A college student recently posted about an upsetting experience she had while shopping at a mall — all because she was outfit-shamed.
Demetriana Miles, a 20-year-old college student, says she was asked to leave the Arden Fair Mall in Sacramento, Calif., on July 1 after a security guard claimed that her bra was showing. She recounted the entire incident in a Facebook post that has since gone viral.
“Today I wore this outfit to Arden Fair Mall,” Miles wrote in her post, also featuring a picture of the “dress-code breaking” outfit in question. “A white female security guard saw me and noticed my bra was showing. Instead of letting me know so I could pull my shirt down, she asked a scooter security guard to tell me it was against dress code and change.”
She continued: “I pulled my shirt down and he said it wasn’t enough. I told him I would fix it, and me and my family walked away. I wandered around the mall and saw a COUNTLESS amount of little skinny girls with next to NO clothes on, so much worse than me. The man approaches me AGAIN and asks if I found a shirt. As he says that two (white) girls walk past with tight little half shirts on & shorts.”
She wrote that at this point her mother sprang into action to defend her. “My mom points them out — because why on EARTH are you constantly harassing me — and he says ‘They have on more clothes than you.’ WHAT,” she wrote in the post. “Then he calls the police, the lady that initially seen me, and I asked why she didn’t just tell me AS A WOMAN, ‘Hey honey you’re bra is showing,’ it could have been that simple.”
The situation was escalating, and Miles felt that security was failing to notice other women walking around with skin showing. “My mom asked me to stop talking because I was upset, and I wasn’t speaking respectfully. The two skinny, white girls walk past AGAIN, and my mom points it out to the female police officer. She completely disregards it,” she wrote.
She explained that her mother continued to argue her case — but to no avail. “My mom, god bless her heart, defended me till her face was red and tears welled up in her eyes. I was escorted out the mall for my outfit. For my skin color. For my body type. Never have I EVER been so humiliated in my life. Needless to say, my mom is amazing.”
A representative for the Arden Fair Mall issued the following statement on the matter to Yahoo Style:
“The intent of Arden Fair’s Code of Conduct is to make Arden Fair a safe and family-centered mall for community members of all ages to enjoy respectfully. It is not our intent to regulate the fashion choices of guests. Arden Fair management had the opportunity to have a conversation with Demetriana. We appreciate her willingness to discuss this event with us. Arden Fair is and will continue to review and adjust our policies to ensure all guests have a positive experience when visiting our center.”
While the incident was distressing for both Miles and her mother, she has since resolved the matter with Arden Fair. She shares that manager of the mall was incredibly cooperative with her after the incident, and she doesn’t blame him for security’s actions.
“I spoke to the manager of the mall, and I had a very positive experience with him,” she tells Yahoo Style. “He apologized and admitted fault and said that they would work on their policies. It was a very positive experience, which I didn’t expect it to be, so I was very pleasantly surprised.”
Before that, though, Miles tweeted about the incident, writing, “That was hands down the worst experience of my life and my mother’s heart is SO broken.”
that was hands down the worst experience of my life and my mothers heart is SO broken
— DJMM✨ (@nanaaugh) July 2, 2017
And after posting about the incident on Facebook, she received a tremendous amount of support.
i can not keep up with my facebook messages it's so remarkable. I never expected to be getting so much love and support but it's amazing.
— DJMM✨ (@nanaaugh) July 3, 2017
She posted a select few touching messages on her Twitter account.
i'm receiving so much support it's AMAZING pic.twitter.com/P4s3JQaAMi
— DJMM✨ (@nanaaugh) July 3, 2017
Miles tells Yahoo Style that the photo featured in her Facebook post was taken after being reprimanded by security. She shared a photo she took before visiting the mall to prove that her bra was covered upon initially entering the mall.
“It gets hard to constantly defend yourself or tell your story or explain the little details — like why my shirt look stretched out after,” she noted in a Facebook response to commenters. “Well because I walked around, stretched it out to make sure I was covering even though I initially was.”
The mall’s dress code describes improper attire as “failing to be fully clothed (including wearing pants in a manner that exposes undergarments or skin to view).”
She says she is incredibly grateful for the support she received online. But for those suggesting she should sue? Miles has different priorities: her academics.
“Sorry to disappoint if you were all hoping i would sue or something, but Hampton University is awaiting my return for the 3rd year — and I’d rather not be tied up in a lawsuit! Thank you all for your support,” she posted in a comment on Facebook.
She says that her main priority is the mall’s reevaluation of its code. “I wasn’t interested in money,” she explains. “I really just wanted them to really look at their policies and make sure that colleagues and your staff have a clear understanding of what the purpose is in enforcing the dress code.”
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