There have been so many posts about body acceptance roaming around the internet. However, an employee at the Dainty Hooligan boutique experienced body discrimination from her boss. Sherene Zarrabi received an email from the store’s owner demanding that they have only “stereotypical model type” women on the retailer’s Instagram account.
According to Zarrabi, the email she received from Jessica Issler, the founder and CEO of Dainty Hooligan included the following:
“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.”
She 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.
Zarrabi worked at the boutique since September last year and she quit on the job after reading the email. “After I saw the email, I was instantly furious,” she told Refinery29. “I feel like it not only offends me, but it offends her customers who aren’t a ‘size small.’ The way I see it, if she wants to have solely ‘size small’ models, she should sell only size-small clothing.” Store employees never had guidelines for using the brand’s social media accounts before, she says; “each store just posted what they wanted to.”
The Stillwater outpost of Dainty Hooligan had posted photos to Instagram of Zarrabi wearing their clothing since October, to which there had never been any negative comments or backlash.
After receiving the aforementioned fat-shaming email from her boss, Zarrabi was obviously upset but said it was not just her feelings she was concerned about.
“The main reason why I got so upset was because my 9-year-old sister is beginning to have body-image issues because of some of her classmates. A child should be more worried about playing with her friends, not wondering if she’s beautiful enough based on what size she is,” she says.
Zarrabi raised questions about how this could impact impressionable young shoppers who are struggling with their own body image.
While there are more positive body image views slowly appearing on the internet, such as the new Barbie body types and Dove’s body-positive commercials, Zarrabi feels this incident has pushed things backwards.
“I feel like [the process of] having, and maintaining, positive body-image took a step backward with Jessica’s email… If an employee can fit into the medium- and large-sized clothing in Dainty Hooligan, why not feature them on social media?”
With all the media attention it is no surprise Issler responded, taking full responsibility for the email, however it is uncertain whether her response has helped the situation.
Issler told Ocolly.com “This girl has now created a hostile work environment because she has a sad body image of herself. She’s not mentally healthy.”
“I never meant to be mean or attacking, but I’m not apologizing for the unsaid fashion rule.”
Despite the whole situation, Zarrabi said she is keeping upbeat and refuses to let anything dampen her spirit.
“My advice for others who face body discrimination is just to simply love yourself. Sometimes it isn’t easy.”