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Marks & Spencer defend selling 'bodyshaming' product

Jan 29

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29/01/2014 14:56  RssIcon

Twitter storm over sale of 'Fatgirl' beauty products.

 

Marks & Spencer (M&S) came under fire on Monday 26th January for stocking the 'Fatgirl' range by luxury cosmetics company Bliss.

 

M&S, as well as Debenhams and John Lewis, have been stocking Bliss's arguably sexist range of Fatgirl beauty products. Fatgirl soap, The Love Handler, Fatgirl Six Pack and Fatgirlslim skin firming cream are just some of the products available in Bliss's spa range. These products seem to imply that being healthy and exercising are not all you can do to achieve a 'perfect body'; rather they perpetuate myths of what beauty is.

 

While M&S responded defensively in stating that the products are “not meant to cause offence” it's apparent that the Fatgirl beauty products have already caused offence, with bloggers writing:

“What does it say about our society that so many brands have products specifically designed to change your figure and give you a six pack? Dissolve your cellulite? Tone your arms?”

(Sara of the Daily Polish)

“These products imply that being worried about being fat isn’t only something I have to think about when I’m choosing what food to eat or what exercise to take. Apparently I am now meant to feel ashamed about my body when I am washing it, preparing to face the day. Can’t I just wash?”

(Harper of Crumbs & Petals)

 

The Bliss range is owned by Steiner Leisure Limited, which is registered in the Bahamas.  The company also operates spas on cruise ships, in resorts and in hotels offering massages, facials, waxing, and other beauty and body treatments

 

It is interesting that the executive team of Steiner Leisure does not feature a single woman. However, there are three women on the board of directors. The company profess to social awareness of environmental matters but there is nothing stated about issues such as body dysmorphic and eating disorders that may be caused by being exposed to unrealistic images of the 'perfect' body shape.

 

Marks & Spencer's stock response to the Tweets from readers was: “Part of the Bliss beauty range, the products play on the popular DJ's name and are not intended to cause offence.”  However, as Twitter user @sarahonline_ argued, although the products “...may not be "intended" to cause offence...they do.”

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