Urban Outfitters “Eat Less” shirt removed from website but still in stores

A thin white woman in a gray tshirt that reads Eat LessVanessa posted last week about Urban Outfitters oh-so-clever father/daughter purity shirt. Because that wasn’t enough sexism for their t-shirt department, the company is also currently selling a shirt that says simply “Eat Less.”

After protest the pro-anorexia shirt has reportedly been pulled from the company’s website. But apparently Urban Outfitters is still selling the shirts in stores.

I really don’t care if “Eat Less” is supposed to be a “joke.” Anorexia and the widespread social pressure for women to be thin by starving ourselves is no laughing matter. This t-shirt doesn’t rise above the cacophony of dangerous images and messages about food – it’s just another harmful product from a company whose advertising is always promoting thin bodies as ideal.

Public outcry has clearly had an impact if the product’s been removed from Urban Outfitters’ website. You can find plenty of ways to take action and continue this momentum via this Facebook group.

Boston, MA

Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

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  • Alexis

    It’s like the whole Abercrombie and Fitch thing all over again. And as one of the girls who orchestrated the A&F Girlcott, I’m tempted to get all the girls back together and do it all over again for this shirt.

  • Surfin3rdWave

    “Eat less” doesn’t mean “develop an eating disorder.” It means… eat less. That’s fairly sound advice that I think most Americans would benefit from heeding, given the obesity epidemic.
    Advertising all over TV, all over the internet, tells us “EAT MORE!!!!!” –that’s the message that every single fast-food restaurant sends us. It’s the message that we cling to like it defines us as Americans. It’s the reason we have one of the shortest life expectancies in the industrialized world. It’s what keeps our fields slathered in pesticides and our landscapes dotted with factory farms.
    The “eat more” messages that we hear in advertisements– THOSE are the “dangerous images and messages about food.” A T-shirt suggesting that we back away from the twizzlers and corn dogs doesn’t seem so dangerous to me.
    For every one woman who is underweight in America, I can find you thirty who are perilously overweight. It’s not “eat less” T-shirts that are harming our health; it’s the “more is better” philsoophy that governs our culture.

  • Jjuliaava

    They need a shirt that reads “Look Dead” or “Be Malnourished” or “Concentration Camp is the New Black”>>>>> I am on a rolllll!!

  • Lydia

    Hmmm. This shirt is definitely problematic, but is it necessarily sexist? Is this message directed only to women and is it necessarily about starving yourself? Maybe it’s a very crudely and insensitively phrased statement against American overconsumption. (Commodifying a subversive, progressive message? Sounds like Urban Outfitters to me!)
    I just have a hard time believing that what they could really be getting at is the kind of self-starvation associated with eating disorders. Hand-wringing about eating disorders has gone mainstream. (Yes, mainstream. When Jessica Simpson and Kim Kardashian are talking about it, it’s mainstream.) Any company that sells stuff that openly promotes them is going to face a shitstorm. So unless they were trying to be deliberately cheeky (certainly possible), could that really have been what they’re trying to do?

  • Toongrrl

    Oh, Urban Outfitters, you’re clothes are expensive and preppy. You push forward the idea that people must be label concious. Now you say that girls have to be thin to wear your clothes. What is wrong with you?

  • smiley

    “After protest the pro-anorexia shirt [...]”
    Why not call it the “healthy living t-shirt”?

  • Jessica Lee

    I don’t know how much credit I want to give them. I want to think that they’re just trying to be “hip”, like their attire tends to be. Still, it’s a fucking stupid shirt.

  • Chris

    “”Eat less” doesn’t mean “develop an eating disorder.” It means… eat less.”
    Context is everything, unless you’re just being willfully ignorant.

  • Jjuliaava

    For every one woman who is underweight in America, I can find you thirty who are perilously overweight.
    Hmmmmm, PERILOUSLY? Really?? I would argue that BMI standards are subject to debate. FAT is not the sole determining element of a person’s overall health.
    I take “EAT LESS” as “EAT LESS THAN NEEDED” like, ya know, to survive.. THIS IS NOT OKAY.
    I am mortified that so many of you think this type of FATISM is alright! Ohhhh, is it because you believe the rhetoric? People who are FAT are disgusting, lazy, stupid, unlovable, it is a personal choice and what’s more– an epidemic! Yep, we’re all gonna die…
    Personally, I view FATISM the exact same as MISOGYNY.

  • Jjuliaava

    For every one woman who is underweight in America, I can find you thirty who are perilously overweight.
    Yeah, we need MORE perilously UNDERWEIGHT GIRLS AND WOMEN, to balance out–is that your point?
    It’s not “eat less” T-shirts that are harming our health; it’s the “more is better” philsoophy that governs our culture.
    Nope, what is “harming our health” is corporate corruption, mass media brainwash, cheap energy dense food, poverty, heredity, stress and on and on…
    I can only speak for myself: My culture teaches that in order to be beautiful (worthy), I must be a ridiculous standard for my body type. That is the philosophy of our Barbie culture. Price Charming’s about to ride up any minute (I hope I’m thin enough). Therefore, MORE IS NOT NEC. BETTER, unless it is money.
    Look, I am just pissed off because I am on a diet… again…

  • uberhausfrau

    the model of this shirt “totally looks like” jay from the kevin smith movies. the hair, physicique, posture, facial expression. i wonder if he was her inspiration.

  • Gular

    It’s only about an eating disorder if you’re willfully ignoring the target audience of the people who’re the target of Urban Outfitters.
    “Eat Less” is a commentary on all forms of consumption. We live where super sizing is king (pun intended). The average size of an American restaurant meal is closely coming to twice the size of the same meal in other countries.
    So, yes, eat less.
    Eat less doesn’t mean don’t eat.

  • Cassius

    I did not see an Anorexia epidemy in America, however what I did see is an obesity epidemie. Not saying there are not cases of anorexia in your country, but from what I have seen “eat less” is good advise for many people there, or eslewhere in the first world for that matter.

  • Surfin3rdWave

    Oh, lovely. It’s acceptable to insult women who are on the thin end of normal, huh? Morbidly obese women are perfectly healthy, despite what every physician, dietician and personal trainer in America will tell you– right?
    –but the thin-ish model– who looks like she’s got a healthy BMI around 19 or so– is clearly a concentration camp victim who looks dead. I see how it is.

  • Amanda Leigh

    If it said “Eat Less Meat” I would definitely buy it. However, I have curves, so I doubt they have my size. Guess I’ll just have to make my own!

  • Jjuliaava

    nope. I never said morbid obesity is “perfectly healthy.” I just said FAT IS NOT THE ONLY DETERMINATE OF ONE’S OVERALL HEALTH!
    The model could have cancer or be strung out on crack AND STILL HAVE A “HEALTHY” BMI.
    AND yeah>>> she does look dead in the pic! Maybe not because of her weight, but the look on her face and in her dead eyes!
    Also, what is considered an “overweight” BMI is like a size 8-12, I am not sure those women in that range are going to die because of their “overweight.”
    So again, BMI is subject to debate. Your personal trainer can debate me.

  • Lydia

    Actually, the comment that Surfin3rdWave responded to had nothing whatsoever to do with bmi or the role of fat in health. It was a response to you comparing thin women to Holocaust victims.
    I’ll try this again because it didn’t get posted the first time. Please do not do this. It is offensive and extremely disrespectful. Make your points by yourself, instead of using the horrible deaths of millions of people as a weapon.