A department store’s decision to describe women who where plus-size as “rotten” and “extremely terrible” is going about as well as one could reasonably expect.
Exactly why RT-Mart, a Taiwan-based retail chain with 416 stores in China, chose to promote large women’s sizing as “horrible,” while smaller sizes were called “slim” and “beautiful,” has not been fully explained.
A photo of the sign at an undisclosed RT-Mart location, shared on Chinese social-media platform Weibo, went so far as to include a size key indicating in which section women of certain heights and weights ought to shop, according to CNN Business, which could not independently verify the photo. “Suggested women’s sizing chart,” the sign read, aimed at women between the ages of 18 and 35.
The photo has since racked up over 4 million views on the network, with a caption that reportedly reads, “I was shocked when I saw this size chart at a RT-Mart today. Am I completely rotten?”
RT-Mart was quick to issue an apology following the backlash, saying they “deeply [regret] causing discomfort to the public due to inappropriate words used in some of its promotional materials,” and claimed the incident was isolated.
“After the incident, RT-Mart thoroughly inspected all RT-Mart stores immediately,” the company said. “After investigation, it was confirmed that such an incident occurred in one store, and the headquarters has quickly requested the store to remove all signs.”
A Weibo user reportedly called the sign indicative of China’s sexist culture at large.
“As long as there was one staff member questioning this, it would have been impossible to put it out,” they wrote.
China Women’s News, a site operated by the pro-communist group All China Women’s Federation, decried the “detestable” sizing chart.
“Don’t lose respect to grab attention. Advertising and marketing should reflect the corporate values and cultural image. A responsible company should not conduct marketing this way. Learn the lesson!” the group said.
The controversy comes about a month after Chinese President Xi Jinping, speaking on women’s issues, said at a United Nations conference that world leaders should reiterate efforts “to promote gender equality and advance the global cause of women’s development.” The president also pledged $10 million to UN Women over the next five years.
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