Macy’s removes ‘mom jeans’ plates following complaints they promote eating disorders

Pourtions brand plates were pulled from the shelves at Macy's after complaints they are body shaming. (Photo: Alie Ward/Twitter)

Sometimes all it takes is one person — or one tweet — to make a difference. 

Just look at Twitter user Alie Ward. She spotted Pourtions brand plates sold at Macy’s and tweeted a photo of the plates on Sunday captioned, “How can I get these plates from @Macys banned in all 50 states.”

Ward took offense with the plate’s design, which featured three concentric circles allegedly meant to help with portion control. The smallest circle showed how much to eat to fit into “skinny jeans” with the largest circle equaling “mom jeans.” 

Macy’s removed the plates, which were sold at their Story shop in New York City, the same day. 

Ward tells USA TODAY that “ban” is really too strong a word, it was hyperbole and she didn’t expect immediate action. A CBS science correspondent for the series “Innovation Nation,” Ward called the plates “inherently misogynistic and body shaming.”

She can’t take credit for the plates removal alone, Ward said. Her tweet received 31,000 likes, 3,700 retweets and 2,900 comments, including body positivity activist and actress Jameela Jamil (The Good Place), whose explicit response means we can’t repeat it here.  

“Yes it was a single tweet, but it was retweeted by a chorus of thousands who were also grossed out by the sentiments,” Ward said. 

Twitter user @AnnaPuchkoff wrote the “expectations can actually kill someone.”

“This is a toxic message, promoting even greater women beauty standards and dangerous health habits,” she wrote.

One woman decided she would rewrite the plates to reflect a more positive message. She replaced the words mom jeans, favorite jeans and skinny jeans with the words you are great and still great.

Macy’s said “We missed the mark” 

In the midst of the Twitter discussion, Macy’s responded.

The department store addressed Ward directly on Twitter. “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.”

Macy’s launched Story concept shops, a collection of curated merchandise, in most all of its stores three months ago. But in a statement to USA TODAY on Monday, Macy’s said the plates were removed Sunday afternoon from the single Story store in which they were sold in Herald Square in New York.

The plates creator, Pourtions, also issued a statement saying the intent was to make a “lighthearted” product on the “important issue of portion control.”

“Pourtions is intended to support healthy eating and drinking,” wrote Pourtions’ president Mary Cassidy in an email. “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.” 

This is about “much more than” plates

Ward said she was called names and told to lighten up, but said “this is about much more than one set of plates.” 

It’s about speaking out. 

“It’s about using shame to peddle products to women who are all too aware of what parameters society wants for our bodies: not too matronly, not too large, not too fit or then they’re vain (expletive),” Ward said.” It’s all a mind game to steal our attention and once you’re aware of that machine, you can’t unsee it.”


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