|If you look like this you must have lots of friends|
The news was full of weight-related stories last week. Governor Chris Christie had lap band surgery to lose weight despite telling Letterman he’s “the healthiest fat guy you’ve ever seen”. Also this week, Mike Jeffries the CEO of Abercrombie came under fire when he explained why their stores do not carry larger sizes.
Let’s start with Christie, the last time I wrote he told Barbara Walters it was “ridiculous” that people found him too fat to be president. Next thing you know, he has lap band surgery and in an effort to keep it secret even had the surgeon come to his office for the pre-surgery medical visits. The secret gets out and Christie says his motivation was that he wanted to be there for his kids. Oh and there just so happens to be a presidential race in 2016. This is a guy who had a doughnut on Letterman and mac and cheese during the soft foods post-op phase were these "for his kids" too?
And then there’s Mike Jeffries. I should really congratulate him. I have thought more about Abercrombie this week than ever before. There is an Abercrombie store close to where I get my hair blonded; I only know this because of the line of teenyboppers monopolizing the sidewalk. Perhaps, if I were cooler, I would get on that line. Their CEO told Salon magazine:
“We hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.”
In case you’re already nauseated it gets worse…
“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids.” Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”
Abercrombie only goes up to a women’s size 10, for men they have larger sizes to account for athletic, big guys so that’s fair, right? Aside from exclusionary this sounds silly in a country of larger people but this is definitely not the only clothing brand with their sizes capped. If you walk up and down 5th Avenue, where the store I mentioned is located, this is far from the only 12-less store. However, I’m still a little confused. How does being small indicate that you have “lots of friends”? Maybe they ask questions at the door, thus the line. Can you imagine a scale and a questionnaire to assess weight, friend volume and All-Americaness prior to entry?
|Bad plastic surgery seems to be "cool"|
We can’t get around it; most of us care about and notice size differences. When I compare these two examples, one really rubs me the wrong way and it’s the Christie situation that bothers me a lot more. For years he has said his weight is not an issue or doesn’t get in the way of him doing his job. With the possibility that he may run in 2016 it became an issue to the voting public. Christie sneaks around, gets surgery and when the fat cat is out of the bag he cites doing this for his children. How about saying you realized you needed to take action? Then again, I guess sneaky is more acceptable than 400 pounds when it comes to the White House. As far as Abercrombie, I can guarantee you that the line snaking out of their 5th Avenue store is just as large, despite the press, this week. Sadly, there are a lot of young people who want to be that cool kid. Though I can guarantee CEO Mike was never one of them, maybe that’s where some of this stems from.
Did you hear about these two stories? Which do you find more troublesome?