Baby Onesie Message Stirs Controversy: 'I Hate My Thighs'

Elise Solé
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Online gift company Wry Baby and Ms. magazine debate over “I hate my thighs” and “Love me for my leg rolls” onesies. Photo by Facebook/Wry Baby

It’s never too early to encourage body shaming, right? That must be why an online gift company called Wry Baby is selling onesies that read, “I hate my thighs” and “Love me for my leg rolls.”

Wry Baby — get it? While the messages are undoubtedly tongue-in-cheek, they also carry heavy messages about beauty standards and body shaming. The sale of the clothing has sparked backlash from Ms. magazine, the 43-year-old feminist publication co-founded by Gloria Steinem, and ignited a heated exchange between the two companies.

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On Tuesday, Michele Kort, a writer for the magazine, penned an article about the onesies that read, in part, “And we feminists do have a sense of humor. But really, there’s something icky about projecting fat awareness on babies. It’s not the babies who will be forced to become aware of their avoirdupois — it’s grownups who will be reminded that wider-than-sticks thighs are something hateable rather than loveable. (And, in fact, babies’ delightfully chunky thighs are some of the most lovable things in the world!).”

In response, Wry Baby left this comment on the Ms. website:  

Dear Ms. Magazine,

We couldn’t agree more about body image. That’s why we made an ironic joke about it. Obviously no baby would or should hate their thighs!

It’s interesting that our “positive” version from 2014 never made your “We Heart” list, or found its way into the shopping carts of your reader base. But we’re glad you’re able to froth up your readers this week and shine a light on what is apparently a vital mission of MS. Magazine — reviewing baby clothes.

So Michele Kort, Wry Baby accepts your challenge! We’ve pulled our “Love Me For My Legrolls” Snapsuit out of retirement and placed it toe-to-toe with our “I Hate My Thighs” Snapsuit, so that your readers can have the chance to vote whether sweetness or irony wins. The style that sells the most units by midnight on Sunday, March 15th, will be the one we keep. ALL PROCEEDS from both styles during this challenge will be donated to the Ms. Foundation for Women

The company also posted the challenge on its website

Kort responded on the site: “Please make the donation to Ms. magazine, Wry Baby. The Ms. Foundation for Women is an entirely separate organization. (Oh, and sorry that we don’t see much difference between I Hate My Thighs and Love Me For My Legrolls; the subtext of the latter is that someone would NOT be loved for her legrolls. But of course we’re making too much of this, right?)”

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The onesies have also triggered reaction on Twitter. @SweetPhedre wrote, “Attempt at being funny or not, I don’t think we should dress kids in anything that makes anyone question their body.” Noted @Scarletpout: “This makes me even sadder because chubby baby thighs are the cutest things ever. WHY DOES THIS EXIST.” Others have used the hashtag #NotBuyingIt.” On WryBaby’s Facebook page, commenters called the onesies “Sickening” “Repugnant” and “Disgusting.”

Eating and body image disorders are rampant — by the age of 6, girls start becoming concerned about their weight or body shape and 40 to 60 percent of girls in grades 6 to 12 are worried about their weight, according to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)

Neither Ms. magazine or Wry Baby returned Yahoo Parenting’s requests for comment, but according to Claire Mysko, director of programs at NEDA, the onesies might evoke awareness about the prevalence of eating disorders. “If you take the message on the onesies at face value, it’s disturbing, because we know that poor body image is a huge problem among children and constant reinforcement of the thin ideal does impact eating disorder rates,” she tells Yahoo Parenting. “However, since the messages are clearly aimed toward adults (not babies), they may bring attention to how obsessive society has become about beauty ideals. If that’s the company’s intent, it could make an impact.” 

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