Connie Levitsky updated her biography online, like many of us have. Sometimes we try to get creative, other times, we just leave it at our position with the company. But Levitsky is a bold woman and wanted anyone browsing her profile to see that she was more than just a sales associate. Under her job title of “Sales Associate at Addition Elle,” she wrote, “Conquering the world, one well-dressed fat lady at a time.” And that word, it seemed, is a “swear word” to the fashion retailer.
Her shift manager called her when a one of the higher-ups saw her job description. The manager asked her to remove the tagline, and so she did, letting the manager know that it was done, she went back in to work.
In fact, she went back to work for three shifts after being told that everything was fine.
However, one day before a shift, she was surprised to see the district manager in the back room. She was even more surprised to learn that she had been fired “because I had “embarrassed the company.””
Because I had used the word “fat.” Because I had potentially lost some clientele who would be offended by the word. Because the word “fat” does not exist in the company’s vernacular, and because in her house, “fat” is a swear word.”
I have spent years hating the way I look. The word fat used to cut me like a knife — until one day, I looked in the mirror, and accepted that it doesn’t matter how healthy I am eating, or how much time I spend in the gym. I’m fat. I’ll always have fat on my body, and that will never change. And I’m okay with that. I am okay with being fat. I’m okay with not hiding behind euphemisms like curvy or shapely. I refuse to let a three-letter word define the course of my life, or how loud my voice is.
And if you aren’t okay with being fat? If fat is still a word filled with hurt and hate for you? That’s okay. I applaud you for continuing to exist, because God knows it’s hard to do so in a world like this.
I’d like to conclude by saying that I I left the store today with a smile on my face, and a weight on my chest. As part of the body positivity movement, I feel that if companies like Reitmans Inc. are still censoring the word fat, then we are never going to get anywhere.
I embody many identities. I’m a daughter, a sister, a student, a Hufflepuff – you get the drift. But in a world where even the places that are supposed to be made for bodies like mine continue to silence and demean those of us who love ourselves, the only identity that matters is the one that manifests itself as a number on a scale.
#IAmFat, and that’s okay.
The company tried to reach out to her, but she confidently says that even if they offered her old job back, she wouldn’t take it. She is making a stand, and she hopes that this time, more people will listen.