That is my genuine response to one of urban outfitters t-shirts that I became aware of through the publication of this article
Sophia Bush Declares War on Urban Outfitters for Selling Shirt With Words “Eat Less”. Thank you Kyra Brusse for describing the message on this shirt as “aggressive”. It sums up the tone perfectly.
I don’t think the actress’s response to this shirt is excessive. Rather, the words on the shirt are. For starters, the ambiguity of the words “Eat Less” kills me. What is this company really trying to say? Tap into any basic business book and you get the idea that the least thing any business wants to do is offend potential consumers. If consumers don’t like the product, they won’t buy it. No revenue will generate, so the business will not do well. Go back to the drawing board and come up with something new. However, the basics of business studies don’t apply directly in the real world. So with that established, I do understand why some of the comments suggest that the purpose of this shirt is to encourage people to become “healthier” or get “thinner.”
But what really blows my mind is why not use words that give a clearer and more positive message. “Be Healthy” is an example. Or slap on an inspiration quote to help someone realize that maybe they should push a little harder in their exercise routine? Or print on a fucking piece of lettuce and use a lame joke like “Lettuce be friends” to maybe turn the gears in someone’s head about whether or not they are eating enough vegetables. And last but not least, a common example I found in the comments, “Eat HEALTHY”.
I would rather see shirts with any of those words on display than a shirt that says “Eat Less”.
An opposing view could be how America has an obesity epidemic and this could help them in making them aware of their unhealthy lifestyles. I do think that this is an effective, implicit method of “advertising” an healthier lifestyles because it is direct. And may or may not encourage the viewer to re-thinking some life choices since it is not done at such a large scale like billboards. However, they could have slapped on “EAT THE RIGHT PORTIONS” and it would still turn out to be effective.
Call this far-fetched, but what if reverse psychology plays out. A person reads “Eat Less” but ends up eating more, which actually adds more to the obesity epidemic. Another person could retaliate by consciously or subconsciously eating more as a method of challenging that shirt. The point is that it is hard to know how such a shirt can impact on an individualistic scale since we all react and think differently.
“So many people are supporting Urban Outfitters, saying that ‘America’s fat’ or ‘America’s obese. Yes, this may be somewhat true. But I don’t think you all are taking into account that most of the people who shop at Urban Outfitters are teenage girls. Since a lot of teenage girls are already self-conscious and already have body issues, what do you think this says to them? You’re taking completely healthy and beautiful girls and telling them to eat less. This being such an outrageously famous company, a lot of girls will see this shirt, and take it into account. Even the smallest things can have an impact.”- Meg Collins.
Others argue that this shirt is encouraging anorexia which even adds more reasons to remove this t-shirt from the public eye. This well-written article from the website Indy Week touches on that.
Overall, that shirt’s existence makes me angry. It is thoughtless, aggressive, vague, and plain right fucking annoying. It shouldn’t be on display. It shouldn’t be for sale.
In addition, being healthy requires more than “eating less”. Consulting with your nutritionist to determine the most effective diet, exercise, regular and sufficient sleeping hours, and staying hydrated are just a few things to consider.
At first, I felt silly to think that a shirt could dictate a human being’s eating habits but every time I look at the picture I can’t help but want to burn it. Though small in size, this shirt embodies a form of control a big corporation thinks it can implement on you. The shirt is literally telling you want to do, specifically that you should eat less.
You should make those decisions, preferably with the help of specialist, but if you are content with your diet then that is wonderful. It is your own body. Enjoy your next meal to the fullest. Chew slowly, savor the taste, and swallow with great satisfaction.