Urban Outfitters makes mental illness a fashion statement

This morning I saw an article by The Guardian entitled “Don’t shop at Urban Outfitters. Their ‘Depression’ shirt is the latest controversy“. Needless to say, I clicked the link out of curiosity thinking there was NO WAY a corporation would be so stupid as to design a “depression shirt”. But I was wrong, and it gets worse. They also have a shirt with the words “eat less” plastered on the front. 


Lets take a second to think about this. Not only was someone stupid enough to design this shirt, but a whole host of other people who work for Urban Outfitters were also stupid enough to approve it for sales in store! I mean, how DUMB do you have to be? This shirt SCREAMS pro-ana. How is this shirt any different from the content of pro-eating disorder communities online? Well aside from the fact that Urban Outfitters is mainstream and pro-ED sites are not, there is absolutely no difference! 

As someone who has struggled with an eating disorder for 2+ years, I am absolutely disgusted by the “eat less” shirt. I would absolutely love the opportunity to talk to the idiots who designed and approved this shirt. Maybe they need to have a better understanding of what an eating disorder can do to someone. Not only are there long-term consequences and short term health risks to disordered eating, there is also a risk of death. That’s right, DEATH. An eating disorder is like a slow suicide. Therefore, by promoting eating disorder culture, Urban Outfitters is simultaneously promoting suicide. 

AND TO MAKE MATTERS WORSE THEY MAKE A DEPRESSION SHIRT! Its like they don’t even care that they are belittling mental illness. If they really cared, they would have learned their lesson with the “eat less” shirt. But, no! They design not one, but TWO shirts that promote mental illness. Whether the corporation is willing to admit it or not, their clothing is nothing more than a perpetuation of the stigmatization of mental illness. By portraying depression and eating disorders as a fashion statement, Urban Outfitters has glamorized the illnesses rather than recognizing that depression and eating disorders are in fact ILLNESSES. 

Needless to say, I am absolutely disgusted by the apparel that is being sold by Urban Outfitters and I have no intention of ever shopping in any of their stores. Similarly, Sophia Bush has publicly announced her disgust with Urban Outfitters and refuses to shop in the stores ever again. I commend Sophia Bush on her support of mental illness and her refusal to accept the poor messages being portrayed by Urban outfitters. 

The apparel that has been developed by Urban Outfitters is just one more example of how mental illness is still not recognized as the serious issue that it really is. If we are ever going to see a world in which mental illness is no longer stigmatized, we need campaigns such as the Urban Outfitters clothing to be brought to an end. Such stigmatizing culture is not okay, and the sooner society comes to recognize that, the closer we will be to ending the stigma. 



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