Updated on Jul 24, 2019. Posted on Jul 23, 2019

    Macy's Admits It "Missed The Mark" For Selling A Portion-Sized Plate That Some People Online Aren't Happy About

    "We apologise to our customers for missing the mark on this product."

    Macy's will no longer sell a portion-control plate based on what size jeans you can fit into after comedian and podcast host Alie Ward called out the US department store on Twitter.

    Macy's / Via macys.com

    The plate, which retails for $9.50, was spotted by Ward at a Macy's department store in New York City.

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

    She told BuzzFeed News: "My call for a nationwide 'ban' was hyperbolic, but I do think that anyone who casually sees these can experience body shame, and I think it sends a really warped message to women specifically about starvation — as well as having no grasp on portion-sized and healthy eating choices. Veggies take up way more room than mac 'n' cheese, so this doesn’t even help anyone have a healthier relationship to intuitive eating."

    The plate is designed with three rings that suggest how much food you should eat to fit in a particular style of jeans. At the centre, with the smallest amount of food, is “skinny jeans,” and the largest portion is reserved for “mom jeans”.

    Alie Ward / Via Twitter: @alieward

    The plate mimics more innovative portion-control plates designed to help consumers eat the relevant food groups in the recommended amount.

    Amazon

    The company responded directly to Ward to confirm that the product would be removed and admitted it had "missed the mark".

    @alieward Hi, Alie — we appreciate you sharing this with us and agree that we missed the mark on this product. It will be removed from all STORY at Macy's locations.

    A lot of people were unimpressed by the concept.

    @alieward @Macys Somebody imagined these, pitched them, and then they went through multiple levels of approval before being manufactured and ending up in that store. All of that is to say, what the fuck?

    @alieward @Macys Macy’s just casually promoting eating disorders and body shaming. MOM JEANS FOREVER.

    @alieward @Macys These labeled plates are AWFUL and I am glad Macy’s has agreed to remove them. This fuels eating disorders.

    And felt that it sent a really dangerous message.

    @alieward @Macys Oh yay, commodified starvation. Very healthy. Such jokes.

    @alieward @Macys This is a toxic message, promoting even greater women beauty standards and dangerous health habits. These expectations can actually kill someone, and I know someone it has. @Macys, remove this from all of your stores and denounce the manufacturer.

    One Twitter user gave the plates a redesign. Shoutout to @elclimo!

    But some people defended the design, calling it "humor".

    @alieward @Macys That's funny. Does nobody have a sense of humor anymore?

    Which other people online quickly shut down.

    @alieward @Macys All these people trying to defend the shitty design... lol imagine thinking a circle labelled "skinny jeans" big enough to hold like two chicken nuggets is demonstrating "healthy portion control".... The only thing it's teaching is body shaming, and nothing to do with health.

    In response to the individuals who considered the concept of the plate to be harmless comedy, the podcast host made an important point about what has previously been considered funny.

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    "I would tell them that homophobia used to be passed off as jokes. Racism was an acceptable punchline. Xenophobia sold (sells) movie tickets. And when we realise things are harmful, we listen and we stop," Ward said.

    "If we judged and policed men’s actions like this, they wouldn’t think it was funny. If we had pint glasses made with markers policing against erectile dysfunction, that would be an absolutely obscene violation of agency and public shaming of anatomy. But we accept it for women and LGBTQ+ folks."

    In a statement to BuzzFeed News, a Macy’s spokesperson said: “We apologize to our customers for missing the mark on this product.”

    The retailer said that after reviewing the complaint, it "quickly removed" the plates, which were available only in its in-house concept store, called Story, at Macy's Herald Square in Manhattan.

    A spokesperson for the the plate's manufacturer, Pourtions, reached out to BuzzFeed News with a statement saying the product was intended only "to encourage".

    "As the creators of Pourtions, we feel badly if what was meant to be a lighthearted take on the important issue of portion control was hurtful to anyone. Pourtions is intended to support healthy eating and drinking.

    "Everyone who has appreciated Pourtions knows that it can be tough sometimes to be as mindful and moderate in our eating and drinking as we’d like, but that a gentle reminder can make a difference. That was all we ever meant to encourage."

    Ade Onibada is a junior reporter at BuzzFeed and is based in London.

    Contact Ade Onibada at ade.onibada@buzzfeed.com.

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