Urban Outfitters: Exploiting Mental Illness

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Urban Outfitters Fashion exploiting mental illness

A friend tweeted this picture last night, taken from the Urban Outfitters website. As you can see from the photos, Urban Outfitters is currently selling two t-shirts exploiting/making fun of mental illness, one saying 'depression' and one saying 'eat less'. I would love to find out who approved the production and sale of these t-shirts, and ask them why they thought it was acceptable?
Depression and eating disorders are very serious illnesses, but because they are not always physically visible, people like Urban Outfitters think they can make a quick buck exploiting other people's pain.

What sort of message is this sending to customers of Urban Outfitters? That it's okay to be a bully and completely judgemental about mental illness? That people should in fact actually eat less and be disgusted with their own bodies?

It is this negative, close minded bullshit that reinforces young and vulnerable people's ideas that they are not good enough, not pretty enough, or not skinny enough to be deserving of love or happiness. This constant judgement that anyone suffering from a mental illness is crazy or weird (or in Urban Outfitter's case, easily exploitable) does nothing to help anyone who thinks they have a mental illness to reach out and ask for help. According to mental health statistics, 10% of children in the UK have a mental health problem at any one time- and no wonder, when all that they are surrounded by is the constant notion that thin and pretty = successful, and anything else is not acceptable. How can big stores like Urban Outfitters feel comfortable knowing they could be contributing to a child having a mental health issue? Obviously children are not their target market - children are not the target market of a large majority of the media surrounding us, but it's still easily accessible and the messages are all the same.

Statistics also state that 1 in 4 adults have a mental health issue, and that the UK has the highest self harm rate in Europe - showing that mental health is a real problem with real consequences. Glorifying it as some commercial slogan or 'cool statement' is disgusting and is going to do nothing to help reduce this statistic.


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1 comment:

  1. Very shocked to see these items sold by a store whose market is young girls! Why would they think this was acceptable? Thanks for sharing x

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