Many people groan when they see Christmas decorations up weeks before Thanksgiving. But in South Florida, the groan gave way to a growl over a Dear Santa sign that seemed to tell girls to be thinner and wealthier than they already are, according to WPTV-TV.
A Dillard's department store in Wellington, Florida, had a sign, which was also for sale, with what was supposed to be a humorous Christmas theme:
But instead of being in the home merchandise area with similar merchandise, the "whimsical" sign was in the girls' section, as a Dillard's spokesperson told USA Today.
Dear Santa, this year please give me a big fat bank account and a slim body. Please don't mix those two up like you did last year. Thanks.
Facebook user Julie Khanna noticed the sign and took a picture, then uploaded it, writing, "This is NOT the message we should be sending our girls!!" She said that a manager agreed to take the sign down temporarily but could not do it permanently without the store manager's approval.
In a separate post, she noted that the sign looked "intentionally placed" rather than accidentally positioned. "My intentions were for it to be shared enough times that Dillard's would get the message that there are many people that wouldn't want their children seeing things like that, and even better, maybe other retailers would think twice," Khanna wrote.
Dr. Robyn Silverman, author of "Good Girls Don't Get Fat: How Weight Obsessions is Messing Up Our Girls and How We Can Help Them Thrive Despite It," told Yahoo Parenting, "It's time for retailers to stop making a joke out of women's body image." She Silverman further said, "Retailers and advertisers use these kinds of messages to make us feel bad so we'll buy more from them to make this wish come true."
In response to the backlash, Dillard's removed the sign from its 298 stores, according to USA Today. Since the image first hit social media, Dillard's (DDS) stock price dropped by nearly 6 percent.