When Abbie Walsh-Greenfield visited Victoria’s Secret in Cardiff, Wales this week, the last thing she was expecting was to get body-shamed. But Walsh-Greenfield, who says she’s never been in a Victoria’s Secret before or even visited the brand’s website, had such a bad experience with one store employee that she went home and wrote an open letter on her blog. The employee asked her, “Hi.. Are you aware of the sizing in this store?”
The nasty comment affected Walsh-Greenfield. Her first response was to internalize the criticism: “And I shuffled away, with my tail between my legs. I didn’t even want to hold the shorts anymore.” She’s even kind enough to let the employee off the hook, noting that “I understand, working in retail myself, that things can be difficult.” But she continues, “I don’t actually know what the sales assistant meant by her comment, but surely there’s no two ways about it.”
But in sharing the letter, Walsh-Greenfield hopes the store will take body-shaming more seriously. “Who knows what could have happened if this passing comment from her, had been said to someone with extremely low self-esteem, someone who couldn’t handle it?” she writes.
She also notes that not only did the store seem to be lacking a single extra-large size, they instead had an abundance of smalls and extra smalls.
“I didn’t feel uncomfortable by the lack of XL’s (I actually don’t believe that I saw one in that size, anyway), nor by the 5 X-Smalls, 4 Smalls, 2 Medium, 1 Large and 0 X-Large ratio that seemed to be a common theme on the rails around the store,” she continues. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that the company who created the modelesque, wavy-haired, B-cupped “Angels” isn’t at the forefront of size diversity, but that doesn’t mean we can’t begin to hold them accountable.
Victoria’s Secret employees have gotten in trouble with the law for bad behavior in the past. Last year, two African-American women sued for $4 million each in damages after an alleged incident of racial profiling. Shaunda McDaniel and Tammi Robinson were kicked out of the store after a physical altercation involving a woman who “appeared to be white,” while the white woman was allowed to continue shopping.
Victoria’s Secret has responded to Walsh-Greenfield’s letter in a statement, via New York Daily News: “Victoria’s Secret expects that all customers be treated with respect. We are reaching out to the customer and will take the appropriate actions as we’re committed to ensuring that everyone feels welcome in our stores.”
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