Customers say Forever 21 put diet bars in their orders, and Twitter is not happy

Over the past few years, the idea of body positivity has gained momentum, and there has been some real progress toward inclusion as a result. But for every company that expands its size offerings, there’s another that tacitly endorses the idea that only thin bodies are valid. Recently, Forever 21 customers took to Twitter in anger after they received Atkins diet bars in their orders.

Several Twitter users have shared pictures of single Atkins diet bars nestled among their online purchases. On its website, Atkins markets the products as meal replacement bars and touts them as part of a low-carb diet. And it was because of this that many customers—especially those who ordered plus-size clothing—found the inclusion offensive. Several also wondered if Forever 21 had put the bars in every order, or if it was a way of targeting those who ordered larger sizes.

One woman tagged the brand in a protected tweet to ask, “do you include weightloss Atkins bars in all your shipments or just in the ones for ladies over 1X?”

"What are you trying to tell me, Forever 21, I'm FAT, LOSE WEIGHT?" another woman tweeted. "do you give these to NON-PLUS-SIZE women as well?"

Others were similarly outraged by the diet bars.

To be clear, Forever 21 didn’t only include the bars in plus-size orders.

On Twitter, several users who ordered a size S or XS shared that they had received the bars, too.

In a statement to CNN Business, the company said that it had indeed sent the free samples with all orders. Still, it called the inclusion of the products “an oversight” and promised to remove them.

"From time to time, Forever 21 surprises our customers with free test products from third parties in their e-commerce orders," the company said. "The freebie items in question were included in all online orders, across all sizes and categories, for a limited time and have since been removed. This was an oversight on our part and we sincerely apologize for any offense this may have caused to our customers, as this was not our intention in any way."

Okay, so Forever 21 wasn’t intentionally targeting plus-size consumers. But some users pointed out that diet culture can result in poor mental health and body image for all people. And without diet culture, diet bars wouldn’t exist.

We’re glad that Forever 21 is listening to its consumers, and hopefully this doesn’t happen again.

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