Lorna Jane has been slammed for posting a ‘discriminatory’ job advertisement, but is it really worth the outrage? Absolutely not.
The first thing I did this morning was put on my gym clothes, including my beloved Lorna Jane leggings.
So, imagine my shock when I turned on the TV after my work-out and saw that one of my favourite labels was there in the headlines, and for a very bad reason.
“Lorna Jane slammed for discriminatory receptionist job advertisement.”
I was shocked, horrified and disgusted. However, as a long-time lover of Lorna Jane I decided to have a closer look at the advertisement (below) which was posted last Friday and taken down yesterday.
People are outraged. They’ve made complaints, they’ve started social media crusades and threatened to never buy from the brand ever again, but I think they’ve got it all wrong.
Firstly, before you throw Lorna and I to the wolves, here’s a little background on why my point of view is worth listening to.
This time last year I started a life overhaul. For me, that meant a big change of lifestyle including eating healthy, joining a gym and embarking on a twelve week fitness challenge. I had always envied the girls who could wear Lorna Jane products, firstly because I didn’t think I was fit enough to pull them off and secondly because, well, I was just too intimidated to walk into the store.
Before I started my little health journey I decided that in order to feel comfortable at the gym I wanted to be in clothes that made me look good and, more importantly, feel good. So I decided to treat myself, to be brave and purchase a pair of tights from Lorna Jane.
From the second I walked into the store to the moment I walked out, I felt supported- and not just from the amazingly sculpted leggings- but from the support and encouragement shown by the staff who helped me out. I wasn’t forced to buy anything, instead I was listened to. I’m not saying this to endorse the brand. I’m saying it because I genuinely felt motivated, inspired and happy just from being in the store.
One of the great things about LJ- and I’m sure many people would agree with me here- is their attitude to a nourishing life. LJ makes sure every women feels beautiful and knows that every woman deserves to feel comfortable when exercising.
This is why I was so shocked when the advertisement appeared in front of me this morning. The social media backlash that followed the job description of “Receptionist/ Fit Model” is nothing short of incredible. But, as far as social media goes, not surprising. I’m sure you’ve read all the comments so I won’t show them to you again. However, most of them go along the lines of “sizeism and discrimination- receptionists come in all shapes and sizes”.
But the thing to remember here is that the job description is not just for a receptionist role. It’s for a Fit Model as well. The successful applicant will be fulfilling two roles in the company and at the heart of the situation is a company which provides a range of clothing that values consistent sizing across their range.
As a part-timer working in the retail industry for a department store- and as a person who wears clothes- I can tell you that one of the biggest frustrations customers face is inconsistency in sizing. So what Lorna Jane is really doing is giving the customers what they want- consistency. And how do they do this? By using a fit model.
A simple Google search will provide you with a Wikipedia description of a fit model or a “fitting model” who are described as, “a person who is used by a fashion designer or clothing manufacturer to check the fit, drape and visual appearance of a design on a “real” human, effectively acting as a live mannequin.” Moreover, the role of a fit model is to professionally provide feedback on the fit of the garment.
A spokesperson from the company told news.com.au , their previous size small fit model had recently left the company and as it was not a full time role they decided to incorporate it with the receptionist role, adding that many of the staff fulfill multiple roles in the company. A comment on their Facebook page also said, “we certainly pride ourselves on hiring healthy, active women of all different shapes and sizes, but as we hope you can understand, a fit model must have certain dimensions to help with our garment measurements.”
So the question I pose to you is, would we be having this discussion if a medium or large sized fit model had left the company and needed to be replaced? Probably not. So why the outrage, Australia?
The other side of the argument that seems to have become lost in the shuffle is that the brand is first and foremost a business. Lorna Jane is a sought after brand and company and many, many girls want to work for Lorna Jane- myself included. This company no doubt receives an exorbitant amount of resumes for every position they advertise and to save their time, and that of the applicants, they were able to narrow down the requirements needed to fulfill the role. Isn’t that what job descriptions normally do?
A size small fit model needs to be a specific height, waist, hip and bust measurement, so why is that considered discriminatory? I usually take a size small and am qualified for the job, however my bust measurement is too small, my hips are too wide and I’m too short. Would I therefore devote my time and effort to a job I’m clearly not qualified for? No. I would wait for a position I am clearly qualified for. Was I surprised at the measurement specifics? Sure. Was I a little bummed that I didn’t qualify for the job just because my hips are too wide? Absolutely. I love my body and although I don’t match the industry standard of a size small measurement it doesn’t mean I think anything less of myself or of Lorna Jane.
So I agree with Lorna Jane’s defense- it was just a simple misunderstanding.
What do you think about the Lorna Jane advertisement? Do you think it was discriminatory or justified?