Fierce

Women Are Dragging Forever 21 By Their Strappy Yellow Bags For Sending Atkins Diet Bars In Their Bags

Our society is obsessed with diet culture. Often times, the quest for the “perfect summer body” or the most ideal figure can be very damaging to people dealing with weight loss and eating disorders. Further pushing of diet culture makes people negatively reflect on their body image — something that is more likely to create eating and anxiety disorders than to lose weight.

Another example of this ongoing issue popped up recently on Twitter and people are calling it a fatphobic attack on plus-sized women and a dangerous marketing ploy.

In a now-deleted tweet, Forever 21 shopper, Ganiella Garcia, shared that there was an extra item in her recent order from the shop.

Twitter / @wisekatya

She found that the clothing store had added a bonus sample of an Atkins bar to her order. The bars are from the special Atkins lines of low-carbohydrate snacks meant to help one follow the fad Atkins diet.

Garcia was upset and shocked that Forever 21 thought it was a good idea to add these to orders that were going to a plus-sized woman. She told Buzzfeed News about the incident, saying:

“I opened the bag and took the clothes out. Everything was fine. And then when I was trying things on, at the bottom there was a card and there was an Atkins bar in a little bag. It was very insulting, and honestly, I like shopping at Forever 21 — but I don’t feel comfortable buying clothes from a company that thinks I shouldn’t be the size that I am.”

Garcia went to Twitter with her story and soon found that she wasn’t the only one to receive the unwanted diet bar.

Twitter / @jessemarisaelao

Many women came forward to share that they were also recipients of these Atkins diet bars. Most people who experienced this extra item ordered from Forever 21’s plus-sized catalog but some bars ended up in orders sent to straight-sized customers too. This Twitter user shared an image of an order her mother placed. Sure enough, the same lemon Atkins bar is present in her order as well.

This tweet pointed out the dangerous message that is presented by sending unsolicited diet bars to their costumers.

Twitter / @theverbalthing

Twitter user, Samantha Puc, suggested that despite what their sizes may be, sending these bars to unaware customers with eating disorders could cause harm. Something as innocuous as a bar suggesting that they should lose some weight can trigger a bulimic or anorexic episode in someone working to overcome their eating disorder.

She went on to say more about how the clothing industry capitalizes on diet culture:

“Plenty of clothing companies monetize disordered eating and fatphobia to sell products, but this is a new level, Forever 21. Assuming this is a brand partnership with Atkins, is the money worth endangering the lives of your customers?”

Queer and Latinx Fat Story Teller, @MerQueenJude, also posted a response on her Instagram admonishing the clothing company for buying into fatphobic and dangerous marketing ploys at the expense of their customers.

“It is so dangerous to body shame and suggest that someone eat less or go on a diet,” she explained on her Instagram post. “You don’t know their history with food. As someone recovering from an ED, this would’ve set me back so far.”

Another Twitter user echoed Puc’s concern about the potential Forever 21 and Atkins partnership.

Twitter / @bronze_bombSHEL

Twitter user Shelby Ivey Christie pointed out that if this was meant to be a tie-in between the clothing company and the diet brand, it was done in a sloppy and tasteless manner. As she pointed out, the presence of the bars in predominantly plus-sized orders seems discriminatory and is defiantly distasteful.

It didn’t take long for Forever 21 to issue a statement defending themselves and reversing their stance on the diet bars.

Twitter / @TracyClarkFlory

A rep for Forever 21 responded with an official statement regarding the accusations of its costumers:

“From time to time, Forever 21 surprises our customers with free test products from third parties in their e-commerce orders. The freebie items in question were included in all online orders, across all sizes and categories, for a limited time and have since been removed. This was an oversight on our part and we sincerely apologize for any offense this may have caused to our customers, as this was not our intention in any way.”

While we’re glad that the potentially dangerous freebies will not be found in any unsuspecting packages from now on, we hope that Forever 21 learns from this misstep. When it comes to diet information and products, they should never be sent out unsolicited. Making observations about another’s body can have majorly unintended repercussions. Nobody should speak in a potentially negative way about another’s appearance or health. Diet and weight are personal, private and — frankly — no one else’s business.

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