We can all lay off Starbucks for a while, there’s another controversial company in town. Target is taking some serious heat after consumers found a rather offensive — and quite homely — sweater in stores, emblazoned with the phrase “Obsessive Christmas Disorder.”
Many are criticizing the chain for trivializing the mental illness, with one person posting a photo of herself with the sweater and the caption: “As someone with OCD I’d really appreciate it if you didn’t sell my illness as a fashion statement,” Time reported.
There are a couple things wrong with the “Obsessive Christmas Disorder” sweater. Firstly, it pokes fun at a serious mental illness, and the idea isn’t even original, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
Target’s sweater is apparently supposed to be ugly and is one of many meant for people to wear at trendy ugly sweater parties, at which partygoers are supposed to “don their dullest duds,” according to Time.
No one knows who came up with the phrase “Obsessive Christmas Disorder,” but it’s been borrowed many times over. Plenty of products sold on Amazon, Etsy, and Café Press feature the phrase, and it was also spotted by customers at Cracker Barrel. They were also ticked, AdWeek noted.
i saw these at cracker barrel today n i was disgusted. why do people find therapy and mental illnesses funny??? idgi pic.twitter.com/Phi7upmOtO— soph (@ponyboysCRUNCHY) November 9, 2015
“Obsessive Christmas Disorder” is meant to be a riff on the very real and quite common mental illness OCD, or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Affecting 2.2 million Americans, the disorder is no laughing matter. People who suffer from it are plagued by “unreasonable thoughts and fears” that force them to perform repetitive behaviors. You can have only obsessions and only compulsions, however, according to the Mayo Clinic. The compulsive acts are meant to ease stress.
Target’s “funny” sweater was meant to be cute and though the company has said sorry, they’re sticking to their guns — for now.
“We never want to disappoint our guests and we apologize for any discomfort. We currently do not have plans to remove this sweater.”
Meanwhile, people are posting pictures of the “Obsessive Christmas Disorder” sweater all over social media with terse complaints about Target’s insensitive fashion choices. People have accused the company of being apathetic to the struggles of people with actual OCD. And then there’s this from an op-ed written by mental health advocate Rebecca Fuoco, according to The Huffington Post.
“Making these flippant references (1) trivializes how devastating the illnesses can be and (2) perpetuates myths and misunderstandings.”
Let's not get super offended by the target #OCD sweater. I have actual OCD. OCD is not a joke, but it's just a sweater. Calm down ppl.— Maya McNeal (@mayamaya_papaya) November 11, 2015
The controversy over the “Obsessive Christmas Disorder” is the second this month. Last week, a self-style social media personality and pastor ranted on Facebook accusing Starbucks of erasing the real meaning of Christmas from its holiday cups and hating Jesus. The reason: Starbucks’ cups this year are a simple ombre red and don’t feature any typical Christmas images, though the company has never emblazoned its products with religious themes.
Dunkin’ Donuts, which has something of a rivalry with Starbucks, released their own holiday cups this week, apparently to take advantage of the hullabaloo and take a jab at their competitor, the New York Daily News reported.
News Dunkin’ Donuts releases festive alternative to Starbucks’ controversial cups https://t.co/8KmzNCwrvE— news4trends.com (@news4trends) November 10, 2015
Dunkin’s cups will be decorated with a wreath around the word “Joy,” which isn’t explicitly Christian but does have a rather spiritual bent. Like its coffee competitor, Dunkin’ releases a Christmas-decorated cup every year.
“For many years Dunkin’ Donuts has served coffee in festive cups featuring the word ‘joy’ as part of our annual celebration of the season and holiday offerings. We believe this conveys the happiness and spirit of the holiday season in a way that resonates with our guests.”
With two controversies under our belts in the second week of November, consumers may be a bit nervous about what the rest of the holiday season may hold. A word to companies: be on your best behavior.
What do you think? Do find this sweater insensitive or offensive?
[Photo via Twitter]