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Manatee Gray...Offensive?

Friday, April 05, 2013

So I heard on Bob & Tom (radio show) this morning about this story. Apparently someone was greatly offended because they saw the color name "manatee gray" on Target's plus-size clothing. Now Target's scrambling to fix this marketing snafu.

I have to admit, I laughed quite a bit. Not that the person was offended. But over the fact that someone at Target was dumb enough not to think that one through.

However, it looks like that's the color name they use across the board. Towels, sheets, everything...not just plus-sized clothing. So it wasn't like it was directly targeted at that particular item. So that makes it a little better, I guess.

What do you think? Do you think situations like this warrant that kind of reaction? Do you think the person complaining was being oversensitive or spot on?

I'm kind of back and forth on this one, so I thought it would be interesting discussion fodder.

Link to article:

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
NAYPOOIE 4/8/2013 1:11PM


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JORDANLHALL 4/7/2013 3:12AM

    Man. I think people will get up and arms about anything these days. Forget the shenanigans going on in North Korea, Syria, Egypt, Pakistan, or Somalia... someone at Target came up with a possibly offensive color for a plus size clothing item!

Haha personally I like manatees. They're cute and cuddly. But that's neither here nor there.

It does, however, reveal a slightly scary perspective into our culture's ideas of body image and how things like this can be so consciously accepted that snafu's like this happen thoughtlessly - or worse, as a natural reflex whether the intention was meant or not. And perhaps the reaction to it has more meaning than the original snafu in that regard.

My personal opinion... who cares? But that's just me. Interesting story, though.

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JAYNINNE 4/6/2013 5:24PM

    I, too, think people are way too sensitive these days. If you don't like it, don't buy it. I'm tired of one person complaining and then everything has to be changed because that one person was offended. "Manatee" is the name of a Crayola crayon color. I think it's a far more descriptive color name than "Heather gray". What does "Heather gray" mean anyway?

We're turning into a nanny state, here. Is no one capable of self-regulation?

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SIMONEKP 4/6/2013 1:19PM

    People are way too sensitive and companies cave too easily.

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KITT52 4/6/2013 9:02AM

    personally I always loved the manatees, thought they looked so peaceful and happy floating in the water catching some fact I have a t-shirt from Florida that is grey.....with a manatee on the front..

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People need to get a life, stupidity should be painful

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POMATOJUICE 4/5/2013 9:42PM

    That's crazy! The whole situation is dumb, but I think it's easier to get offended with issues that are sensitive to us. And I know that having shopped in the plus size section for quite a few years, I probably would have gotten offended at that! The fact that it's say.. a descriptive name for a pantone color or whatever is not offensive. If it's the same shade as a manatee, then manatee grey it is! The fact that they slapped that on clothing is kind of silly, though.

That being said.. I thought heather grey was used to refer to grey clothes with that streaky white in it like a sweatshirt? Like you can have heather purple, etc. If the dress was the same solid grey shade and called heather in the smaller size and manatee in the larger, that's just kinda... lol. I mean, it's bad but at the same time it's hard not to laugh and feel like maybe you are going to hell for laughing. :X

You know what always kind of made me angry? Skinny Cow. It's like.. you want some diet sweets so you can be skinny, cow? But... it's tasty, so I buy it anyway :/ I realize they are going for the whole, "Our treats are so guilt-free they are only made from SKINNY cows therefore you will be skinny!!," But I don't know if cow should be on anything other than beef. XD

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GETSTRONGRRR 4/5/2013 9:01PM

    Manatees are graceful aquatic beasts.....I secretly want to be one!

I've Gatorskin tires on my bike, a Rhino skin case for my iPod, and SWMBo still has a very chic pair of Elephant pants leftover from the 70s that she breaks out every now and then

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ALIHIKES 4/5/2013 7:32PM

    What is offensive is calling plus size gray dress "manatee gray" and regular size gray dress in the exact same style exact same color "heather gray". Huffington Post showed photos of the gray dresses -- they ARE the same color. (Target explained two different buyers bought for the different departments and named the colors differently)

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SGRAY478 4/5/2013 7:17PM

    I think people grossly over-react to everything. Seriously. The world has become so PC and people are so sue happy, it is absolutely ridiculous.

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BATCHICK 4/5/2013 6:08PM

    I love manatees. That's all I have to contribute here. emoticon

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BEECHNUT13 4/5/2013 5:18PM

    I think it's become too cool to be offended all the time. When people say "I'm offended" all I think is "Well, I'm not in charge of your feelings!" I also hear my older son, when he was younger say anything and everything "hurt my feelings..." Wow... big deal. Get the eff over it. Being offended is like the societal version of the hipster beard. It's gross.

