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Why Is Forever 21’s New Plus-Size Instagram Facing Backlash?

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Three weeks ago, Forever 21 quietly launched an Instagram account, @Forever21Plus, dedicated to its plus-size offerings. In a slew of comments on the account's images over the past few days, users have argued that the models featured shouldn't be described as plus-size — because they're too slim.

OBSESSED 😍😱 with our latest #Forever21Plus activewear. This marble set is so cute!!!

A photo posted by Forever21Plus (@forever21plus) on


Photos of the brand's plus-size activewear collection, which launched last month, garnered some of the most heated responses. “This is so depressing that she's considered plus sized," one Instagram user commented on the above photo. Another wrote, "That girl is normally skinny." Others went further: "I was her size in grade school and I thought I was fat because of advertising like this." Apparently, the brand even removed a few of the most contentious images of models who were deemed not voluptuous enough by some customers.

"We always appreciate our customers reaching out when they have a concern and therefore have removed some of the images and are working to ensure all of our future posts accurately represent the Forever 21 Plus customer," Linda Chang, VP of merchandising, said in a statement. "As a majority of the content on our social media accounts are user generated by our loyal customers, we encourage them to continue to share their own photos to provide a true representation of our clothing, embracing beauty in all shapes and sizes."


"THIS IS PLUS SIZE?!?!?! SMH," wrote another commenter about the above shot. Another was a bit kinder toward the model in question, but called out how the retailer stocks its plus-size garb and questioned its motives: "This gorgeous lady is not a realistic representation of a plus size babe! And REALLY @forever21plus ...don't ya think...that maybe encouraging plus shoppers to stay hidden and away from your brick and morter [sic] stores with#onlineshoppinganyone is insensitive?!"


Not every photo elicited such angered responses: "I love this because it's real. Her thighs look real af. Keep showing REAL pictures!" Do you think these images are "plus" enough to reside on a plus-size Instagram account?
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