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Torrid experiences customer backlash after controversial body positivity ad

Reactions to Torrid’s recent campaign featuring plus-size male model Troy Solomon are less than encouraging. In an image to promote their Lisa Frank line, Troy is shown rocking a tank top, leggings that say “bad ass,” and a pink shell purse. Not only is the image highlighting the gender-fluid fashion market, it’s also giving a platform to the underserved male body-positive movement. Some fans of the brand, however, took this as a slight to women who shop at the store. “Umm…pretty weird. Is torrid actually advertising for men to wear torrid? Who’s in charge of this Instagram account? This is a woman’s store,” one commenter wrote. “Closing my Torrid account now,” claimed another.

In response, dozens of people responded to the image’s critics by saying body-positivity isn’t exclusive to any gender. One shopper said, “all you people saying negative nasty things, please don’t shop at torrid because you’re part of the finger pointing problem. If he is happy, I am happy for him.” A former employee chimed in the conversation to highlight how men have been shopping at Torrid for years without being represented in the ads. “As a former employee of Torrid for 5 years, I can honestly say it’s not that uncommon to see Men shopping in Torrid for themselves and it’s about time they are represented!” She continued, “Not everyone has to be happy about the companies decision to post this amazing photo. It is however not ok to shame patrons for their decision to shop and feel amazing in their body and clothes.”

In an interview with Mic, Troy claimed that he was not surprised by the reaction; however, he makes an important point that the movement to inclusivity can’t have exceptions. In order to move forward, body positivity needs to be extended not only to white women but to all gender identifications, abilities, and races. In the end, it is interesting to note that despite the discouraging backlash, the Torrid shirt highlighted in the image is now sold out.

This article originally appeared on Teen Vogue.

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