Target calls plus-size women 'manatees'
Target calls plus-size women 'manatees'

As college women, it’s already hard enough to be comfortable in our own skin. There’s always someone taller, shorter, curvier, smaller or prettier. Do my new blunt bangs make my face look round? Do these platform heels make my legs too long? Does this econ textbook make my backpack look fat?

Behind every woman’s scorn is a retail store that made her that way. Wait for it…

I went to an all-girl Catholic high school and, yes, I wore a plaid skirt and knee-high sock uniform — Britney Spears-style. Every single day of my teenage life was filled with ignorant bliss because we all looked the same. I never had to worry about how the pleats in my skirt made me look from behind which, I’m assuming, wasn’t very good.

Moving on to college has proved a difficult feat: I’ve recycled my old wardrobe of innocent conformity to the Used Uniform Sale and have been trying to update it ever since. Still me and all lovely ladies, as I can only imagine, are left standing in front of the dressing room mirrors hoping Stacey and Clinton come to our unsatisfied rescue because the shopping odds never seem to be in our favor.Are my jeans too tight? Is my shirt too long? Is that a muffin top? Where’s my push-up bra?

There’s always something wrong and we can’t get even a little encouragement from retail stores.

Target, or as us middle-classers like to call it, Targey, made headlines last week for their “unintended oversight” of a discrepancy between smaller and larger dress sizes in its online store. Smaller sizes of a specific maxi dress were colored “dark heather gray." It's larger sizes were dubbed a “manatee gray.”

Cue the stunned smirk and face palm.

While customers sat in offended outrage, Target issued a statement saying “manatee gray” is an actual color they use but there was a miscommunication between the person in charge of the larger sizes and the person in charge of the smaller sizes. Oh, OK, problem solved.

No, problem not solved.

We women need to be proud of our bodies and not associate our shape with apples, pears, pineapples, tomatoes, and any other type of fruit or, for the love of all things good, a manatee. We are beautiful human beings, not inanimate objects and we sure as hell don’t have whiskers and flippers.

We can’t let retail stores reduce us to size numbers or color descriptions. Take it from the girl whose closet was reduced to a pair of jeans and various spirit day T-shirts upon high school graduation and still managed to make friends and even, dare I say, date boys in college: Clothes do not define us. Don’t let retail stores tell you otherwise.