In a recent article in Newsweek, mother Rasika Boice opened up about the struggles of finding a size for her young daughter, only to see the words ‘Plus’ and ‘Slim’ in the girls categories on Old Navy’s website. She went on to say, “I couldn’t believe it. The risk of these labels to damage a young person’s body image seemed so obvious. How could a major brand be that careless?”
And while she may have been surprised, this is really only another error on the long list of retailers treating women, and even young women as categories and not real people. It’s incredibly disheartening to know that a mother already has to put her own flesh and blood in that kind of category when doing something as leisurely as shopping, but that’s the reality that society has set before us. And while there are a lot of brands out there that use numbers instead of words like ‘plus’, ‘slim’, ‘plus size’, the few that are out there are incredibly dangerous to a young girl’s mental health and body image at such a crucial age.
Boice ends by saying, “I reached out to Old Navy’s customer service department to request they cease using these labels. That was more than a month ago, and I haven’t heard anything since. I believe there is no ill intent behind their use of “Plus” and “Slim.” But I think they have failed to see a major danger in using those terms—and “Husky” and “Slim” for boys as well.My concern should be their concern and the concern of every brand that uses these ostracizing labels for young children who deserve better.” And if you’re interested in her petition, she’s called upon Gap, JCPenney, Aeropostale, Land’s End and more to stop using plus labels for young girls.