Chasing the almighty dollar

May 8- money There are always two sides to every story. But, in my view, the decision by Forever 21 and Target to launch 'plus-size' lines for obese teenagers comes down to one thing: chasing sales no matter what the cost.

I agree that all sized teens should have the same fashion options. But, selling lines that go up to size 30 sends exactly the wrong message: '…It's ok to eat to excess and jeopardize your long-term health. We'll still provide you with every fashion accessory your slimmer, healthier peers sport.'

According to a National Health and Nutrition Examination survey, the rate of obesity among adolescents 12-19 has more than tripled in the last 20 years. Providing a full line of plus size clothes is tantamount to telling these teens: 'Go ahead and inhale the Double Whopper, large fries and super-sized Coke. We'll have your dress and accessories waiting on aisle four.' (Note: my comments do not apply to those teens who suffer from medical or genetic disorders and can't control their weight).

Industry analysts estimate that Target, Forever 21 and other retailers who follow their sorry lead could be looking at an additional $3 billion in business within two years or less. In short, the almighty dollar trumps clearly corporate social responsibility for these organizations.

Advocates of plus-sized jean clothing say the obese have been penalized in the past for being overweight, and the Forever 21 and Target decisions are akin to a fashion Independence day for them. Obese teens may feel newly liberated, but sending a signal to them that it's ok to jeopardize one's health in the name of fashion is akin to turning an alcoholic loose in a liquor store. '…..Drink as much as you want. We believe alcoholics should have as many options as responsible adults.'

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Forever 21 and Target's moves are not only desperate, they're despicable.

7 thoughts on “Chasing the almighty dollar

  1. While I agree that retailers shouldn’t encourage obesity amongst adolescents, I think you missed an important fact. Both Target and Forever 21 offer clothes that are not designed for curvy women, so these new lines offer options to those women who love their clothes but can’t fit them because they have a little more hip than the average woman.
    I actually applaud Forever 21 and Target for recognizing that all women are not made the same and working to find ways to address those concerns. Now, the problem I do see is that the line is labeled “Plus Size” which in my opinion, is a bit offensive because having extra curves does not mean you are plus size or obese.

  2. Agree fully, Repman, but the problem of chasing dollars where markets of dubious need or want is part of the good ole’ USA. We are a nation the non-consequence. There’s always the next pant size, pill, potion or distraction to evade reality, especially on the undereducated. Give them guns, jebbus and a quarter pounder with cheese and everything will be just fine because corporations will always find a new way a assuage their issues not matter what they are.

  3. Mer, with all due respect, you don’t know what I see. What I see is a couple of greedy retailers cashing in. I do feel for anyone and everyone challenged with a medical condition and I wise you the very best.

  4. *Note: my comments do not apply to those teens who suffer from medical or genetic disorders and can’t control their weight).*
    But your comments do apply. When you see me, you don’t see the medical baggage. You see a girl who wanted fries with that.
    Some of us with the medical disorder dared to want a few more cute outfits from which to choose. Instead, we wore clothes that resembled our grandma’s upholstered couch.
    Is this a gracious or gratuitous move on the part of the retailers? I don’t care.
    I respect your crusade on the issue – perhaps you could temper it with just a bit of compassion.

  5. Sounds like an excellent lunch, Lunch. I still think this is ‘Enabling 101’ on the part of the retailers. Whatever happened to corporate social responsibility? Oh yeah, the recession. Never mind.

  6. i disagree. we can’t fault business for wanting to make a product, serve a demographic, and earn a buck. we can’t ask fasion houses and retailers to set the tone and be, in any shape or form, responsible for someone’s waistline. same goes for the food industry.
    if people are too dumb to eat themselves to death, so be it. they’ll weed themselves out and will no longer be a burden on society after that next double whopper. and, now they’ll look good doing so.
    btw, i had a lean turkey burger for lunch and went with a salad instead of fries.
    good day!