Tee creates eating disorder debate

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Indy Lifestyle Online

With fight obesity messages and fuller healthier models all over the web, a new outcry is centered on Urban Outfitters' (UO) new v-neck t-shirt being sold online that reads in large white cursive print across the front "Eat Less".

Seems harmless given 50% of Europeans are overweight and over 30% of Americans are obese.  Messages like "eat less", "make healthier food choices" and "move more" permeate daily news and campaigns.

However what has social networks lit up and blogs like Huffington Post, The Frisky and Jezebel is the advertising of the shirt. A young skinny girl dons the ill-fitted grey v-neck tee reminiscent of American Apparel ads. UO also sells a similar shirt that reads "Alcohol, Nicotine, Caffeine" and another "I fought the law".

T-shirts have been a way to express everything from political views to "I'm with stupid" yet the newspaper Cleveland Leader penned on June 2 "New Urban Outfitters T-Shirt Promotes Pro-Anorexia Movement" stating "perhaps some of the American population could stand to take the shirt's advice, but for those impressionable teens who shop at Urban Outfitters, it's message is more pro-anorexia than anything, especially when worn by an emaciated model."

Apparently not, hear celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton explain why his tee "Nothing Tastes As Good As Skinny Feels" is no longer for sale: http://cocoperez.com/2010-06-01-nothing-tastes-as-good-as-skinny-feels

UO got the message and has pulled the shirt as of 9:15 pm EDT according to the Huffington Post. The post also noted that the full description of the shirt read: "Eat less or more or however much you'd like in this seriously soft knit tee cut long and topped with a v-neck."

Those battling anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder where you starve yourself to be thin, and those anti the eat less message took to online forums including HugParty!:

"As a life long sufferer of anorexia nervosa, and a loyal patron to my local Urban Outfitters store, I am both saddened, as well as offended by this product you have chosen to expose your clientele to. What kind of message do you think this is sending your client base, the majority of whom are young adult females? "Eat Less" is blatantly telling your shoppers to starve themselves, which is the equivalent of committing a long, slow, and painful suicide." - Stephanie

"No thanks I enjoy eating" - adamwest

"no thanks at least be fat enough to make that shirt look flattering grrl grrl looks like she has anemia too"  - slangtang

On June 3, Amelia McDonnell-Parry, contributor to the style section of the Frisky, reviewed UO's recent intentional controversial tee campaigns including:

- "Does not want to support gay marriage"
- Offering color tee option as: "Obama/Black"
- "Fathers its up to you! To preserve your daughter's virginity!"

"You know what I want? For Urban Outfitters to STFU."

No such thing as bad press? Maybe not, since the t-shirt is no longer available online but all of this attention has offered a lighter way to address a serious issue with friends and children if you are concerned about their unhealthy eating behaviors or your own.

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