Friday, September 08, 2006
The other day I wrote to the proprietors of spanx.com about the names that they use for their color choices. This is the first time that I have ever done anything like this, but the books that I read about this sort of thing say that you have to take action of you want anything to change.
Backstory: Spanx.com uses the word "nude" to describe one of their colors. I think we all know the approximate shade of this color, because they are not the first in the pantyhose material industry to use this word. Problem is, this color is nowhere near to what I look like when I am nude. And I'm sure that the same is true for many other people. Like the title of this post says, it's not really necessary to call it nude, because when we were all using our coloring books back in the day, we knew that "peach" was the color that you used for Ken and Barbie. And peach isn't particularly exclusionary. So what follows is a copy of the email that I sent them:
I am writing to say that I have heard nothing but rave
reviews about your products, and was excited to visit
your website to see what products you might have that
would be suitable for me to wear during my upcoming
My excitement quickly turned to dismay however, when I
saw the color names for your products. The use of the
term "nude" is unfortunate, because women with no
clothes on come in a variety of shades. Most women
when "nude" do not match the color of the products
that you have displayed.
Realize that I am not requesting that you make a line
of products for every skin tone, I understand that you
are a business and that probably would not be cost
effective. I am just asking that you reconsider your
choice of wording in describing your most popular
color, in order to be more inclusive of all women and
to acknowledge the diversity of all of our shades.
This would allow many more women to feel "comfortable
and confident" in your products.
I look forward to receiving your reply.
I put my real name at the end, that change is purely for branding purposes :) I was really proud of myself about the "comfortable and confident" part, because that's what's in their misson statement. Anyhow, I sent that email about a week and a half ago to every person who's email address was listed on their website (about 5 people). So far I haven't heard anything back.
The thing that sucks about it is I really think because I am black, they are not as likely to listen to me as they would be if I was white. Because they can tell themselves that the black person is being "oversensitive." And it's true, I am being sensitive, in the sense that I am paying attention. However, I didn't lose any sleep over it nor was I checking my email every five minutes waiting for a response. I would look at this as an example of just one more annoying thing that I have to put up with.
I am just supposed to know that nude doesn't really mean nude for me.
So if you're white and give a crap, maybe you should write them. If you're not white you can write them too, but try to find 50 more of your non-white friends to do it with you. their email address is email@example.com
As always, I welcome your comments.