I usually try not to respond to or write about things out of anger, but just this one time I’m going to make an exception. My friend Justine shared an article a little earlier that was about the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch and why he “hates fat chicks.”
The article explains:
“He doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people,” Lewis said. “He doesn’t want his core customers to see people who aren’t as hot as them wearing his clothing. People who wear his clothing should feel like they’re one of the ‘cool kids.’”
It made me remember my high school years, when I was definitely not one of the cool kids. We were not well off at all, and my clothes were never designer, and sometimes not even new. It shouldn’t have mattered, but kids can be more cruel than the Marquis de Sade so it ended up kind of making things harder.
I was bussed from Santee to Grossmont high school, and I remember how crappy the kids from that neighborhood were to those of us who could not afford the trappings of wealth many of them could, and who didn’t look the way cool or attractive people were supposed to.
That was me for sure. Overweight by the in-crowd’s standards. Average-looking at best. Generic or used clothing, for the most part. The “fortunate” kids were always kind enough to let me know where I fit in the scheme of things.
There was one time in particular that stuck with me–well, two. The first was one day early in the school year. I remember getting on the bus and feeling like the clothes my sister had purchased me looked pretty good for a change, and my new Payless shoes looked just like Adidas. I thought it might make a difference.
I remember one kid when I got off deliberately stepping on my shoes and making them dirty, while another berated the “Kmart specials” I was wearing. I was utterly humiliated.
The other time I was getting out of my car at the Parkway Bowl theater about a year after my mom died and I was wearing this rugby shirt I liked a lot and a pair of actual Levi’s I’d purchased myself. A carload of high school boys (football players, by their jackets) drove up and yelled “egg the fat kid,” which they proceeded to do. Thankfully, their aim was much worse than their probably beer-impaired judgment, and they only hit me once, right on the chest of my rugby shirt.
Egg the fat kid, indeed.
So when I read that article Justine posted, it made me think of the careless cruelty of my peers when I was the age of many potential A & F customers. I so wanted what they had, because I thought I’d fit in. Maybe even get popular friends.
The friends I did have had nothing to do with how I dressed or the how much weight I carried. They still don’t. Maybe that’s why I never really cared much for brand clothes as an adult.
It might be worth adding that by all accounts, the A & F CEO is supposedly a bit of a troll in addition to his PhD in douchebaggery. It seems evident he is attempting to make up for whatever he feels he missed out on in his youth.
He’s going to fail, and no matter how expensive the clothes are he wears, in his heart he will always be the fat kid, or the poor kid, or the kid with buck teeth. There is only one way to find healing for those kind of wounds, and it is not through wanton buying sprees and callow and superficial attitudes toward people who don’t meet some arbitrary fashion standard.
If it weren’t for Jesus, I would still be trying to meet those standards and trying to please people who didn’t like me for who I was, and would never love me for who I wasn’t. It was and remains ridiculous.
I’m writing this on my phone and I can’t see all the stuff I’ve written further up, so let me just say in conclusion that I have never been in an A & F store, and thanks to this article, I never plan to be. it sounds like I wouldn’t be welcome anyway.
This CEO (who shall not be name dropped by me) can go take a flying uh…leap at a rolling doughnut.