A Kansas mom’s letter to a sales assistant who asked her 13-year-old daughter to start wearing Spanx — or slimming underwear — has gone viral on Facebook, receiving more than 74,000 shares at the time of writing.
Megan Harris and her daughter Lexi went shopping for a formal dress at Dillard’s last week when Megan spotted a red gown — similar to the one Jennifer Lawrence wore during the Golden Globes — and Megan wanted her daughter to try it out. Although initially reluctant, Lexi wore the dress and posed for a photograph for her mother, according to the New York Daily News.
But the pair were left shocked when an unidentified Dillard’s sales assistant came to Lexi and asked her to start wearing Spanx if she wanted to wear the dress to a dance. Even though the Kansas mom avoided creating a ruckus at the unwarranted suggestion at the time, she later took to Facebook to write an open letter to the sales assistant.
In the letter, the Kansas mom wrote that saying insensitive things to young girls can be damning for their self-esteem and asked the sales assistant to avoid doing such things in the future.
“You entered and told my daughter she needed to wear SPANX if she wanted to wear this dress. I told my daughter to go change. I told you that she was just fine without SPANX. You continued to argue with me. We left soon after. I wish I had told you how many girls suffer from poor self image and telling them they need something to make them perfect can be very damaging. Girls of all ages, shapes and sizes are perfect because that is how God made them. If they feel good in a dress, that is all that should matter. My daughter is tall, she swims, runs, dances and does yoga. She’s fit. She’s beautiful. She did not need you telling her that she is not perfect.
“You never know what negative or positive thoughts they are thinking about themselves.”
The Kansas mom’s letter went viral after it was posted, evidently striking a chord with millions of similar-thinking parents around the world. Megan hoped that her letter will be shared enough times for it to reach the sales assistant it was addressed to, and the people on Facebook made sure that was the case.
According to KAKE, Megan and her daughter began receiving up to 1,000 messages a day from sympathizers, a response which has left the pair overwhelmed.
“I want to thank everybody that has been so kind and sent us wonderful messages,” the Kansas mom said. “It’s been an amazing experience to have that.”
The teenage daughter echoed her mother’s sentiments, saying each message she received meant a lot to her.
“It means a lot,” she said. “I’ve gotten a lot of messages saying how that I’m beautiful, and I shouldn’t care what the lady said.”
In light of the overwhelming support, the Kansas mom reiterated that she does not want Dillard’s to fire the employee but merely wishes that the sales assistant does not do the same thing to other girls of Lexi’s age. She certainly got her point across to people, and by all probability, the sales assistant has understood the message too.
In any case, Dillard’s issued a statement after the case came to their attention, and the company emphasized that the store will take more care to be sensitive to their customers in the future.
“At Dillard’s, our mission is to help people feel good about themselves by enhancing the natural beauty found in all of us,” said Julie Johnson Bull, a corporate spokesperson for the company. “We train our sales associates with the goal of creating a completely positive experience with each visit. It is certainly never our intent to offend our customers. We have reached out to this customer and her daughter, and we appreciate the outreach of so many of our followers and customers to bring this issue to our attention.”
All said and done, the Kansas mom’s open letter has certainly renewed a vigorous debate on body-shaming on social media, and hopefully it will continue to inspire other parents like her.
[Image via Megan Harris/Facebook]