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Macy’s Pulls Tone-Deaf Plates After People Call Them Out For Their ‘Toxic Message’

@alieward/Twitter

The line between a joke and cruelty is very fine. What seems like a knee slapper to me, might be fat shaming to you.

Even if it’s something as innocuous as novelty plates.

Alie Ward, a correspondent for CBS’s Innovation Nation and who has written for LA Weekly and The LA Times, shared an image of some plates being sold at Macy’s.

The plates, from the brand Pourtions, had rings with different labels meant to provide “helpful —and hilarious—visual cues” for serving sizes, according to the website.

Ward shared a photo of one of the plates that seemed to go too far.

In her photo, Ward shares a plate that lists different sizes ranging from “Mom Jeans” down to “Skinny Jeans” with consecutively smaller circles.

In her tweet, Ward asks,

“How can I get these plates from @Macys banned in all 50 states”

The tweet quickly went viral, gaining over 40 thousand ‘likes’ and five thousand comments about the fat shaming plate.

Among those who had an opinion was Jameela Jamil, star of The Good Place, who has tried to spread a message of body positivity.

@jameelajamil/Twitter

With the tweet going viral, many had their own opinions on the subject matter. While not everyone supported a ban on the dinnerware, people did see the harm in pushing those kinds of messages.

Eating disorders affect millions in this country. While young women are more likely to suffer from them, men are at risk too.

They are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Which is why plates like this can be so dangerous. The obsession we have with slim or emaciated looks can be psychologically damaging to someone vulnerable.

Many commenters agreed the plates pushed the wrong kind of message.

But not everyone saw these as anything other than harmless jokes. For every comment you can find condemning these plates, you’ll find one defending them.

Often they make the argument that a ban on these plates would impugn the free speech of the plate maker and Macy’s for selling them. For her part, Ward has said that a complete ban was hyperbole, but the message that these plates can cause harm was still there.

This led to arguments in the comments on the tweet.

There is an issue with people in this country fat-shaming others. Jameela Jamil speaks out because she’s dealt with anorexia as a teenager.

It’s common knowledge that people who work in Hollywood or in modeling are often told to lose unhealthy amounts of weight. Last year, a magazine editor caught heat for calling plus-sized models “fat and out of shape”.

Luckily, Macy’s was much more receptive.

They told Ward that that they were removing the product.

It may seem like pointless complaining, but when you speak up about something that matters, it’s possible to make a change.

Keeping silent only maintains the status quo.

If you’re struggling with an eating disorder, please call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237 for help.

Speaking of tone deaf, this shirt, available  here, responds to a very tone deaf moment in history.

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Written by Ben Acosta

Ben Acosta is an Arizona-based fiction author and freelance writer. In his free time, he critiques media and acts in local stage productions.