A photo of the controversial page in O the Oprah Magazine. (Photo: @tamaranitai/Instagram)
The resurgence of the crop top’s popularity has split fashionistas into two camps: those who wear them with abandon to music festivals with denim cutoffs, revealing their entire torsos, and on the other side the more sophisticated way to style the mini-shirt, baring just a sliver of midriff, a flattering strip of skin on just about anyone. It can be and has been worn by the young (step onto any school grounds without a dress code and see nearly every student in one), the older (Monica Lewinsky and Amal Clooney are fans), and the pregnant (hello, Kim Kardashian!). Despite its skimpiness, it’s shockingly universal. Yet, according to O the Oprah Magazine, only women with toned tummies can pull it off.
In a section of the publication, a reader asked, “Can I pull off a crop top?” While the answer, according to so many who have tried it before, should’ve been a resounding yes, the magazine disagreed and wrote, “If (and only if!) you have a flat stomach, feel free to try one. For more coverage, layer the top over a longer shirt as shown in look two.”
Tamar Anitai, a content strategist and fashion blogger, took a photo of the page and shared it on her Instagram. “Surprised to see this level of body shaming in Oprah magazine,” she wrote in the caption. She noted that the piece appeared alongside a feature about women feeling healthy, which is ironic considering part of that involves self-esteem and having a positive body image. “Stop telling women what they CAN’T wear. We can wear and do and be ANYTHING that makes us feel strong, powerful, passionate and in charge of our own destinies.” She continued, “I hope young women and women of any age don’t feel like they’re restricted by editorially imposed fashion ‘rules.’ The only rules are there are no rules. Wear what you love, what makes you feel confident, and own it.”
Anitai’s post was then noticed by Sarah Conley, a plus-size fashion expert, who called on her followers to not let the magazine dictate what they can and cannot wear and to share images of themselves on social media wearing a crop top and tagged with the hashtag #rockthecrop. “The minute I’m explicitly told not to do something, I REALLLLY need to do it,” @kiddotrue tweeted with a photo of herself wearing the style. Amanda Allison added, “Dear @oprahmagazine, my stomach is far from flat & I’m wearing a crop top! And it’s see-through, oh my!” Kathryn Mallow, wearing a black and white striped midi-skirt with a black crop top, said she’s not ashamed of her body and has no reason to be.
The fact that this type of language came from a brand led by Oprah, a woman who’s been body-shamed throughout her career for her fluctuating weight, is especially disconcerting. That’s in addition to the body-positive movement, led by Tess Holliday’s #effyourbeautystandards, the rise of the fatkini, models such as Ashley Graham and Denise Bidot speaking out, and celebrities including Melissa McCarthy and Rebel Wilson making a difference.
Yet the magazine understands its mistake. “We support, encourage and empower all women to look great, feel confident and live their best lives — in this case, we could have expressed it better,” a spokesperson for the magazine said in a statement to Yahoo Style. “We appreciate the feedback and will be more mindful going forward.”
Noted. In the meantime, continue to rock the crop.
More from Yahoo Style:
This Plus-Size Documentary Will Change the World
How Shopping With Plus-Size Model Denise Bidot Made Me Face My Own Body Issues
Meet Revée Lamar: The Face of Full Figured Fashion Week