Teenage Girl Celebrating Her Birthday Gets Kicked Out of Store for Being “Too Big”
If a thin woman were shopping at a Lane Bryant, would she be kicked out for being too skinny? I’ve never heard of such a thing happening, but unfortunately I recently came across a story of the reverse.
When Shelby Buster, a 14-year-old girl from Oregon, was on a shopping trip with a friend for her birthday, she was told to leave the store Rue 21 by a saleswoman who said, “Hey, you’re too big to be in this store, I need you to leave.” Buster wasn’t even shopping for clothing (not that it matters).
After her shopping trip, Buster took to Facebook to share what happened and received an outpouring of support from commentators ranging from promises to never shop at Rue 21 again to messages like, “You’re beautiful, Shelby. I support you.”
Since sharing what happened, Rue 21 posted the following “apology” on Facebook:
At rue21 we value diversity and welcome all customers in our stores. We intensely train our associates on our anti-discrimination policies, and we offer a variety of apparel trends and sizes, as well as accessories, footwear, and fragrances in our 966 stores nationwide. We are currently investigating the claims of Ms. Buster, including conducting interviews with store associates and other witnesses who were present at the time of alleged incident. The alleged behavior, if true, would be absolutely unacceptable and contrary to company policy. We deeply regret any misunderstanding that may have occurred.
Was it necessary for Rue21 to promote their business (“we offer a variety of apparel trends and sizes, as well as accessories, footwear, and fragrances in our 966 stores nationwide”) while addressing what happened? No, and I found it distasteful and obnoxious to do so especially because in this so-called “apology” there is actually no apology at all.
I hope that the company does continue to investigate what happened and offers Buster an actual apology soon.
For Buster, I hope she finds some solace in the support she has received online and is proud of herself for sharing what happened; I’m sure her story has helped other girls. I hope she can also be inspired by Mary Lambert, the singer who collaborated with Macklemore on “Same Love,” who recently posted the following on her Facebook page:
I am a big girl. A voluptuous, curvy, dress-wearing lesbian. I love my body; it’s the only one I’ll ever have. I eat a lot of greens and work out and drink gin martinis and put M&Ms in my froyo and sometimes I don’t do anything but watch Project Runway. I am allowed to look sexy, feel sexy, and be in love. I am worthy of all of those things, and so are you. Own your good and bad, and all the scary parts that you’ve been covering up because it is yours and no amount of judgement can tell you how to love your body. In the words of Sonya Renee, the body is not an apology. You are magic.
If that doesn’t make her feel better she should listen to “The Armpit Song” by Siwan Clark and get a laugh at all the crazy things women are required to do to be “beautiful.”
Clark says, “I’m not brave enough to take a stand on my own…” Maybe together with girls like Buster we can all change the beauty equation together.