08 April 2013

Target Mix-Up Turned Friends Into Foes

If there’s one thing I know about plus-size ladies, it’s that any simile or metaphor regarding their size as compared to whales or other large sea creatures don’t fly.  Personally, I think being compared to big, mammalian animals is somewhat comical.  I know I shouldn’t because so many people find it offensive, and it’s not like I would ever call anyone a “manatee,” but I find manatees adorable and I would personally be a-ok if someone said I reminded them of one.

That being said, my thoughts on this seem to be the exception, not the rule.  The rule, I think, is: never tell a big girl (maybe any girl) that she looks like a sea creature.  Furthermore, never make any possible reference to sea creatures when talking about or advertising for plus-size women.

Target obviously didn’t get the memo.

Last week, Target made a totally innocent, unintentional mistake that caused fury through the plus-size blogosphere.  When Susan Clemens, a Twitter user and Target shopper discovered a big (no pun intended) difference between the naming of a dress for plus-size women as opposed to straight size ones, she took to tweeting.

“What the.  Plus sized women get ‘Manatee Grey’ while standard sizes are ‘Dark Heather Grey.”

My guess is no one at Target knew the wrath that would ensue by calling its plus-size version of a dress “manatee grey” as opposed to just grey.  But wrath they certainly did cause.

In all honesty, I don’t get it.  Tons of products on Target are called “manatee grey,” from house-wear to accessories to apparel in both plus and straight sizes.  If you ask me, the issue has been totally blown out of proportion.

Something to take into consideration is that these days, colors have funky names.  People have gotten tired of calling things "red" or "blue" so they've created names like "Tuscan sunset" or "Atlantic ocean mist."  Just recently I saw the color “elephant’s breath” to describe a creamy, pasty caramel shade.  I think this was on Etsy.  The color was for both headbands and clothing.  But no one is accusing anyone who names their products “elephant’s breath” to be saying that anyone who buys the products has the breath of an elephant.  If you think about it, how many people have actually smelled an elephant's breath -- or know about elephant's breathing to assign it a color?  So yeah, I don’t believe Target meant to say plus-size women are manatees.

Nonetheless, they’ve just issued a formal apology, stating, “ We apologize for any discomfort this might have caused and are working to update the name of the dress to reflect Dark Heather Gray.”

Target also apologized directly to Susan Clemens and its other thousands of followers, tweeting, “We apologize for this unintentional oversight & never intend to offend our guests. We’ve heard you, and we’re working to fix it ASAP.”

So, there you go.  At least they owned up to their “mistake.”  Even though it wasn’t really that big of a deal in the first place.

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