(And the media just hops right on board...)

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    I don't know that it was intentionally offensive but it's not like larger women are exactly treated with respect. We live in a patriarchal society where women are too often judged by their value as pretty things, so women that don't adhere to society's ideal are, consciously or unconsciously, treated as lesser. It's a way of forcing women to toe the line. So while it may be unintentional, we live in a world where it's an entirely valid question to ask.

Okay, rant over.

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PANDAEVA 4/5/2013 5:15PM

    The first I heard of this was that the person was mad because the shirt or whatever it was in the plus size was called manatee grey, but a similar shirt in the non plus sizes was called heather grey. Personally I think the colors must be different, even just slightly different, and that's why they have different color names. And with you saying that Target used the manatee grey in other items only confirms my thinking. But maybe that's just my thinking.

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1CRAZYDOG 4/5/2013 4:42PM

    Well, the best way to show displeasure is . . . don't buy it! It could have the connotation of being offensive, but again. . . just my opinion . . . don't buy it.

Have to wonder what marketing genius though up the color name. Not too brilliant to come up with a name that is even potentially offensive to your target audience. So be it!


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STSCOTT11 4/5/2013 4:39PM

    I didn't read the link...but here's the crazy part...I HEARD ALL ABOUT it!
Hoping we're talking about the same story...
Heather gray for the smaller sizes...and Manatee gray for the plus sizes.
Am I personally offended...not really.
I don't like the feeling of being treated DIFFERENTLY as a big woman. WHY? Cause I have BEEN THERE.
I would go through looking at clothes and thinking...WOW! That's SO CUTE. When it came to it being IN MY was no where to be found. WHY? Cause they didn't see fit to MAKE IT IN MY SIZE.
I think sometimes we can be a little sensitive cause of our size for different reasons...and we have to work on it.
BUT...let's face it American culture and the media are hard on big women.
They make sure you don't get it twisted. Small sizes are beautiful sexy and desirable. Big sizes are suppose to be comfortable, suitable and as good as the smaller sizes but never really measure up.

I believe WOMEN are THE ONES who take it to heart when it comes to SIZE. THAT IS NOTHING NEW. We are the ones who take clothes SERIOUSLY...that includes not wanting to take on what FEELS LIKE something snide by way of naming different SIZES DIFFERENT NAMES.

Target should have BEEN MORE WISE. Taget could have been a little more CONSIDERATE of their customers. We wouldn't even know WHAT they're talking about if somewhere in the midst of NOT ever wanting to seem like we are too sensitive or lacking self esteem that NOTHING bothers us when it comes to the difference in how bigger and smaller clothes are portrayed and marketed.

If we really bought in that bigger was just as good or better...there would be SUPER PLUS SIZE MODELS. JMO And please don't tell me there are...I am talking Naomi Campbell SUPER STARDOM, Tyra Banks making DOLLARS...not the fact they exist.

Tisk. Tisk. Bad Target. BAD BAD TARGET.

Comment edited on: 4/5/2013 4:45:19 PM

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DUCKY2222 4/5/2013 4:38PM

  It's only a color, they were not saying "Hey Lady you are the size of a Manatee so this is all we have for you" People need to get a grip. What people should be complaining about is that most plus size clothes are just frumpy and ugly period.

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PRETTYPITHY 4/5/2013 4:05PM

    I don't think political correctness sucks -- I think it is an important badge of polite discourse in a civilized society. That sad, this is a bit absurd. It's not like it is insensitive to the "manatee community." emoticon Not every instance of someone being offended by something is a sign that political correctness has run amok and is now imposing censorship on the citizenry. Sometimes, people are just sensitive. It has nothing to do with political correctness and everything to do with the fact that this chick was probably bloated when she tried on the garment, found it didn't fit, then saw the tag and it added insult to injury. emoticon

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    An across the board color is not meant to be insensitive. Probably some Eco-savvy marketing guy who thought manatees are a good cause and would make a nice color name sake.

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SPASTASTIC 4/5/2013 3:53PM

    People get offended so easily about everything nowadays so I'm not surprised. Now if there was a plus sized shirt that said "pig pink" then that'd be offensive.

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A*L*P* 4/5/2013 3:51PM

    Political correctness sucks. Just saying.

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LAILATN 4/5/2013 3:49PM

    I honestly don't think I would have thought that was offensive. I think manatees are really cool! :) Maybe I'm naive.

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VHALKYRIE 4/5/2013 3:49PM

    That goes beyond facepalm into full on faceplant!

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