Can’t Take a Joke | The “I Hate My Thighs” Onsie Controversy

I Hate My Thighs at NYU Campus Bookstore by Jason Y Evans via Facebook

I Hate My Thighs at NYU Campus Bookstore by Jason Y Evans via Facebook

This image rolled across my Facebook page this morning. It was posted by Jason Y. Evans who works at NYU. The caption read: “I had a very difficult time not raging out about this in the college store. These are onesies…for infants…guess which one is for girls and which one is for boys. THIS is the problem.”

Not a lot offends me personally. I mean, I get the humor that was intended but I have a hard time finding it funny. There were over 6,000 comments, mostly sharing Evans outrage. Many people called for NYU’s women’s groups or eating disorder support groups to speak out; the anger and frustration of the students being more effective than some comments by a few strangers.

I Googled “I hate my thighs onsie” to see if anyone else was talking about it. Here are two comments on People that summed up what I really didn’t think was a debate.

“Back around the late 70s – early 80s there was a popular expression, “F you if you can’t take a joke.” Geez, I’m getting tired of all these humorless, pseudo sanctimonious fat heads who whine about every little thing, no matter how innocently intended. Good grief! All babies have fat thighs and it’s not like they’re going to get a complex over a shirt they can’t even read. It’s a joke, dummies. Shut up, lighten up and get a life!” –Bo Jest

The other side:

“I can take a joke, but since this is such a sensitive issue, it was in poor taste. I am surprised at how many women in america will settle for the messaging being sent to them about their body. Britian actually has regulations on Photoshopping because some of it is downright false advertising. And “hate speech” from a baby is just skeezy and shows the intention of the parent. (I’d wanna steer clear of someone so overly-judgemental). To a more serious point, why people feel so strongly about this – there is a fat-shaming culture we’re experiencing now and if you say that ain’t bad, would you think for a moment and compare it to racism? It’s degrading someone based upon their appearance. The kind people in the world honestly are waiting for the rest to grow up and get a spine. Acceptance is the goal because then we can finally work together to accomplish the next global initiative. (Big dreams, but TRUE goals) If you’re that primitive of a lizard-brain to point out negative things about other people, it says more about you – people lose respect for you. It never ceases to amaze me what people will teach their kids…please, for the sake of mankind, do not raise a moron!” –Tracy J

If promoting insecurity wasn’t already so pervasive in our society it might be funny. That’s not reality though. Media influence on body image, bullying, and the inescapable effects of a consumerist society are taking their toll on Americans. People are feeling it and they are speaking out against the status quo. Hence the anti-bulling campaigns, eating disorder support groups and the rise of “real beauty” campaigns. These are responses to a problem that is being felt.  Criticizing compassionate people for “not having a sense of humor” just shows a lack of awareness.

When the maker of the onsie, Wry Baby was approached about the controversy they created an alternative onesie that read “Love Me for My Leg Rolls” and asked their fans to vote on their favorite. The Love Me onsie won out and “I Hate My Thighs” was discontinued. The proceeds from both onesies were donated to the Ms Foundation for Women, a group that funds grassroots campaigns supporting women’s issues.∞


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