An employee of a plus-size women’s clothing store was fired over her usage of the word "fat" on her Facebook page.
Connie Levitsky, a former sales associate at Addition Elle, a plus-size women’s retailer in Edmonton, Canada, has been dismissed from her position after using the word "fat" in her job description on Facebook.
"Conquering the world, one well-dressed fat lady at a time," she wrote, as reported by CBC News.
She stated that she removed the job description, per her manager and district manager’s instructions. Although she was told that "everything was fine" and she could resume her duties at the store, the district manager decided to fire her for "embarrassing the company."
"It was explained to me that the company simply just does not want to be associated with the word 'fat' because of the negative connotation attached to it, and they prefer to use the words 'curvy or shapely' or other euphemisms," Levitsky said.
Although Levitsky understands that many plus-size women would rather not describe themselves as fat, the 24-year-old identifies with the "body positivity" movement and does not associate the word with anything negative.
"I am okay with being fat," she wrote on Facebook. "I refuse to let a three-letter word define the course of my life, or how loud my voice is."
"I don't see fat as being a negative thing anymore," Levitsky told CBC News. "I realize that when I take [offense] to a word that is used to hurt me, I'm essentially reinforcing this perpetuation that fat people should be and are ashamed of themselves, [and] that there's something wrong with being fat."
Although the company has since apologized and offered to re-hire her, Levitsky believes returning to the organization would be inappropriate and disingenuous.
If a company like Reitmans Inc. will fire someone for using the word ‘fat’ to describe my place in their company, what does that say about the company? For me, it tells me that, despite the leaps and bounds of the body positivity movement, internalized hate and stigma against fat bodies still runs rampant. This is one less store I can shop at, not because their clothes don't fit me, but because what they don't stand for doesn't.
Levitsky’s original post has been shared more than 3,700 times, with mostly positive feedback.