Harriet Brown alerted me to this scathing piece by New York Times fashion writer Cintra Wilson on J.C. Penney’s new line of clothes, which includes plus-size and Big & Tall offerings. Jezebel also called Wilson out on what is truly a mean-spirited, snark-filled critique on fat people. Some gems from her piece:
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. I tried two fairly cute items… 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.
…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.”
…The petites section features a bounty of items for women nearly as wide as they are tall; the men’s Big & Tall section has shirts that could house two or three Shaquilles…
On her personal blog, Cintra Wilson simply can’t understand why fat –and thin– folks are up in arms about her oh, so hilariously funny sizeist snark.
I feel this article is in keeping with the generally irreverent spirit of Critical Shopper. It is a piece about the store itself and the clothes in it, and how they compare to other clothes in neurotic New York: what is the same/different about them, style-wise. J.C. Penney has had the foresight and genius to realize that plus-sizes are all but completely ignored in Manhattan, and because of this, they are going to make squillions of dollars.
It is actually a positive review, believe it or not.
She does go on to apologize, insisting that she didn’t MEAN to be an condescending snobby, self obsessed bitch (in so many words), but not before making it appear as if it is WE, the offended folk, who are just hyper-sensitive and overly literal:
My writing style is generally pretty scathing, even when I like something. Nothing is sacred in a Critical Shopper — and that’s why you read it.. But it’s not so fun, apparently, if you happen to take something irreverent I say about a mannequin or an inventory personally.”
In the piece, Wilson congratulates J.C. Penney for being so “remarkably smart” as to offer clothing to fit the general populous. She writes:
This niche has been almost wholly neglected on our snobby, self-obsessed little island. New York boutiques tend to cater to the stress-thin, morbidly workaholic, Pilates-tortured Manhattan ectomorph. But there are many more body types who vote with their hard-earned dollars…
Guess what? We also buy newspapers. I’ve always liked the Times‘ fashion coverage, but this piece has me considering “voting” with my “hard-earned dollars” on fashion coverage elsewhere. Let’s all go enlighten Wilson on why it is her “positive review” is so very unprofessional, unclassy and uncalled for.
UPDATE: It looks like Cintra Wilson can dish it out, but she can’t take it. She has now removed her “fauxpology” from her blog after receiving dozens of comments calling her out. Instead, she thinks that this is all just “ridiculous” and that we should all just “remove the knot from [our] panties.” Stay classy, Cintra.
UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: Wilson has now posted what appears to be a sincere apology, which I, at least, accept although I doubt that it’s heartfelt. Of course, the true test of her sincerity will be when she edits the original piece to revise/remove the offending material.