Is the term 'skinny' outdated?

Bethenny Frankel launches a new fashion line, Skinnygirl Jeans. (Photo: Getty Images)
Bethenny Frankel launches a new fashion line, Skinnygirl Jeans. (Photo: Getty Images)

Publications across the country are banning words like “flattering,” “skinny,” and “thin.” So why is Bethenny Frankel still using them?

The mogul behind the supersuccessful brand Skinnygirl is known for her slim figure, and her ability to monetize it, as she’s created a number of food, drink, and shapewear products for an American market thriving to be skinny. But she threw consumers for a loop when she announced on Tuesday a new venture that goes by the name of Skinnygirl Jeans.

Frankel at the launch for Skinnygirl Jeans. (Photo: Getty Images)
Frankel at the launch for Skinnygirl Jeans. (Photo: Getty Images)

Although the line being made in collaboration with One Jeanswear Group is said to be size-inclusive, the name alone is turning people away. Chastity Garner, co-founder of theCURVYcon, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that while the word “skinny” is not necessarily a trigger for her, the word in this context is controversial.

“To me, [Skinnygirl] is a name that means you are trying to look, feel, or achieve being skinny,” she says. “America doesn’t have a good relationship with the word ‘skinny,’ so I think it can be hazardous to women, but especially young girls.”

For The Real Housewives of New York star, young girls have never been a part of Frankel’s market, as she built her brand off her creation of a low-calorie cocktail. But heading into the realm of clothing — especially jeans — women of all ages, and sizes, are now a consideration.

According to InStyle‘s report of the news, Frankel has her own interpretation of the ethos of the brand, which she says has more to do with a feeling of empowerment than a specific look. Yet retail and trend analyst Charcy Evers says that to her, and most likely the typical consumer, it’s very much the opposite of what Frankel is trying to convey.

“The fact that those two words are together — ‘skinny,’ ‘girl’ — is saying one type of girl and that’s it,” Evers explains. “It’s so not part of our current zeitgeist, when we’re all talking about being all-inclusive in terms of gender, in terms of race, in terms of size, in terms of everything. For her to use ‘skinny’ when it comes to jeans, I just don’t see it as sustainable, and I don’t see it as something that people are going to gravitate towards and necessarily embrace.”

Evers herself acknowledges the current success of Frankel’s brand and the inevitable fact that it will likely continue to be successful. But she points out that the association between the words “skinny” and “girl” and a piece of clothing allows the word to describe a person rather than a fit, which is where the problem lies.

“When the connotation was more so about a drink being less caloric, it made sense and it wasn’t offensive,” Evers continues. “Now, given that it has to with clothing and they’re trying to make it all-inclusive, I think they might get a bit of backlash.”

A post shared by Bethenny Frankel (@bethennyfrankel) on Jan 10, 2018 at 8:31am PST

From Garner, this backlash comes in the form of disinterest in Frankel’s brand or any attempt to contribute to its success. And for plus-size blogger and influencer Natalie Hage, it’s a statement expressing the offense that many feel over Frankel’s attempt to enter the plus-size market in the first place.

“Frankly, I don’t think she belongs anywhere in the realm of plus fashion,” Hage tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “She has made her career in creating products that promote thin bodies. Just because the plus-size market is booming with opportunity doesn’t mean anyone and everyone should take advantage, especially those who haven’t given any sort of care to plus-size bodies before.”

But for Gabby Fé, a plus-size model who’s already been rocking a pair of the line’s red leather bottoms, she’s just happy that a slim-fit jean is being offered to curvy girls at all.

A post shared by Gabby Fé (@gabtheguru) on Jan 10, 2018 at 8:59am PST

“When I first heard of the brand Skinnygirl Jeans, I instantly thought of skinny jeans, and I don’t know a curvy girl who doesn’t love skinny jeans — we look great in them!” Fé says. “Sometimes brands try to do ‘plus,’ but they don’t understand how to dress curves, so the fit might be off. But this is not the case with Skinnygirl Jeans.”

Regardless of how the brand’s name is interpreted by various people, however, Evers doubts that today’s climate will allow for much love for Skinnygirl Jeans.

“Frankel represents a period of time that is so in the past, when it’s all about what you look like and what you’re wearing and everything else,” Evers explains. “That’s just not what people are into right now. It doesn’t speak to anyone — certainly not to a new generation, for sure.”

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