A lot of people are up in arms about the comments made by Mike Jefferies this week. This far from attractive man who runs Ambercrombie and Bitch, oops, I mean Fitch, has done exactly what he set out to do: draw attention to his company. And it has opened the door for a lot of comments and blog posts. So, of course, I have to jump on the bandwagon.
I was never the cool kid in high school. I didn't get invited to the cool kid's parties or the weekends away at people's homes in Wisconsin. I wasn't a cheerleader, the best actress, the best singer, or any type of athlete. I was over-weight, kind of a dork, loudly obnoxious. I was stereo-typed right from the start of freshman year when, at that time, I weighed about 180 pounds (scary that I remember that, but I was in the "fat kids" gym class and was forced into weekly weigh-ins, so that kinda sticks around in the back of your head). But I did not totally despair. I got overly involved in all aspects of high school life that I could. I was a crew member (as in theatre, not the boat), Snowball/Snowflake leader, Editor of the foreign language magazine, speech team, and swim-timer. I got a job my sophomore year and prided myself on being able to go to school, work, and still have time for the extras. I made myself comfortable. I fit in where I could. I had a great bunch of close friends (HF, LW, and MB, you know who you are). And, for the most part, I was content.
Flash-forward about 18 years (OMG, class of 1995, we are getting so old!) to me reading a comment like Mr. Jefferies'. And my heart broke. I was not personally offended; I am long over shit like stupid people making fun of overweight people. But my heart broke for all those girls who are in high school right now, already feeling inferior, and having this message drilled into their heads. I feel for them because I remember what it was like to try and find clothes that didn't make me look like an old lady when all my friends were shopping at "cool" stores and looking good. I remember the horror of school dances and looking for a dress that wasn't as big as a house (let alone waiting around for some guy to ask me to go, which never ever happened). I remember all the negativity around weight and the stereo-types that went with it. And it sucked.
I get that Mr. Jefferies is just trying to get publicity for his company (and perhaps grow his ego a bit). And I am not faulting him for that. I think that if I was to be CEO of a company, I would want to get my name out there, too. But I don't think that I would have done it this way. I don't think that anyone has a right to raise themselves up at the expense of another group of people. I don't think it's right to take power that has been earned and use it to belittle others, and, essentially, tell others that they are not as good as the rest of the world. I think it was poor form. And I hope his mom is ashamed of him.
I really liked this blog about the issues as well... READ ME!