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Annals of feminist witch-doctoring: Magical dinner plates at Macy’s banned for causing anorexia and fat-shaming at the same time

July 23, 2019

People are calling out Macy's for "fat shaming" plates promoting unrealistic portion control (Credit: Twitter)

Photo: Twitter

Who knew that pieces of china possessed such sinister powers?

From the HuffPost:

Macy’s has quit selling dinner plates that incited controversy online among people who said they advocated a “toxic message” of portion control.

Alie Ward, a science correspondent for the CBS series “Innovation Nation,” tweeted an image of the plates on Sunday with a caption asking how to get the dinnerware banned. Her photo showed a plate featuring smaller and smaller circles labeled, “mom jeans,” “favorite jeans,” and “skinny jeans.”…

Ward said she has “friends who have been hospitalized for eating disorders, who cap off a good dinner by purging, know strong intelligent women who’ve starved themselves to be a certain size, and who obsess about calories so they’re not rejected or ridiculed.”

Apparently the plates can cause women to starve themselves to death just by looking at them.

One responder explained that the plates proliferate a “toxic message, promoting even greater women beauty standards and dangerous health habits.”

“These expectations can actually kill someone, and I know someone it has. [Macy’s], remove this from all of your stores and denounce the manufacturer,” reads the tweet.

And then there is the plates’ demonic fat-shaming potential:

Another person wrote that the plates aren’t funny “when you spend your entire existence being told how to look so you can catch a man/have value, and shamed for the most natural things like gaining weight from things like pregnancy, or eating whatever you freaking like.”

Well! We can’t have anyone–much less a piece of porcelain–making women feel bad for eating whatever they freaking like.

So “body positivity” activist (and The Good Place star) Jameela Jamil decided to add her two cents:

“F–k these plates,” the actress wrote on Sunday night.

Fearful of the plates’ bad juju, Macy’s pulled them from its stores the very next morning.

I feel sorry for the plates’ manufacturer, Pourtions, which must have thought it scored a coup when a national retail chain opted to offer its merch (you can still purchase the dinnerware online and at a handful of boutiques). After all, just a few years ago, “portion control”–limiting the amount of food on people’s plates–was supposed to be the hot new way to control obesity. Here is (or was) public intellectual Cass “Nudge” Sunstein “weighing in” in 2013:

Evidence is increasing that lower-calorie servings can be good for business. One reason is consumer demand. Many customers like, and reward, restaurants that provide light options; an easy way to provide such options is to cut portion sizes. Another reason is the increasing practice, often undertaken voluntarily and eventually to be required by the Affordable Care Act, of posting calorie counts on menus. Customers can be surprised to see just how many calories come from the standard portions of their favorite meals. They may not want to switch to a meal they enjoy less, but a smaller portion may suit them just fine.

But that was six years ago. Before anyone realized that a plate that says “mom jeans” can possess evil and destructive powers all by itself. As science correspondent Alie Ward put it so succinctly:

“When you take half a population and make them think that their power is in their value as a sexual object, you weaken their voice as a whole and you end up with a system that’s lopsided and out of balance,” she said. “So it’s not about plates, it’s about letting women know it’s okay to say ‘hey, f*ck this.’”

Black-magic plates.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

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