The Twitterverse exploded with nasty comments when Gap tweeted a photo of a model wearing a plaid shirt dress. “Doesn’t the Gap feed it’s (sic) models? Seriously she looks ill. Please use healthy looking women in your ads next time,” and “Seriously, @Gap? In what world do people look like this? Perhaps you could select models who represent regular gals & not a skeletor ghost.” Ouch.
— Gap (@Gap) August 4, 2014
Words hurt. And you’d better believe that young model heard every last one of them. Her husband took to Twitter to defend her against critics, saying the comments he was hearing about his wife were just as harmful and ego-deflating as telling an overweight person to get on a diet. “I’m sensitive to it b/c of a person close to me but telling a thin woman she needs to ‘eat a sandwich’ is awful. You’d never do the opposite,” he tweeted.
Gap responded in a neutral way, telling E! News that they could see how the photo might be construed negatively, and they’ve always aimed to “celebrate diversity” in their ad campaigns. The company should have defended this model because here’s the truth: Making a person feel bad about their body is never OK. Just like fat-shaming, skinny-shaming is painful.
I have never met a person who isn’t sensitive about their appearance in some capacity. For one person, it’s a crooked nose from a volleyball incident. For another, it’s so-called “cankles” inherited from Mom. And universally, it’s weight. At one point or another, nearly everyone comes to loathe the number on the scale. It seems we always want what we don’t have. And what’s worse than hearing your own internal critic complain about your weight? A chorus of friends, family or total strangers chiming in.
Because a person is thin doesn’t necessarily mean she has an eating disorder. And even if she does, making harsh weight-related remarks isn’t going to solve her “problem.”