Shop pulls 'sexist' and 'fat-shaming' plaques encouraging women to lose up to 40lbs before their wedding

Photo credit: Instagram | Emma Conway
Photo credit: Instagram | Emma Conway

What do you make of the return of noughties fashion? You know, butterfly clips, lurid Juicy Couture tracksuits, those pleated denim mini skirts you used to love sporting to dance to Mario and Ja Rule at an under 18s night…

Whatever your take, we’d hazard a guess that when it comes to the era’s whims around eating and weight maintenance, you’ll be happy to see those trends consigned to past, along with your Jane Norman Tote Bags.

But from the abundance of ‘guilt free!’ sweet treat marketing (sub-100 calorie doughnuts anyone?) to a fresh marketing pushing of notorious 'diet' cereals as health foods, it appears the era's health culture is enjoying a resurgence.

Particularly grim are two weight loss count down saver wall plaques in the shape of a woman's body, clad in a wedding dress and a pink bikini (respectively).

Sold by discount and homeware shop The Range (okay, not exactly known as a purveyor of thoughtful, quality wares) these wall mounted plaques include slots to put in £1 for every pound of weight lost - up to 40lb (18kg) on the bridal version, and 23lb (10.4kg) on the bikini version.

Photo credit: The Range
Photo credit: The Range

The offending items were brought to the internet’s attention by Emma Conway, a digital creator who goes by @brummymummyof2. Emma Conway saw the items and asked if there were any equivalent items for men. There…were not.

‘I left the shop shaking. In 2022 a large chain is feeding into the narrative that women need to be smaller, to drop a dress size.’ (Even that phrase…yeesh. Takes you back, doesn’t it?)

Emma confirmed that she doesn’t take issue with people wanting to lose weight, for a number of reasons.

As we’re sure we don’t need to tell you, steadily reducing your body weight - if you currently sit above a healthy range - can help improve multiple health markers and slash your risk of developing serious illness, now and into your later decades.

But Conway's main gripe was the fact that these products were targeted at women. The message being that it is only women who need - or deserve - to be shamed into drastic, rapid weight loss (which, we must add, is a fool's errand that disrupts your metabolic functioning and ultimately sabotages any long-term weight loss goal you might have).

Moreover, that such weight loss was necessary in order for women to enjoy their time away on holiday - or the experience of wedding their chosen partner in front of all their loved ones.

‘I asked if there was one for men. Maybe a "Lose Chunks To Fit In Your Trunks". There wasn’t,’ Conway posted. ‘It was just for women. To get a bikini body. And to fit in a smaller wedding dress...To put a sign in their houses which they would look at each day. To help them get ready to go to the beach.'

Photo credit: The Range
Photo credit: The Range

‘The motivation is not to get fit and healthy. But to shrink themselves,' she wrote - summing up the message the products promote as: 'remember ladies we need to be tiny.'

The Range told the BBC in a statement: ‘We appreciate that every 'body' is 'bikini ready' all the time, but some of our customers have found this a fun way to help them reach a goal.'

'This product has, however, now been discontinued and we will not be stocking it again.’

However, at the time of writing, both item are still on sale on the brand’s website.

Bit of tacky, ill-thought-out but ultimately harmless fun - or a warning sign that a dark era for the way we think about food and weight is back?

We'd love to know what you think.

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