Macy's forced to pull 'fat-shaming' dinner plates after complaints

Macy's forced to pull 'fat-shaming' dinner plates after complaints

Famed American department store Macy’s has become embroiled in a body shaming controversy, after it pulled a range of controversial plates from its shelves.

The business have been forced to reconsider their partnership with dinnerware brand, Pourtions, after social media users began heavily criticising some of the slogans seen on their crockery. The result has been a dramatic U-turn, and intense discussion over the prevalence of fat-shaming in the industry.

The controversy erupted after writer and podcaster Alie Ward posted a photo of several Pourtions plates to her Twitter following.

The plates in question featured separate concentric rings, each labelled with a different slogan. The smaller rings bore phrases such as “foodie” and “skinny jeans”, while the larger were inscribed with “food coma” and “mom jeans”. Upset at the insinuation that people should seemingly be guilt-tripped into what they eat, Ward accompanied the photos with the caption, "How can I get these plates from @Macys banned in all 50 states?"

The response was fairly instantaneous. At the time of writing, Ward’s photo has been retweeted almost 6,000 times, accompanied by a whopping 50,000 likes.

Replies seem to have been almost entirely in favour of Ward with one user writing, “This is a toxic message, promoting even greater women beauty standards and dangerous health habits.  These expectations can actually kill someone, and I know someone it has,” and another adding, “These labeled plates are AWFUL...This fuels eating disorders.” 

So intense was the scrutiny that, barely a day after Ward’s post, Macy’s responded directly. The department store were uncompromising, tweeting, “Hi, Alie — we appreciate you sharing this with us and agree that we missed the mark on this product. It will be removed from all STORES at Macy's locations.”

Their decision seems to have been met with a largely positive response. 

While there has been no official word from Pourtions addressing the controversy, their website provides some insight into their philosophy.

According to the “Why Pourtions?” section, the founders “came to believe (like many others) that portion size was also a main culprit (of obesity)… This initial inspiration led us to design a conceptual line of tableware that deftly mixes social awareness with a humorous nudge in the right direction (it’s, um, much funnier than it sounds ;) It truly suits the way we approach solutions — practical, irreverent & engaging [sic].”

Whatever their intentions may have been, it’s clear that the end result has been more divisive than they would have hoped.