A little while ago, we experienced the backlash of an Urban Outfitters sweater disaster reminiscent of the Kent University Massacre in 1970. It was not only shocking but also distasteful and offensive to many of the brand’s consumers. Last week, a petition on Change.org began to get spreadshirt.com to remove pro-eating disorder shirts. These simple shirts have the words “Alluringly Anorexic,” “Beautifully Bulimic,” “Breathtakingly Bony” on them, which reference common eating disorders.
The shirts were designed by Ioana Urma who has dabbled into some controversy in the past. Last year, she released an installation called My Model Body. The idea was “born out of a serious concern with the publicized woman’s body – our social obsession with thin ideals – that falls nowhere close to average or, for the majority of the population, healthy.” Okay, while we can totally understand where she is coming from, the issue remains that the website that is selling them in the most inappropriate way. Instead of explaining the background and history of the shirts, the website simply says, “This flowy, lightweight tee is a great casual addition to any gal’s wardrobe. The soft, slightly sheer material makes for a cute, relaxed look. It’s a great, versatile item and goes perfectly with jeans, skirts, capris or shorts.” We didn’t realize that eating disorders were casual and cute.
In an age where teenagers and young women are more concerned about their body image, is it appropriate to call this t-shirt cute and casual? We understand that if the designer wanted to make a statement, perhaps sell it exclusively on the designer site so no confusion occurs. Regardless, people are not taking to this effort and seeing the negative sides to the t-shirts. Some comments on the petition include:
[pull_quote_center]”I struggled with an eating disorder for many years when I was younger and I know that it was this sort of thing that pushed me to want to be skinnier.”[/pull_quote_center]
[pull_quote_center]”Eating disorders are not a fashion statement. They are serious illnesses that and have no place being made out to be wonderful on a shirt.”[/pull_quote_center]
In response to the petition, Spreadshirt has answered saying:
“Spreadshirt is a platform that enables people to publish their ideas on clothing and accessories. We are very proud of the fact we allow artists, designers, campaigns and many different people to express their ideas on merchandising. None of the items published reflect or represent the views of Spreadshirt, nor should the views of Spreadshirt and its employees be used to govern what sellers place for sale”
Whether their intentions are good or not, the shirts do not give a good first impression. Perhaps the statement behind the shirts need to be more clear rather than just bundled in with the rest of the merchandise.
What do you think about this controversy? Should the website take it down or keep it up?
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