Not OK: Department store sign asks Santa for a skinny body

Even though Halloween JUST happened, and Thanksgiving isn’t even for a few more weeks, Christmas decorations are already up. And you know what? That’s fine. We can handle a few extra weeks of wreaths and mistletoe and twinkling lights every which way we turn. What we can’t handle are Christmas decorations that are both sexist and body-shaming, not only can we NOT handle those decorations early, we actually can’t handle them EVER.

Unfortunately, the department store Dillard’s didn’t get the memo. Recently, in a South Florida location, a “letter to Santa” was posted as a Christmas decoration that said the following:

Dear Santa, this year please give me a big fat bank account and a slim body. Please don’t mix those two up like you did last year. Thanks.

So that’s bad. Objectively bad. Are you ready for this all to get a little bit worse? Instead of being in the home merchandise section with similar merchandise, this sign was placed in the girls’ section.

Because, yes this is exactly what we want to be teaching all these little women in training, that rich and skinny are the priorities, these things should be at the tippy-top of one’s wish list, that’s an A+ strategy for raising girls up to be awesome people who are going to make this world a better place.

When Facebook user Julie Khanna saw the sign, she took a picture and posted it to social media with the accompanying message “This is NOT the message we should be sending to our girls!” She later added that the sign looked “intentionally placed” and wrote “My intentions were for it to be shared enough times that Dillard’s would get the message that there are many people that wouldn’t want their children seeing things like that, and even better, maybe other retailers would think twice.”

Dillard’s has responded to their mistake by removing the sign from its stores. But it’s kind of too late. The backlash took off on social media and since this story broke, Dillard’s stock price has dropped by nearly six percent.

We no longer live in a world where this kind of behavior is just swallowed and accepted. Social media has proved to be a force for good, mobilizing people to take companies to task for poor behavior. And just as we’re seeing that body-positive marketing can boost a business (like in the case with Aerie) we’re now seeing that body-shaming and female-stereotyping can hurt a business, like here in the case of Dillard’s. This was a lame move on the part of this department store, and with hope, other stores will take note and be better to their female customers.

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