell us that our kids will see a lot worse on TV or walking down the street.

It was eye opening to learn that there are women out there who see monitoring the media in their homes as a foreign concept.  I explained that their point was irrelevant because I don’t have TV reception in my home and we have passwords on our Wii and computer to prevent them from watching things they shouldn’t.  No, I can’t control what other people wear on the street, but I certainly haven’t seen a group of topless women in sexual poses on the corner.

To add insult to injury, this ad is showing up in giant form in store windows where kids can see it.  Multiple customers have complained about their kids seeing it.

Other ridiculous comments towards us outraged moms included the following:

“You’re just prudes!”

“You obviously have no life since you’re still talking about this issue.”  Oh, but you have a life when all you do is talk about what clothing you’re buying from Lane Bryant and how sexy their ad is?

“You’re homophobic!”  No, this has nothing to do with homosexuality.  I would be just as ticked at men and women doing similar poses together.  I don’t believe those women are lesbians, but they are playing to an audience that thinks it’s sexy when women act like they’re attracted to each other.

“Naked women are beautiful!  Hiding them from your children are going to mess them up sexually!” 

“It’s not even showing anything.”  Oh really?  Does the side of a woman’s breast not count?  Women don’t tend to show the entire side of their breasts in public, so don’t tell me that’s something I see every day.  I don’t get why it’s not considered offensive until a nipple makes an appearance.

Many Lane Bryant customers continue to complain on their Facebook page and they become the targets of hostile comments just because they want to protect their children.  I was shocked when Lane Bryant started banning and deleting respectful women from their page who simply disagreed with the ad while allowing their verbally abusive supporters to remain.  Since starting this post, I have now seen insults like “crazy b*tches” directed towards those who just want to protect their kids. 

I was participating respectfully on the page, answering questions as they were asked, and supporting women who feel the same as me.  We are/were Lane Bryant customers.  After I and several others were banned, the moderator explained that the “trolls” and “fake accounts” had been removed.  They have this false idea that we made fake accounts to make it appear as if more women are against the ad than there really are.

Lane Bryant, you are the ones being dishonest.  It is you putting on a false image of what is happening.  You don’t want everyone to see that the overwhelming majority of your customers are furious!  And let me tell you what a real apology would look like.

1.  You would apologize profusely and admit wrong doing.

2.  You would remove the photo from your websites.

3.  You would tell all of your locations to throw the huge posters in the garbage because it was a bad move on your part.

I’m sure you spent a lot of money on this ad, but it doesn’t compare to the money you are going to lose because you ticked off loyal customers who never expected to receive material in the mail from you that they consider pornographic.  The poster is now in the window at the location near me and anyone can drive by and see it.  I know, some women consider it beautiful for reasons I don’t understand, but they wouldn’t have been angry if you put some tops on your models! 

I have a closet full of Lane Bryant clothes and I am frustrated that I can no longer give you my business because 1.  You made a huge error in judgment and 2.  You refuse to give the women you hurt a real apology.  You can’t go back in time and undo it, but you can send out a major apology to everyone on your mailing list and take immediate action by removing the tasteless ad.

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