I remember the first time I heard about Torrid. I was walking through the mall with my tall thin gay best friend who I had a massive crush on. He says “have you seen that store Torrid?” “Torrid?” “Yeah, it’s some store that sells fishnets for fat girls but nobody wants to see fat girls in fishnets.”
My cliché best friend crush was obviously disgusted by fat girls but was talking to an actual fat girl who actually kinda wanted him to not hate her fat body? Wow. Crushes are so demonic but also multiple eyeball emoji because up until this point the only other store I had shopped at was Lane Bryant. And girl. Imagine me, a tall fat black junior in high school wanting to dress the way I felt but only having access to business clothes made for middle aged white women with jobs. I wanted to give Moesha, Jill Scott, Lauryn Hill energy but the scarcity of fat fashion had me giving auntie, vice principal and occasionally — soft FUBU stud.
Fishnets for fat girls? I wanted in but had to act like I didn’t because well — that’s just how fatphobia is.
I know I wasn’t the first fat girl in Torrid but I feel like I was. I gave Torrid all of my little money through high school, college, multiple jobs and relationships.
Cue the peplum and maxi dress montage!
After 18 years of shopping at Torrid I thought they were evolving with me but recently the ads have just been rubbing me the wrong way.
I received an email ad for Sky High Skinny Jeans that made me unsubscribe from their mailing list. The ad reads like this:
[Image of a barely plus size brunette looking off into the distance. Model is wearing Sky High Skinny jeans, an olive shirt and a black jacket.]
In large cursive print it says “Skinny” followed by a sentence in all caps.
“WHAT A WAIST.”
“The Sky High Skinny is our highest rise and skinniest leg opening — with a built-in stretchy waistband that contours and defines your figure.” The product description elaborates “an incredible mix of compression and stretch with the look of true denim” …” front pockets are sewn into fly for a slimming and compressed look”.
Because EVERYBODY should want to look slim and people who wear clothing sizes 10–30 shouldn’t have a problem with their bodies being compressed, right?
Look, I’m still going to shop at Torrid. Shopping gives me incredible anxiety. I honestly don’t have the mental capacity to shop too many other places. I know how their clothing fits my body and I know fatphobia will always be used to sell me things. I just wish that wasn’t the case. So in an effort to not be triggered every time a sale pops up, I unsubscribed. May the odds forever be in my favor.
I asked my beloved Instagram community what they thought of The Sky High Skinny jeans ad and this is what they had to say:
They are trying to steer people towards skinny = fatphobic.
They need a new copywriter.
Definately not size inclusive and low hey kinda fat shamey vibes
Skinny, skinniest = ugh, come on… can’t you do better than this?
Torrid, of all brands.
Promoting “acceptable” body types.
Torrid tries to cater to the plus size community but will utilize their internalized fatphobia as a marketing tool. Notice they rarely have plus size models over a size 16/18.
How they gon have a plus sized model and use the word “skinny” more than once???
First thing I notice — they used/ centered the smallest possible model for their size range
She looks good, however when I see size 10–30 I expect to see someone closer to size 30.
A plus size company bragging about how small their clothes are makes me feel shitty.
Serious implication that all fat women who wear figure hugging clothes want to look skinner
Not sure they aren’t referring to the specific pant style where the pant legs hug your calves.
You’d think a plus size company would make a jean for fat legs. Skinny jeans are the worst.
I think it’s telling women with wide calves that our money isn’t important to them.
Makes me think they can’t even fathom that a fat woman might not want to be “skinny”.
Very obvious that they chose the thinnest “plus size” model they should find
It’s odd. This is an ad for “plus” sized women but they use the word “skinny” here. Violence.
So many times to say skinny. That’s what we are supposed to want. Hate it.
What a waist???
It’s playing directly into internalized fatphobia. Feel skinny (good) even though you’re fat (bad)!
While I appreciate high waisted pants because I just do… the connotation is no good.
Reminds me of the ads I see at work. There’s always one body type and weight presented.
Petition to change skinny/ slim cut to tight or narrow???
Skinny or slim is just a plant leg style like boot cut or straight cut.
The skinniest part can be problematic, but I’m not sure what to replace it with.
I like the model but don’t really like the idea of contouring your body. It makes it seem like your body needs something else to be deserving.
Can fat people just wear pants? Why the hell does everything need to be fitted or slimming?
Torrid jeans stopped fitting me years ago. I wear a 28, and their 28 feels like a 24. I’m not a fan.
Could they emphasize SKINNY just a little more?!
Love when a plus brand uses fatphobia to advertise.
Doesn’t say ANYTHING about comfort. Glorifies skinny as the goal.
It makes me cringe.
Hell no. Telling us skinny is still the goal and attainable through capitalism? Bye.
Fuck that my big ass thighs gotta breathe.
They spelled “waste” wrong because that’s what this ad is — a waste of ad space. Proving thin is in even when you’re catering to fat/ plus. No $ for Torrid in my budget
Women shouldn’t have to contort their bodies to be perceived as worthwhile.
This ad may just be talking about a skinny leg as opposed to a boot cut or a flare or a straight leg.
Love the product. Hate the marketing but its great for clicks.
Torrid can do better.
Sneaking in diet culture messages. Assuming the word “figure” means having a waist.
Wording is bad, but “contouring” aka very constricting, uncomfortable clothes are the worst in my opinon.
Why does she need a sky high waistband if she’s already skinny?
Great I might have to go up a size to fit my foot through.
Not so subtle thin supremacy.
Torrid, I know as a business you must know the marketing power of fatphobia. I wonder what would happen though if you didn’t sell clothing to fat people that promised to make us look less fat. Maybe we’d still buy all of the things and spend all of our hard-earned money at your stores.
We’re fat. We’re gonna also look fat regardless of what we’re wearing. When we take your clothes off we have to live with all that has been slimmed and concealed and compressed. It’d be nice to get dressed without all the mind games.