If You Hate Fat People, I Feel Bad For You Son, I’ve Got 99 Problems But Where to Shop Ain’t One | By Louis Nguyen

Abercrombie & Fitch‘s CEO Mike Jeffries is what I would call a delusional, sun-of-a-gun, idiot. In a recent interview with Salon, teenyboppers’ favourite brand’s CEO announced to the world why he will never carry plus sizes at his “fabulous” and “visionary” retailers:

“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he told the site. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either.”

The first thing that ran through my mind after reading this was: who, in their right mind, still shops at Abercrombie & Fitch? I am so excited to see Anne Hathaway rocking the latest collection of Abercrombie & Fitch on the red carpet at the upcoming Oscars… said nobody ever! Clearly Mr. Jeffries has no idea that the game of fashion has changed significantly in the past few years. Nobody is willing to pay an obscene amount of money for some basic t-shirts and jeans that have the same designs as they did in 2001, when they can just purchase something much cheaper & fresher at their nearest H&M.

As a YEG citizen, I remember back in 2003 when they opened their first store in the city. Many will recall that secluded store blasting House music repeatedly on the second level of West Edmonton Mall by the skate-rink. At the age of 17, I walked to that store mesmerized by the polished look of it and then realized one thing: “Ain’t a damn thing here going to fit me.” As someone who has struggled with weight-gain my whole life, I was frustrated and embarrassed trying on clothes that made me look like a California sushi roll. I had no problems fitting clothes at Buffalo or Guess at the time, which were also go-to brands for young people back then. But I felt subconsciously suffocated in Abercrombie, a store that is filled with giant photographs of half-naked models that look like they are on the verge of having unprotected sex.

Now, with Abercrombie & Fitch becoming irrelevant, their CEO’s comment just makes my blood boil. I know a lot people who are just genetically bigger, many of whom have much lower metabolisms. Not everyone has time to go to the gym everyday to look like a model. And not everyone, especially those who are seriously overweight, have the right guidance or motivation to lose weight and get in shape. There are even celebrities out there who are struggling with “fatness” as well such as: Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera or Britney Spears… and according to Mr. Jeffries, these stars should not have a career right now.

As the popular saying goes: real women have curves! I would much rather see people with a little more meat on them than little, tiny skeletons walking around just to fit in to this society’s ideal image of what a girl or guy should look like. Mr. Jeffries’ comments will be devastating to many adolescents’ self-esteem as they enter into the adult world. Has he ever considered that those “in-crowd” girls and guys may have parents who are overweight? And that these parents work hard just to earn the money to buy their children some clothes from Abercrombie & Fitch so that Mr. Jeffries can sit and talk about how much he hates fat people? When I Googled the Abercrombie & Fitch CEO’s image to see who the real Mike Jeffries was, the first image in the results is of a man with a face that has been through many plastic surgeries.

All I am going to say is this: if you hate fat people, I feel bad for you son, I got 99 problems but where to shop ain’t one. Mr. Jeffries and his stores can go to hell and wait there until they have to file for bankruptcy!

CC Photograph Courtesy of D:>D.H.LEE on Flickr

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  • This is the most ridiculous article I’ve ever read. Sure Mike Jeffries shouldn’t have said what he said but the idea that it’s okay to be a fat slob that you’re perpetarting is a million times worse.

    It’s not okay to be fat, apart from looking like a lazy, useless human being who lacks self-discipline and control, you are also are also a burden on society. Yes, when you have all those obesity related disorders and diseases; you become a burden on society.

    It’s fine that you love eating junk food, and use your “genetics” and “metabolism” as an excuse rather just watching what you eat and learning to use the magic word “no”. It’s not fine that you think it’s okay to be fat for everyone else. Now I’m not saying that everyone has to look like a fitness model but there is no excuse for a beer gut and a BMI over 24, yet still eating garbage day in and day out.

    “Not everyone has time to go to the gym everyday to look like a model. And not everyone, especially those who are seriously overweight, have the right guidance or motivation to lose weight and get in shape.”

    If you don’t have “time” to go to gym 3 times a week for 20 minutes, or just go for a walk you have to no right to bitch about people calling you fat. If you have no motivation to lose the fat just accept that people will look down on you.

    It’s pathetic that people today have come to this point…

    • Heather

      So your assumption is that all fat people eat junk and don’t exercise whereas every thin person you pass on the street obviously work out and eat right, correct? This way of thinking totally defies the science of health and absolutely support weight/size discrimination. Health is not synonymous to body size, body type, race or gender. The fact that you think “visually” if someone’s not thin or skinny they just “must” have health issues, eat all day and don’t work out. Or that just because someone is visually thin or skinny “Yep they’re perfectly fit and healthy, they must work out and eat less. That’s absolutely incorrect and actually does a disservice to thinner people who eat nothing but junk. How many times have you heard “Gosh he/she can eat anything and not gain a pound” like it’s cute and acceptable? Google “thinprivilege” and you’ll see all of the hateful, hurtful, harmful things larger people experience. It’s funny that all thin/skinny people have to hear is “Well just exercise and eat a balanced diet” if they go in for a checkup and find out they’re unhealthy internally. But let a moderate health normal size or larger person be proposed the same logic and they’re told everything else besides just eat a balanced diet and exercise. It’s blatant prejudice and discrimination. No one is warranted hatred or discrimination no matter what they’re discriminated. What a ignorant, useless, bigoted, hateful post you made. You’re right, it is pathetic people have to come to this point because we’re suppose to be moving into a society and era that is free of “discrimination” but we’re not. Fat hatred/discrimination is no different than homophobia, racism, sexism, religion bashing etc. All of them are met with people making comments disregarding them as inferior. It doesn’t matter which is something you can change, they all oppress human beings in different ways, and that’s never good for the progression of humanity, EVER!

      • Keziah Mallick

        If his “hateful” post gets you’re lazy fat ass in the gym then I think that’s pretty good for the progression of humanity

    • Kirena Wai

      People really, REALLY hate feeling ‘threatened’ by someone attacking their self defense mechanisms. And it is gutsy to say the truth, like you did. Generally, overweight people (or those striving to do anything, really, but fail) glorify the place or condition they are in to feel ‘secure.’ In their mind, talking like everyone should praise them the way they are is much easier than making the changes necessary to achieve a higher self image, physically and mentally. Amen for saying what you said, and all of the other ‘hate’ comments pretty much just sum up what I said.

      It’s easier to blame genetics, being bigged boned, that gym takes too much money/time, that not all fat people are ‘blah blah blah’, and become angry with someone speaking the absolute truth, than to quietly accept it as reality. Thank you for having the guts.

  • Tanner

    Did you ever consider that maybe there ARE fat popular kids too? Just saying…

  • Amy

    It making it 10x worse dude sure it wasn’t rigt if him saying that but what will it do with u? It lle only make it better

  • Lee Mikitaki

    Let me say this, i was raised in Kenya till I was 14 (yes I am white) after my family settled in Montreal and I attended university where a few of my friends I grew up with kenya also ended up attending. What I noticed is they were all slim in Kenya but some of them became overweight in Canada. I think some people given a a particular food environment put weight others don’t Besides I know a lot of skinny people who stuff their faces and dont exercise as well.