“A big fat bank account and a slim body”

November 20th, 2014



“Dear Santa,


This year, please give me a big fat bank account and a slim body. Please don’t mix those two up like you did last year. Thanks.”


That’s my Christmas wish. Hold on – just kidding.


Before you rip apart this paper piece by piece in utter horror at the fact that your very own Higl’s Squiggles would wish for such things, please know that those are not my words.


This wish was printed on a festive red and white sign displayed in the little girls’ department at a Dillard’s store in Florida this month.


Of course, Dillard’s claimed the sign wasn’t supposed to be in the little girls’ department. Woops.


But then again, I doubt someone from the public relations team at Dillard’s would publish a statement saying, “Oh yes, the sign was strategically placed among mannequins sporting frilly little girls’ dresses so all the little girls would walk by and say, ‘Mommy, what does that sign say,’ and then cry upon their mother telling them what the sign read. Then, the little girls would grow up, conform to society and buy size zero dresses, crash diet in order to fit into those size zeros, marry rich to some successful businessman who likes size zero women and live happily ever after. Thanks, Santa. The end.”


Yes, that’s the image boost Dillard’s was looking for, don’t you think?


Merry Christmas, members of American society.


Okay, I realize the makers of this sign probably wrote this in a humorous light. While I appreciate humor, there’s a fine line between reading a laughable play on words and something that makes you sick to your stomach.


A college female interviewed by a local news outlet in West Palm Beach, Florida who saw the sign, said, “It makes me think I should be very, very focused on how I look, and I should want to be thinner than I am, and want to have more money than I do.”


But can one sign really spark such strong feelings of self-hate?


You may say these are only words. You may say that America’s overall outlook on body image is improving.


But let’s look at the numbers. According to the National Eating Disorder Association last January, 20 million women and 10 million men battle what is considered a “clinically significant eating disorder.” New cases and types of eating disorders have surfaced within the last decade. The average winner of Miss America is 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs in at 121 pounds.


Interestingly enough, while Dillard’s took the heat about its poor judgment call, the Calvin Klein controversy took flight all within the same week.


Calvin Klein released their “Perfectly Fit” ad campaign, featuring size 10 model Myla Dalbesio. However, consumers became outraged at Calvin Klein for launching the advertisement, saying that Delbasio is hardly plus-sized.


However, I believe Calvin Klein shouldn’t have received as much heat as it did. In fact, Calvin Klein never even referred to her as “plus-size.” I can understand this is a sensitive issue. I can understand people were shocked. Yet, this is a step in the right direction.


I’m glad they launched this campaign. You know why? Women everywhere – models, fashion gurus and the average American are taking part in a dialogue.


Throughout the fashion industry as a whole, sizes that should be considered healthy and normal, are considered “plus-size” for models. However, in some cases, models wearing sizes 6 and 8 have been classified as “plus-sized.” This fact is shocking, considering that plus-sizes in the “normal world” generally begin at size 18.


More and more women have been speaking out – and their voices are being heard.


This should give women hope. The first step to solving a problem is to create awareness. Maybe one day, the fashion industry will do away with labels. Maybe one day, we won’t be as shocked when we see a size 10 model. And maybe one day, society will do away with its “big fat bank account and slim body” complex.


But it’s up to advertisers and the media, who are essentially the puppeteers of society, to make this change. The decision is theirs.