Plates and a glass with markings noting portion sizes, labeled with body-shaming messages.

Macy’s Pulled a Line of Body-Shaming Plates After Being Called Out on Twitter

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Over the weekend, writer/actor/podcaster Alie Ward tweeted out an image of a plate set apparently sold at Macy’s. Tagging the company, she wrote, “How can I get these plates from @Macys banned in all 50 states”. The plates featured concentric circles with cutesy body-shaming portion labels like skinny jeans/favorite jeans/mom jeans.

The replies to that tweet are filled with people telling her it’s just a joke, or that she has the option to not buy them—two things that are both obvious and not at all the point. This isn’t about one woman’s aesthetic, it’s about the pervasiveness of body-shaming and calling out companies trying to profit off of it.

The plates come from a company called Pourtions and their “mom jeans” plate is only the tip of this iceberg.

Bowls with portion markings reading al dente/al donte and spaghetti/get thet to the spa.

Wine glass with markings reading "on the lips" for a small portion and "on the hips" for a larger pour.

Plates with portion markings reading NP/GR8/WTF?, medium/well done, and fish/foul.

It’s not surprising to see things like this for sale. Attacking women’s self-esteem is a highly effective (and lucrative) marketing tactic. What is surprising is that Macy’s agreed with Ward and acted quickly, promising to remove the line from stores.

Some people will look at these plates and other items and see nothing wrong—just a cute way to eat healthy. But the shaming happening here is antithetical to real health. (Health also goes beyond waistlines, which the company’s mission statement says “are exploding like the national debt.”)

It is possible to encourage portion control without reinforcing the message that eating is a shameful act, without telling someone that their eating habits make them “foul.” Messages like that are insidious and have a way of devastating our self-image, especially when we are surrounded by different variations on that same theme, which we most definitely are.

So good on Macy’s for acting so fast and recognizing their error. It would have been great if they never chose to sell the line in the first place, but hopefully, this was a lesson learned for them and any other giant corporations paying attention.

(via Washington Post, images:

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.