Though a majority of Americans are now overweight and are predicted to get larger in the coming years, those who are overweight still have to contend with body image issues on a daily basis. While the magazine section at the grocery store is well-known to be a place where body issues will be confronted, a department store is generally not expected to criticize people’s weight.
This week, one Target shopper stumbled onto what seemed to be a tacit criticism of overweight people. Susan Clemens was shopping on Target’s website when she noticed that the color for a plus-size dress was listed as “Manatee Gray.” She checked the non-plus-size version of the dress and found that the same color was listed as “Heather Gray.”
Clemens tweeted her findings and, as these things tend to do on the internet, it began to spread. The comment sparked debate over whether the garment industry disapproves of overweight people, while also fueling a debate about how women are portrayed in media.
Within a day Target responded to Clemens, telling her they had a team looking into the matter. The store later told Forbes that “Manatee Gray” is a color used for many different products, and that in this particular case the people responsible for creating the listings had not communicated properly. Though the proper color for both sizes of the dress is “Manatee Gray,” the color is now listed as simply “Gray.”
Target has issued a direct apology to Clemens via Twitter:
@suZen We apologize for this unintentional oversight & never intend to offend our guests. We’ve heard you, and we’re working to fix it ASAP.