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DEAR TORRID: A love/hate letter.
theoryofgravity wrote in fatshionista
Hi folks! Recently your mods received a missive from Torrid's newish representation on LJ, torrid_inc, asking about promotional opportunities in fatshionista. That's not going to happen, not least because we're trying to be stricter than ever with any kind of promo posting (and any flexibility on the subject historically has only been extended to support small, fat-owned and/or fat-friendly businesses). BUT, it did occur to me that this is a great opportunity to make our multitude of voices and opinions heard to a major US plus-size manufacturer, and to do so in a space and environment controlled by us, and not by some third party organizing a focus group.

So this here is an open letter to Torrid. If you've got a Torrid-related opinion, be it props or grievance, please share it in comments below. This will likely be a crazy jumble of contradictory statements from lots of people, and that's okay. Companies still listen, and as frustrated as we often are by limited or undesireable plus-size "options", this is a chance to speak up. We know Torrid's listening, so let's tell them something.

My contribution is dress-related, unsurprisingly:

Dear Torrid,

I hate your tube dresses and halters and your prints occasionally make me retch. Please bring back appropriately-sized Stop Staring! dresses, or another variety of retro-styled, well-made, predictably-fitting dresses.

Also, please learn from past mistakes and don't ever pull this shit again.



Your turn.

ETA: To clarify the series of events here - Torrid emails the mods asking to do promotions in fatshionista. The mods say NO. I, individual mod, think that it might be interesting and useful for everyone involved to make a post inviting members to share their feelings about Torrid, since we now know Torrid is taking notice of goings-on in fatshionista. This big SHARING CIRCLE may even have measureable benefits for us as consumers if Torrid sees fit to take our suggestions to heart. Everybody wins.

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"Also your website is WCAG non-compliant, violating the ADA 503 compliance."

This comment stuck out for me.

I mean, isn't the ADA, this:

The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, State and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications.

I don't really see how Torrid falls under these categories/areas.
Unless they have made a point about stating they are in fact WCAG compliant?

(For what it's worth, I would like to see every website compliant. Highly unlikely, for sure. But I don't see how Torrid is violating the ADA.)

Check WCAG first - that's what I said was non-compliant. There actually *is* an international standard for web accessibility! Note that it's section 508 not 503, my bad:

Here's the (US-centric) National Council on Disability's paper on ADA Title III's implications re: web design and accessibility:

Here's a blog with links to the Target vs. NFB court case that occurred a few years ago in which brick-and-mortar shops retailing online were found to be violating the ADA:

Web standards are recommendations, yes?
With a future move towards being mandatory.
They are not yet, is my point.

I know about the Target case.

You said it was non-compliant AND (and thus or hence) violating the ADA (508) compliance.

I am no expert on all of this, I merely spend many days being the sounding-board for my web-guy husband.
He works for the federal gov't and web standards are his thing.

So it's okay with you if it's only a recommendation. Okay.

I think she's saying that it can't be violating anything if it's only a 'recommendation'.

Of course not.

"With a future move towards being mandatory."

My hope is that every website is compliant.
And every b&m store is accessible.
And every television program is closed-captioned.
And every special needs child is given appropriate accommodation in our education system.

But we don't get these things by stating mis-information.

"Special needs" is incredibly demeaning. As is this little monologue on how you "hope" things happen - that's great for you. Glad you hope. Thing is, the law states these things must happen. IDEA states accommodations must be made, ADA and Rehabilitation Act state accommodations must be made. Applications of those laws happen. So hope is kind of a moot point now, ain't it? It's just plain supposed to happen.

Note my statement below. NOT misinformation, actually.

I believe I've stated why.

I don't know why special needs is demeaning.
Differently abled?

I tread lightly because I will not impose onto others what they themselves would like to be "known as". (for lack of a better term)

We do use "special needs" in our family.
Because, my son(s) have special needs! Go figure.

I truly did not mean to get into an argument with you.
Accessibility IS very important to me.
As I can see it is for you.

Yeah I think we're both incredibly passionate about the same thing. I don't want to argue either! :( I hate the term "special needs" though my master's is considered "special ed" - terms that indicate (to me) that reasonable accommodations, accessibility and inclusion-formats are special which could then be argued as unreasonable or burdensome. Rather all of this is quite reasonable, often beneficial to able-bodied folk as well, and more about differentiation than anything else. I've been fighting a losing battle on language with special ed teachers who also call their students "my little guys/girls" - again incredibly inappropriate. As if children with disabilities were precious snowflakes and not simply children with disabilities living life as barrier-free as possible.

I also gag at "inspirational" stories of any flavor; I think specializing, inspirational-storifing, etc. turns people with disabilities into simple mirrors to reflect able-bodied culture and all that able-bodied people can do (see, if crip can, then surely I can too!) rather than inverting the idea that persons with disabilities are incapable of anything.

But I'm also a fiercely independant blind cripple....so take all my language stuff with a grain of salt.

The WCAG standards have been approved as international design guidelines - read that as you will.
I find it distressing that you would argue against accessibility rather than for it. According to the Target settlement, Torrid could legally be sued and found ADA-non-compliant. Hence my statement. They are technically section WCAG section 508 and ADA Title III non-compliant and thus liable. It's only a matter of time before fat blind people raise a stink...maybe...since being fat and blind is taboo these days.

I am not arguing against accessibility.

Target settled without admitting any wrong doing.
There was a dollar amount paid out and their site is still not compliant.
That is not the goal.
And quite frankly, millions of people still shop at Target, so they didn't even really get any bad PR. (Outside of people that have a direct interest in accessibility.)
Again, not the goal.

A law has to be for the betterment of disabled people, not so we become an EVEN MORE litigious society.

The hope is that web standards DO become mandatory.
But my only point was saying that they aren't yet.
No law is being broken by Torrid.

I will give you the Target case settlement as an act of arbitration.

HOWEVER my comment stated WCAG and ADA non-compliance, something I still stand by. They are still violating WCAG (I never said WCAG was law, I said they're violating it) and they are still in my and several judge/law-folk's opinions violating title III of the ADA.

And often Litigation results in laws that protect and benefit a group of people. Perhaps the more companies sued under these claims, the more companies will comply appropriately.

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