Store Deletes Employee’s Instagram Pictures Because She’s Not a Size Small

Bullshit FairyThe store Dainty Hooligan sells clothes up to a size large, so employee Sherene Zarrabi was shocked when Jessica Issler, the founder and CEO of the company sent her store manager an e-mail about the pictures, including those of Sherene, that appeared on the store’s Instagram account:

Something I want to make sure you keep in mind: I want size small, the stereotypical ‘model’ type to model our clothes. Please use our pictures of our models if Stillwater store can’t find someone who would be considered ‘model material.’ This is not to put anyone down but to communicate the expectations of presenting our brand.

According to a piece on Refinery29 “[Issler] added that the employee shouldn’t “take it personal,” but any images that don’t comply with that “really good representation” of its clothing should be removed from Instagram.”

So, if you’re not a size small the CEO will be happy to take your money, but she thinks that the way you look is a poor representation of their brand.  Why would anyone feel put down by that?  (I so very much need there to be a sarcasm font.)

Oh but it gets better so much worse. Sherene talked about what happened, and people called Jessica on her sizeist bullshit.  I imagine Jessica was pretty surprised since bullies like this tend to expect that their victims will feel ashamed and keep silent. So Jessica went on the attack:

My No. 1 priority is the safety of my staff, so the evil and lack of positivity is terrifying. This girl has now created a hostile work environment because she has a sad body image of herself….She’s not mentally healthy.

I’ve seen my share of blame-the-victim bullshit when it comes to fatphobia but this one might take the cake.  Sherene Zarrabi posted pictures of herself in the clothes her employer sells on her employer’s Instagram account.  Her employer, Jessica Issler, told her that she is a poor representation of the brand because she doesn’t look like an almost impossible to attain stereotype of beauty, and insisted that the pictures be taken down.

And Jessica thinks that Sherene is the one with body image problems?  She thinks that Sherene is the one who created a hostile work environment? And then she decides to add healthism and ableism to the sizeism in which she’s already engaged? Pro-tip – if your plan for “positivity” in the workplace depends upon your employees remaining silent about your mistreatment of them, then you probably shouldn’t be surprised if that doesn’t work out for you.

Jessica then realized that talking complete nonsense wasn’t working out, and so she went took a swing at an apology and missed for strike three of this fiasco.

I can definitely see where feelings got hurt and negativity from there festered from something I take full responsibility for…I wish you the best of luck and honestly I don’t have any ill or hard feelings toward you and I want to thank you for a very humbling experience.

Ok, that first sentence is like poorly completed apology madlibs. Also, obviously this experience was not humbling enough if she thinks it’s important whether or not she has ill or hard feelings toward an employee whom she treated atrociously. Jessica, I think the words you were looking for are: “I fucked up.  I am sorry.  Is there anything I can do to rectify the harm I’ve done?”

Sadly, on the About Us page of the store’s website, Jessica says she started her first store because  “If I could just get girls & women in my shop, I could make them feel like a million bucks with my merchandise.” Apparently “feeling like a million bucks” should not include thinking that it’s ok for you to appear in the store’s clothing on Instagram if you don’t look like a model.

Happily Sherene quit, leaving the job behind, but  not her positive body image:

My advice for others who face body discrimination is just to simply love yourself. Sometimes it isn’t easy. You reach a certain point where you realize that you have nothing to prove to anybody. Your body is your only body, so love it. Be proud of who you are and what you look like. If anybody tries to bring down a person based on their size, there’s something that person is struggling with themselves.

Jessica Issler has said that she doesn’t expect this to affect sales because “I think the typical standard customer knows what we’re about and knows this topic is irrelevant.” Do you think it’s irrelevant?  Want to let Dainty Hooligan know what you think?

E-mail them:  CustomerCare@DaintyHooligan.com

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/ShopDaintyHooligan/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Dainty-Hooligan-Boutique-213533918673901/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/_DaintyHooligan

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Published in: on February 6, 2016 at 12:42 pm  Comments (30)  

30 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I will never understand why, when called out on atrocious behaviour, some people feel the need to double-down with the crap that caused the problem in the first place. Why do some find it so difficult to learn from their mistakes? Are they content with being an asshole? I can only assume they must be.

