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This Woman Was Fired From A Plus-Size Store For Using The Word "Fat"

"I'm okay with not hiding behind euphemisms like curvy or shapely."

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An Edmonton woman says she was fired from her job at plus-size retailer Addition Elle after referring to her customers as "fat." She was using the word not as an insult, but in the context of body positivity. The store, however, didn't see it that way.

Via Twitter: @connielevitsky

Connie Levitsky, 24, had only recently started working at Addition Elle's location at the West Edmonton Mall when she updated the employment section on her Facebook page. "Conquering the world, one well-dressed fat lady at a time," she wrote.

That's when she got a call saying her shifts were suspended until she edited her Facebook page. She complied and worked two more shifts, but when she came to work on Tuesday the district manager told her she was no longer employed with the company.

The reason? Having used the word "fat" in conjunction with the Addition Elle brand, said Levitsky told BuzzFeed Canada.

"I met the district manger for the first time and she proceeded to tell me I was no longer employed with the company," Levitsky told BuzzFeed Canada.

"I thought, I’m a fat woman, I shop at Addition Elle, I have friends who are fat and identify as fat. Why am I being told that I’m not allowed to use this word?" said Levitsky.

She wrote about the ordeal in a Facebook post and shared her disappointment that the company saw the word "fat" as "a swear word."

facebook.com

"I'm fat. I'll always have fat on my body, and that will never change," she wrote.

"And I'm okay with that. I am okay with being fat. I'm okay with not hiding behind euphemisms like curvy or shapely. I refuse to let a three-letter word define the course of my life, or how loud my voice is."

She wrote that she'd been excited to work for Reitmans, parent company of Addition Elle, which caters to women like herself. But the firing left her questioning their values.

"If a company like Reitmans Inc. will fire someone for using the word 'fat' to describe my place in their company, what does that say about the company?" she wrote.

"For me, it tells me that, despite the leaps and bounds of the body positivity movement, internalized hate and stigma against fat bodies still runs rampant."

She described on Twitter how taking back the "fat," a word that has been used to hurt people with bodies like hers, has been a positive force.

I thought that body positivity meant taking back the labels that have been used to hurt us. Like the word fat has been for me.

But according to a company that contributes to the accomplishments of women like me, that isn't the case.

After reading Levitsky's story, other customers began leaving comments on Addition Elle's Facebook page saying she did not deserve to be fired.

Addition Elle

"I'm fat, and if fat women disgust your company, if fat women don't have a place in your brand, then I'm more than happy to take my fat lady dollars and spend them somewhere where my glorious curves and softness is appreciated and celebrated," wrote one woman.

"Shame on your company for firing an employee for using the term 'fat,'" said another comment. "As a 'fat' girl, 'fat' is just a word. An adjective and a noun. Your company's response is increasing the stigma and negativity of a word."

On Tuesday, Addition Elle wrote that firing Levitsky was a mistake and that she was welcome to return to work.

Addition Elle / Via Facebook: additionelle

"We took the word 'fat' out of its context and were afraid that it might offend our customers and employees. However, we believe that anyone should use whatever words they are comfortable with when describing themselves and whatever makes them feel empowered," the company wrote.

"We stand for body positivity in all its forms."

However, Levitsky has no plans to return.

"I feel that in light of what has happened it wouldn't be appropriate for me to return. I don’t feel that I’ll be shopping there anymore, either," she said.

"Addition Elle has made it pretty clear that they don’t have a place for voices like mine, for people like me."