Ad of the Day: Forget ‘Plus Size.’ JCPenney Just Bravely Stood Up for ‘Fat Girls’

Mcgarrybowen salutes five women with an indomitable spirit

JCPenney takes the stand that your measurements aren't a measure of your worth with its defiant new campaign from mcgarrybowen, themed #HereIAm. The nearly three-minute fist-pump for JCPenney's plus size Boutique+ puts the focus on five fabulous fat girls who are defying society's limited perceptions of what you're allowed to do beyond a certain size.

Popular fashion blogger GabiFresh, Project Runway-winning designer Ashley Nell Tipton, best-selling author Jes Baker, singer Mary Lambert and yoga lover Valerie Sagun give poignant and personal perspectives on their personal journey toward self-love.

It's a journey the rest of society will have trouble with, if the comments are any indication. There's a ridiculous idea that JCPenney is encouraging obesity just because the video suggests you shouldn't be an asshole to fat people by telling them what they can or can't do as a result of their weight.

A lot of the hateful commentary is disguised as a sincere concern for the health of the women in the video—that is, the comments that aren't straight-up hate.

But whether it's rocking some yoga or rocking onstage, "fat girls can [and should] do whatever they want." Shaming people for their shape is frankly, shameful. Health shouldn't even enter into the discussion of whether or not it's OK to be an jerk to other people.

Which is why it's perfect that JC Penney chose actual fat girls and used the word fat. Not like how Glamour magazine put Amy Schumer (size 8) in their plus-size issue. It's not OK to only be OK with girls who are a little overweight. Body positivity doesn't stop at size 12.

One commenter disgustingly suggested, it's OK to be fat as long as you're "still pretty"—you know, like Ashley Graham on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The measure of another human being's worth is not how much you may or may not want to sleep with them. 

But if it's not your measurements, what does make you a valuable person?

JCPenney suggests the answer lies in an indomitable spirit—something all five women have in spades. Oddly enough, an indomitable spirit is something that JCPenney needs itself, to keep pushing and evolving its brand despite challenges to its business model from every direction.

I'm sorry I said those bad things about you, JCPenney, particularly when I said you were too old for the club. That was ageist as hell. You can be whatever you want as a brand, and I applaud you.


Client: JCPenney

Agency: mcgarrybowen

Chief Creative Officer: Matthew Bull

Executive Creative Directors: James Cheung, Cliff Skeete

Copywriters: Danny Wantz, Anna Xiques, Jessica Zalaznick

Art Directors: Simon Woodham, Paula Figueroa, Erik Jansen

Director of Content Production/Executive Producer: Paisley McCaffery

Associate Producer: Lauren Lampasi

Managing Director, Integrated Production: Dante Piacenza

Managing Director of Music Production: Jerry Krenach

Executive Music Producer: Jarrett Mason

Music Licensing Supervisor: Kaylyn Keane

Director, Talent Services: Sue Ayson

Business Manager: Marie Sawicki

Account Managing Director: Alaina Lovera

Account Supervisor: Ali Napier

Production Company: Missing Pieces

Founder/EP – Ari Kuschnir, Missing Pieces

partners/EP – Brian Latt, Kate Oppenheim, Missing Pieces

head of production – Dave Saltzman, Missing Pieces

Director: Tucker Walsh

Editors: Liz Deegan, Missing Pieces

Steve Bell, Cutters

Recommended articles