Were there no plus-size models available?
That’s what many people are asking after an online retailer, Plus Size Baby, used thin models to advertise plus-size underwear.
On their website and on Twitter, Plus Size Baby shows slender models wearing lingerie several sizes too big for them.
The models seem to further exaggerate the size contrast with their poses, holding out the underwear to show how much wider it is than their bodies.
Reactions on social media were swift and, predictably, furious.
“So.... you’re a plus size company..... with plus sized models..... but not for your lingerie advertisements?” one Twitter user wrote in a reply to one of the company’s posts. “You literally had an XS girl STRETCH THE MATERIAL TO SHOW HOW BIG IT IS ON HER. ARE YOU SERIOUS? This CANNOT be real right now.”
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“Y’all HAVE to be joking right?” another person tweeted.
“Seems very insulting and almost like they're mocking the size instead of making them look flattering and sexy,” another Twitter user wrote.
People also called out some of the product names, including underwear being marketed as “oversized panties.”
“Oversized? That just screams out 'abnormal' to me," one person tweeted. "Why on Earth are you showing plus sized clothing on a slim model?! To show just how much fatter us plus sized women are?"
Others questioned why even small-size underwear that fits a slender model is being advertised as plus-size.
Yet another social media user pointed out that Plus Size Baby is not only using this marketing technique for underwear.
TODAY Style reached out to Plus Size Baby for comment and will update this post if we hear back.
On its website, the company does say that it wants women to be proud of their bodies.
“Plus size models promote the beauty of the female body as it is and prove that ladies do not need to starve to death to look sexually appealing,” a message on their website reads, in part. “If you belong to those who are proud of their bodies without dieting, you have come to the right place.”
But whatever the intent may have been, using thin women to model plus-size clothes does seem like a baffling marketing tactic in this age of increased awareness and inclusivity of diverse body types.
This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Back in 2017, the online retailer Wish faced criticism for showing thin models fitting their entire bodies into plus-size tights.
A third-party seller on Amazon also came under fire in 2017 for showing a slender model standing in one leg of a pair of plus-size leggings.
As many people have pointed out, marketing plus-size clothing like this is a sure way to alienate the very customers they’re trying to attract.
“What a way to get your demographic to never support your brand,” one person said on Twitter. “Do better.”