The Range pulls bikini and bride weight loss items

By Jennifer Meierhans
BBC News

  • Published
Emma Conway with the wedding dress weight loss countdownImage source, Emma Conway
Image caption,
The Range said it would stop selling the items highlighted by digital creator Emma Conway

The Range has discontinued weight-loss countdown coin savers in the shape of a bikini and a wedding dress, after complaints over sexist body shaming.

The wall plaques include slots to stash £1 for every pound of weight lost - up to 40lb (18kg) on the bridal version.

Emma Conway saw the items and asked if there were any for men. There were not.

She said: "I left the shop shaking. In 2022 a large chain is feeding into the narrative that women need to be smaller, to drop a dress size."

The Plymouth-based retailer told the BBC it had not set out to offend customers and would not be stocking either product again.

'Bikini body ready'

Ms Conway, a digital creator, known on social media as Brummie Mummy of 2, told her 147,000 Instagram followers she did not have an issue with people wanting to lose weight for a variety of reasons.

"But I asked if there was one for men. Maybe a 'Lose Chunks To Fit In Your Trunks.' There wasn't," she posted.

"It was just for women. To get a bikini body. And to fit in a smaller wedding dress...To put a sign in their houses which they would look at each day," she said.

"To help them get ready to go to the beach. The motivation is not to get fit and healthy. But to shrink themselves. Remember ladies we need to be tiny."

She added: "Anyone reading this, remember how to get a bikini body is to…buy a bikini. And put it on your body."

The Range told the BBC in a statement: "We appreciate that every 'body' is 'bikini ready' all the time, but some of our customers have found this a fun way to help them reach a goal. This product has, however, now been discontinued and we will not be stocking it again."

'Narrow beauty ideal'

Brummie Mummy of 2's post attracted more than 10,000 likes and hundreds of replies.

Among them was author, writer and podcast host, Alison Perry who wrote: "This makes me so angry!"

"The Range this might seem harmless to you but it's really not!" she added.

"You're perpetuating the belief that women have to fit into a narrow beauty ideal to be acceptable. It's dangerous.

"Walking past this in one of your shops could trigger someone and set them off down a path of dieting or disordered eating. Not ok."

Instagram user pushingapianoupahilloftreacle wrote: "I saw these the other day I could not believe it! Utterly amazed that they are allowed to sell this trash! I will be happily wearing my lovely size 18 bikinis this year with pride!"

There were also replies from women who said they did not have a problem with the idea of the wall plaques as motivational tools.

But said they would prefer them to be gender neutral and not tied to events like a holiday or wedding.

Image source, The Range

The Range had advertised its pink spotty bikini wall plaque on its website as "a fun and unique way to save money and get fit" and suggested "you can treat yourself with the cash when you reach your target."

A similar plaque in the shape of a wedding dress had the words "weight loss journey" at the top.

The Range's website said: "Save up the pounds as you slim down to your goal weight for the big day with this Dress Size Pound Countdown Plaque.

"Shaped like a wedding dress with 40 coin-shaped slots, you can place a pound in each one as you lose weight for your special occasion, meaning more money spending money for your honeymoon!"

Image source, The Range

This is not the first time The Range's weight loss countdowns have attracted criticism.

In October, The Independent reported that eating disorder charities said the items "glamorised weight loss".

And in 2019, The Sun reported that they "made women feel unworthy".

When the BBC put Ms Conway's comments to The Range it said: "Occasionally we do inadvertently offend customers, although this is not something we ever set out to do."

The retailer said it had decided to stop selling the items although both were still available on its website at the time of publication.