    I’m happy this hasn’t had too much of a negative impact on Sherene’s mental state. And I hope Jessica can pull her head out of her ass long enough to learn something.

    • It’s like these boutiques want to proudly display the “No Fat Chicks” sign outside their door, but then they also want the fat chicks in question to love them and buy their products in secret. “I think you’re disgusting and shouldn’t exist, but I’m really sorry the way I said so hurt your feelings. Now can we still be friends? As long as I don’t have to be seen in public with you, I mean?”

      So exactly what answer are they expecting us to give them here?

      • Not even “Can we still be friends?”, but “Can I still have your money?”.

        My two word answer would end with “you” and begin with not “Thank” 8P

        • For serious. The closest thing to a response they’ll get from me is a faint, receding echo of the horror movie scream I unleash as I run the other way. =p

  2. Ugh …There is no shortage of fat phobia coming from this Jessica Issler. What a piece of work.

    BTW “I so very much need there to be a sarcasm font” – Might try italics?🙂

    • I was once part of an online forum that uses backslanted italics as the “sarcasm font.”

  3. People like Jessica play into women’s need for “aspirational thinness.” I’ve often said I am working on loosing weight for health reasons, but when I get down to a certain point, I will still be considered fat. No matter my size, I will never purchase anything from Dainty Hooligan (two words that are a foolish combination).

  4. Here’s a copy of what I sent in an email:

    Dear Dainty Hooligan,

    I read the story this morning about the deletion of employee’s photos from the company Instagram, due to the employee not conforming to the preferred body image that Dainty Hooligan wants associated with their clothing. Not only was I disappointed in the abysmal way the employee was treated, I was also rather surprised by the shocking lack of business sense revealed in this action.

    The thinly veiled insult directed at the employee was likewise directed at a significant number of potential customers of similar build, and portrayed Dainty Hooligan as suffering from body-image snobbery. On a cultural level, it reinforces the negative pressures that have led to a large number of young people with eating disorders. On a business level, it equates to shooting yourself in the foot.

    One would think that a company would celebrate and highlight evidence that its employees buy and use their products. After all, what would someone think if they showed up at a Ford dealer, and noticed the employee parking lot full of Hondas and Toyotas? If the employees are not buying the product, why should I? When employees are buying and wearing your clothing, it demonstrates to potential customers that the people who should be most familiar with the product believe in it enough to make it part of their wardrobe.

    How a company treats its employees is also a pretty good indicator of how they are going to treat their customers. A company that is dismissive and unsupportive of its employees is likely also going to be dismissive and unsupportive of its customers. It’s not enough to smile and be pleasant when taking the customer’s payment, and it’s not enough to smile and be pleasant when the employee is putting that payment in the till. Happy employees that feel appreciated and valued tend to be far more motivated, and because they are happy and motivated, it makes for a much better shopping experience for the customer, and a shopping environment that the customer is more likely to return to the next time they need to buy your product. The customer also wants to know that, if there is a problem with their purchase, they are going to be treated with the same kind of friendly service that they received when buying it. What does this incident lead the reader to think of what kind of treatment a customer is going to receive should their experience not be ideal for the Dainty Hooligan image? If the company’s founder and CEO considers poor treatment of an employee to be “irrelevant,” why should I think she would consider the treatment of a customer to be any more relevant?

    Dainty Hooligan also missed a golden opportunity to appeal to the entire demographic of your market. Let’s face it – fashion models are paid to look great in whatever they are wearing. Cut neck and arm holes in a potato sack, and they’ll make it look fashionable. The overwhelming majority of the buying public, though, are not fashion models. They’re regular people, like your employees, who are looking for clothing that looks nice and feels comfortable. They’re looking for clothes that fit them, not the fashion models. Dainty Hooligan could have – and should have – left the photos on the Instagram page, and highlighted how nice she looked in your line of clothing.

