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So many of us enjoy some good online shopping, especially at our favorite store's sites. But just imagine after spending your hard-earned cash and scoring some pieces only to receive your new goodies accompanied by something additional that reflected the brand's judgment on your body.
That is what happened when Ganiella Garcia, who often shops at Forever 21, received an online order this week. Along with two dresses, two skirts, and a cami, all from Forever 21's plus-size section, she received an unwanted, unappreciated, judgey addition.
"I opened the bag and took the clothes out. Everything was fine. And then when I was trying things on, at the bottom there was a card and there was an Atkins bar in a little bag," Ganiella said in a recent interview.
"It was very insulting, and honestly I like shopping at Forever 21—but I don’t feel comfortable buying clothes from a company that thinks I shouldn’t be the size that I am."
Ganiella was willing to shrug off the Atkins' Bar addition as a random, but poorly placed, occurrence. But she could not shake the feeling that it was not, heading to Twitter to see if anyone else had received an Atkins bar in their orders. Turns out, she wasn't alone. Alarmingly, Ganiella found dozens of others who placed orders with Forever 21 and tweeted how the freebie felt like body shaming.
"It's upsetting, and I feel like a lot of people are disappointed in them as a fashion outlet that they rely on," said Ganiella. "They should acknowledge that what they did was wrong."
Well, what did Forever 21 have to say for themselves after this pretty public gaff?
A representative said, "From time to time, Forever 21 surprises our customers with free test products from third parties in their e-commerce orders. The freebie items in question were included in all online orders, across all sizes and categories, for a limited time and have since been removed," the company told BuzzFeed News. "This was an oversight on our part and we sincerely apologize for any offense this may have caused to our customers, as this was not our intention in any way."
I honestly thought that a progressive brand like Forever 21 would be above this. I am a plus-size woman, and I have purchased so many of my favorite pieces from Forever 21 Plus. As a consumer and as a body-positivity advocate, news like this certainly gives me major pause.
What is worse is the sheer lack of publicity this story is getting. Outside of social media-driven sites, there was very little said on this story. The lack of reporting on this story shows the level of fatphobia that STILL exists in the fashion space, apparently even with progressive brands such as Forever 21. This story was largely shared across social media and is being ignored by larger outlets, surprisingly.
However you feel about Forever 21, we can all agree that they need to do better!