I recently found myself disembarking the Macy’s escalator and walking into the world of hip young adults. Once my ears adjusted to the blaring music of Miley Cyrus, my eyes had time to focus on the image standing right before me. Here it is.
Four anorexic-looking mannequins, all in “skinny” jeans, and in between them hung six cards, each with one of the following letters imprinted on it: S-K-I-N-N-Y.
Really, Macy’s!?! Really? This is getting kind of old already. I have become accustomed to the waif-thin mannequins sporting bodies that the majority of human beings cannot attain without the help of anorexia. But to focus your display on the word “skinny” is taking the assault on women’s image to a new level.
I know, I get it: Skinny jeans, hence the S-K-I-N-N-Y. I get it. But with the addition of the word “skinny” to the size 2 mannequins, they are communicating to the “non-skinnies” that these pants are not for them. Mainstream advertising is once again reminding the world that to be skinny is glamorous and should be what everyone strives for.
What really infuriated me about this display was the effect it might have on the hundreds of girls who have walked and will walk past the display. Girls who have not been supplied with a proper self-esteem and/or the tools to refuse this image. It made me think of what I would have done if I had a teenage daughter with me at the time. My initial thought was that I would have turned around and left immediately, so that she would never have to experience the image. But wouldn’t it be better if I, in fact, pointed out the display and discussed it? Absolutely.
I encourage anyone who reads this to try and do the same. If you are ever in the company of a young girl — a cousin, niece, sister or daughter — communicate about the images of women around you. Only then, by spreading the idea that these images are unacceptable, can we finally begin to bring some change to advertising.
I will never be S-K-I-N-N-Y. I will always want, in the famous words of Spinal Tap, to keep some “cushion for the pushin’.'” After all, I want the body of a woman, not that of a pre-pubescent boy.
This display was in the young women’s section of the Macy’s at the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance, CA. Stop on by and tell a manager what you think, write a letter, or pick up the phone and give a call.
Macy’s Del Amo Fashion Center
21600 Hawthorne Blvd.
Torrance, CA 90503