    Another way to look at this is in the bottom line. At the end of the business day, can anyone tell the difference in the dollars spent by a fashion model as opposed to the dollars spent by someone who is a different size and shape? The last time I checked, two hundred dollars from Gisele Bundchen were worth the exact same amount as two hundred dollars from Queen Latifah or Melissa McCarthy. Businesses survive by making a profit, and there are far more people that don’t look like Ms. Bundchen than those that do. Their money is what really makes the difference between a successful business and one that fails.

    I sincerely hope CEO Jessica Issler realizes the business faux pas she has committed, and amends her thinking to be more inclusive and supportive, before Dainty Hooligan is seen as nothing more than a skinny bully.

    Sincerely,
    Hoomi (used my real name here instead in the actual email)
    Happy husband of a woman who doesn’t look like a fashion model
    Proud father of a daughter that doesn’t look like one, either.

    • (By the way, I had to Google top fashion models, because I had no idea who the current top models are, or who are considered the current “hot” actresses in Hollywood. Ms. Bundchen was reported as the top earning model in 2015, so I used her name for the comparison.)

    • Well said.

    • IMO not even tons of makeup and Photoshop can make a potato sack look fashionable!😉 Well-written letter. I hope Dainty Itsy Bitsy Hooligan takes notice.

    • Thank you, sir!!

    • Excellent letter! I agree, wholeheartedly.

  5. The Instagram page for the company features lots of pics of the same (tall, very slender) model wearing the clothes, interspersed with Thinspo memes. I think the CEO is the one with the body issues, not the employee….

    • I noticed the same thing on their Facebook page. Apparently you can only wear their clothes if you are tall, white, with long blonde hair…

  6. I have stumbled across your blog by accident and I think it’s just brilliant. It seems to me that there’s only one type of person you can humiliate, abuse and attempt to shame these days and that is fat people. On the London underground recently a group called Overweight Haters Ltd were handing out cards to people they perceived to be too fat. These said:[redacted to avoid giving airtime to hate speech] Sorry if you’ve already written about this – I haven’t yet had the chance to read everything on your blog! Anyway, it made my blood boil! Keep up the good work.

    • Hi Pat,

      Welcome to the blog and thansk so much for your kind words about my work! I would say that fat people aren’t the only type of people that people can humiliate, abuse and attempt to shame. Sadly racism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, ageism and many other forms of bigotry are alive and well. I did hear about that hate group and I posted about it here: https://danceswithfat.wordpress.com/2015/12/01/a-response-to-the-fat-shaming-on-the-london-subway/ (Also, just fyi, I edited your comment to remove the actual text of the cards, I just don’t want to give that hate speech airtime here. Thanks in advance for understanding!)

      ~Ragen

  7. Here’s the kicker…just looked at their Instagram and there are a few pictures of non-heart healthy (let’s say) treats and memes joking about junk food as well as pics of their clothing. And yet she doesn’t want her models to look anything but ultra-thin? *scratching head* I couldn’t help myself and posted to one of them, “Why would you post this picture if you don’t want your models to eat them because OMG fat?”

    • I noticed that too and warned the girls not to eat too many superbowl cookie dough hugs she posted a picture of just I’m case they get fat as Jessica doesn’t like fatties. I was promptly blocked…

      • Oh no, it’s PERFECTLY all right to the Jessica Isslers of the world to eat Superbowl Cookie Dough Hugs by the industrial mixing bowl size full just as long as one is THIN! (((snorts and rolls eyes)))

  8. Reminds self to never purchase anything from Dainty Hooligan even though I am more than small enough to fit their fatphobic “expectations of presenting the brand” Will have to let them know this later after I get off work as part of Say Something Sunday. Will have to think of a really snarky way to do so!

