I should be working on my next manuscript, as it's due to my publisher in a few weeks. However, after reading this alleged quote by Mr. Jeffries the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, I found myself irritated, furious and distracted.
Here's what the King of Bullies had to say.
"In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids," he told Salon. "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."
My first thought was... Is this for real? Am I reading an article in The Onion or something? No. Sadly, this quote was actually uttered by a supposedly educated and successful adult.
My second thought was... Does this guy have kids? By all accounts, the answer is no. Thank God. Can you imagine having this insensitive man as your father? Clearly, he doesn't have children because if he did, I can't fathom that he would do what he's doing.
He's never had his eight-year-old come home in tears because another kid teased him in front of the rest of the class. He never had to watch his daughter cry herself to sleep because she somehow felt that she didn't measure up, that she wasn't good enough due to the shape or size of her body.
What is wrong with this dude? My guess is that he was an outcast as a kid and this is his ultimate revenge. He's now successful and feels that this makes him one of the cool-kids by default.
What he doesn't realize is that he's made himself the ultimate loser.
Shame on you, Mr. Jeffries.
Shame on you for perpetuating the bully on the playground mentality, in the online community and with our youth. The message you are sending is reprehensible and an appalling waste of an opportunity. You could have chosen to use your power and position to promote tolerance and love. Instead, you chose to promote and validate bullies. Your campaign is telling our young people that it's perfectly acceptable to exclude someone because of the size of their body.
Since when does being thin make someone a good person? All it makes you is thin. Being thin doesn't necessarily make someone healthy either. In fact, comments like yours only encourage young girls to starve themselves so they can meet some stupid standard that small-minded men like you perpetuate.
I was an outcast. From fourth grade through tenth grade I was picked on and bullied for being overweight. It was so bad that my parents pulled me out of the school district and put me in private school. Thank God they did.
I was the girl you singled out in your comments, Mr. Jeffries. I would not have been able to shop in your store and your cruel message would only have validated my tormentors and their bad behavior.
What breaks my heart is that I know there are young girls out there right now, who were brought to tears by your comments. I'm sure that you're being quoted by school bullies across the country. They're spouting your poisonous comments through shark-like smiles as their victims walk by, pretending not to hear it.
But believe me, they hear it.
However, I hope they hear this too.
To all the young girls out there who somehow feel as though you're less than others because of the size or shape of your body....don't you believe it. Not for one second.
I'm here to tell you that it gets better. Middle school and high school are mere a blip on the radar of life. I was you. I cried myself to sleep countless nights because of cruel comments made by my peers.
Remember this -- happiness and success are the best revenge.
Don't listen to the haters. Tune out their nasty remarks and listen to your passion. Find the one thing that makes you light up and gives you a sense of purpose. When you find that place, then no one and nothing can touch you.
For me, it was theater and writing. I found my escape, strength, and passion in creating unusual worlds with characters that I'd love to meet.
There will always be bullies like Mr. Jeffries and unfortunately, sad little people like him do exist. But remember one thing... the pathetic, small-minded people like Mr. Jeffries are not the majority and I think a good, old-fashioned boycott of Abercrombie & Fitch would be the perfect way to show him how the majority of us feel.
My sons will not shop at Abercrombie. I will never spend a dime in that store and I will tell everyone I know to boycott Abercrombie & Fitch. Show them that the bullies don't win.