Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Thanks for Reminding Me that You're a Total Knob, New York Times

So the New York Times Cintra Wilson decided to do some real world shopping and check out JC Penny in one of those "getting back in touch with the people" kind of pieces called Playing to the Middle. Her criticism or observations about "down marketing" aren't all bad, though distinctly classist:

Since the 1970s, J. C. Penney, like a retail Island of Dr. Moreau, has been doing a sinister experiment with various designers, turning them into something ... not quite human. The plot is a fashion democratization known as “masstige,” which sounds gynecological, but is a marketing term created by a fusion of “mass” and “prestige.” It refers to a downward brand extension: designers compelled to put their good names on down-market lines of “affordable luxury.” (Read: items in cheaper materials, sold at lower prices.)

Target does it, JC Penny does it, Kmart does it, etc. And guess what, it works.

Here's where her classism is then compounded by fat-phobia and general distain for the majority of the population:

It took me a long time to find a size 2 among the racks. There are, however, abundant size 10’s, 12’s and 16’s. The dressing rooms are big, clean and well tended. I tried two fairly cute items: a modified domino-print swing dress with padded shoulders by American Living (a Ralph Lauren line created for Penney’s) and a long psychedelic muumuu of a style generally worn by Rachel Zoe. Each was around $80; each fit nicely and looked good. I didn’t buy either because I can do better for $80, but if I were a size 18, I’d have rejoiced.

AND herein lies the genius of J. C. Penney: It has made a point of providing clothing for people of all sizes (a strategy, company officials have said, to snatch business from nearby Macy’s). To this end, it has the most obese mannequins I have ever seen. They probably need special insulin-based epoxy injections just to make their limbs stay on. It’s like a headless wax museum devoted entirely to the cast of “Roseanne.”

OMG, fatties buy clothes--and potentially at the stores where real people, I mean, size 2 people buy clothes at this "down market" places. Fuck you Ms. Wilson, seriously. About 10% of the American population is underweight, and yes I'm saying that size 2 is underweight. Being underweight doesn't mean that you shouldn't receive goods and services, it does't mean that you should be denied medical care or the right to shop with dignity--oh, but guess what, being a size 18 doesn't mean that either. And certainly, size 12 manniquins, they don't make them over size 12 if those were the obese ones you were referring to because Lane Bryant employees have told me how difficult it is to pin their lowest size 14's on the 12's and make them look good. Those mannequins do not require insulin injects. Your fat-phobia and general body and class snarking does not serve you well, let alone your employer, the New York Times. This article is so out of touch its shocking--both on an economic level and in terms of body-image representation.

1 comment:

  1. In defense:
    I work near the new flagship JC Penny in NYC. It is the first in the city. JC Penny is a suburban thing like Target and Wal-mart to the native New Yorkers.

    Also this store is on the edge of the fashion district with sample sales abound to shop at during a lunch break. So in comparions to a samples sales size 2,4,6. Then the clothes in JC Penny would seem crazy big.

    But alas, even for a defense point Ms. Wilson is out of touch with America as a 50 state whole.