  9. After sending an email to their CustomerCare addy saying “If you think the topic is irrelevant then YOU are part of the problem”, I then checked out their FB page. Littered amongst the photos of their Size 1 models, I found pictures of decadant doughnuts, pastries and other sweets and memes about wanting pizza and a pizza-daddy to buy all those pizzas. What a dichotomey!!! Foods that would turn most Size 1 models into an unacceptable Dainty Hooligan Size LG… *rolleyes*

    I just don’t get the mentality here. I mean, we as women DO face such conflicting things in our lives; however, when you see these *forbidden foods* intermingled with skinny Size 1s on a feed where a Size LG is also *forbidden*… well, there is a certain bi-polarity there that baffles my mind…:/

    • This cognitive dissonance is at the root of mainstream feminine culture as defined by big business. They barrage us with ads for calorie-dense foods on one hand, and tell us that we are worthless pieces of dung if we’re not thinprettyyoungtautperkybreastedwhitecoded (remember, they’re all connected) on the other. Notice how many times these foods are advertised as “decadent,” “indulgent,” and other words that define them as guilty pleasures. The guilt is a feature, not a bug. Eat the food, feel the guilt, buy the product or program that promises the ability to escape the guilt and also wear the clothes, then get barraged by ads (not to mention the relentless dullness and meagerness of the current diet) and eat the food again.

      One of the best things about getting off the diet treadmill has been that I can eat things because they’re delicious, sustaining, suited to the temperature of the day, a luxurious treat, just what I wanted, what I can rustle up in the time available, something interesting I’ve been meaning to prepare for a while, a bargain, thirst-quenching, toothsome, or any other reason than guilt or guilty desperation!

      • I am going to cook a yummy dinner tonight, and feel absolutely no guilt, even if I decide to bake a cake for dessert! Because food is amoral, y’all.

  10. This has thoroughly annoyed me. What a self righteous arse. Not only is she an arse, but a really stupid one who’s primary skill appears to be backpedaling. To be honest, she doesn’t even do that very effectively. Sherene did the honourable thing and for that I award her the Badass Auntie ‘sticking it to idiotic bosses’ award.

  11. I just did a quick Google of Dainty Hooligan, and I must say there’s no fear of my being tempted to buy anything from them, even if they were in my area., which they’re not. Not my style or palette at all, and I’d bet money their large isn’t as large as I am. That said, I’m impressed with Sherrene’s eloquence. I found the “offending” photos (she looks great to me!) and some more from her at http://www.refinery29.com/2016/02/102537/dainty-hooligan-body-discrimination-email.

  12. Wait. She’s saying that SHERENE created a hostile workplace environment? Nooooooo. That’s not how this works.

    When Sherene sues the store for HAVING a hostile workplace environment, and specifically targeting HER with that hostility, perhaps this dunce of a CEO will get it.

    YOU hurt HER. She didn’t hurt herself or others simply by not being small enough for you.

    I get the feeling that, had it been allowed, there would have been a standing rule of “no hiring fatties” because “it wold give the wrong image,” and “it would create a hostile workplace environment because fat people obviously can’t feel good about their own bodies when we refuse to allow them to, and put them down, but HEY! No hard feelings. It’s not as if we actually HATE you, or anything. We just want to pretend you don’t exist, until you actually go away.”

    Grrrrr.

    Seriously, this looks like a good lawsuit, to me.

    • And now I see that Sherene quit on the spot, when the email came in, so how, if she didn’t work there for even five minutes after getting this email, can she possibly be “creating a hostile work environment”? She’s NOT THERE.

      [/sarcasmfont]Jessica, if you’re going to bully, do it right. Forget the illogical arguments, and just punch out the people you hate. It’s simpler, and it makes the court cases so much easier. You can just say, “I didn’t hit her THAT hard! No broken bones! See? The X-rays show no broken bones, so it’s not that bad. No reason to sue.” It’s much more difficult when you start getting logical arguments tossed around in court.[/sarcasmfont]

      Did it work? D’oh!

      • Not to mention the accusation of Sherene having “mental health issues” for the horrendous attitude of being happy with her body. In other words:

        “OMG!!! She must be nucking futs to be happy in a body that isn’t a size small!!! Everyone KNOWS that EVERY woman WANTS to be a size small!!! You’d have to be CRAZY to NOT want that!!!”

        • Yeah. They put out these messages that women should be smaller, as a means of controlling us. If we’re spending all our energy focusing on being as small as possible, we can’t be spending that much energy on being as powerful as possible. And powerful women are “not feminine.”


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