A Response to My Huffington Post Article

As you may have seen, an article I wrote for the Huffington Post went viral over the weekend. At last count it had been liked 115K+ times,  shared on Facebook 26k+ times and with over 600 comments it’s safe to say that people connected with what I had to say. If you haven’t read it yet, you can do so here.

Although, not everyone was a fan of my perspective.

I thought I’d take a moment to respond to a couple of the things that people took issue with.

I don’t care what size clothing they sell at AF. If they choose not to sell XL then that’s their choice and I have no issue with it. What I did take issue with, was the way Mr. Jeffries chose to message their marketing platform.

In the article, I referenced my struggles with weight to illustrate why my adolescence was a challenge and why I wasn’t “cool”. However, that was just my example. There are a lot of reasons why kids get ostracized or excluded, being heavy is only one of them.

It’s not about fat vs. thin or boy body image vs. girl body image.

It’s about kindness vs. cruelty.

We have a choice in how we message to our young people and, in my opinion, he chose wrong.

The ironic thing is that I wrote an article stating that his message was mean-spirited  and in response…some people said some pretty mean stuff in their comments.

Charming.

Most of their negative remarks had to do with my book covers–not that any of those folks have read or will read my books.

I was accused of being a hypocrite because I have “buff” guys on my book covers.

A few points…

1. I never said, nor would I ever say, that there’s anything wrong with being thin, physically fit or attractive. If that’s what you heard then you need to read it again. I appreciate physical beauty as much as the next person but not at the expense of someone else’s feelings.

2. I don’t choose the covers for my books, my publisher does and I think they do a lovely job.

3. I write paranormal and fantasy romance. Some may argue that all romance is paranormal but my heroes are vampires or shapeshifters…and the last time I checked…they aren’t real. If you find out otherwise, please let me know.

4. The heroine in UNTOUCHED is a plus-size model. The heroine in UNLEASHED has struggled with her weight and the heroine in UNTAMED feels like she’s too skinny. No one is perfect in my books, not even the heroes.

5. All of my books end with a Happily Ever After. They are about finding true love and that one person who will love you and accept you for all that you are or all that you aren’t. My hope is that when people  read my books, it gives them an escape from their every day worries.

So that’s it. Back to writing my vampires, shifters and tales of true love and remember…play nicely in the sandbox of life.

Dream on…

 

 

 

29 thoughts on “A Response to My Huffington Post Article

  1. I enjoy the castles you build in the sandbox, so if you want to sit next to me, there’s room. *scoots over*

    A hypocrite? That might be one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard. Anyone who read what you wrote can see that it was like you just explained yet again, you were advocating kindness not a body type. But that goes back to people who don’t know what the romance genre is really about. These are the same people who think that it gives you unreal expectations of men, or it’s sanitized lady porn. (I won’t even get started on that. We’re capable of liking porn the same as any man. It doesn’t need to be distilled for our weak little lady brains.) Hope, redemption, self-acceptance… yeah, that’s pretty hypocritical. *rolls eyes*

    That whole thing made me angry not because I’m fat. I am. I’m trying to be healthy because I want to feel good, but I’m hot no matter what the tag in my jeans says. I’m also an adult who has worked in an environment that gave me an outer skin like the tile from the space shuttle. Children don’t have that and it pisses me off that they should be expected to cultivate it. When you put up any kind of walls, you’re closing yourself off from part of the world. From experiences. We’re supposed to be teaching our children to make the world better, to live better lives and we can’t do that if we narrow their world so they never actually see the people around them.

  2. Sara,
    Maybe it’s because words are the tool of your trade. Maybe it’s your passion. Or maybe you were just as pissed off as the rest of us and the words just jumped out of you. However, it happened is immaterial. You were able to express what we were feeling, eloquently.

    You’re right! It had NOTHING to do with the fact that A&F sells clothes for a particular sized human being. Other stores do it successfully everyday, without alienating the rest of the population! Marketing is about making people feel SOMETHING, and boy did A&F ignite “something.” That “something” self-torpedoed their own brand, but maybe it will turn around? In about 10 or 15 years?

    Your words spoke to so many of us, and one of the authors I have gotten to know through Facebook, after being a fan for many years, explained that you were also a novelist. Heck, yeah!! Oh, and just because I’m one of those women who LOVES to vote with her pocketbook, I just downloaded the Amoveo Legend (well, whatever was available for Kindle). Just because.

    I wish you continued success! Rock on, Sister!!
    ~Michelle

    • WOW! Thank you so much for taking the time to respond here and a super huge thanks for trying out the series. I really hope you’ll enjoy it. Rock on, girlfriend. Rock on.

  3. I loved your post about A&F’s ridiculous and mean marketing tactics. Truly I did.

    The thing is, I don’t shop at Abercrombie and Fitch, and never have, because of their in-store displays. So when I saw your book covers, at the bottom of your HP blog, I was disappointed. But I do get that what’s irony to me is not irony to you. It’s not the point you were making.

    I do have to admit to chuckling over “judging a book by its cover.” Yes, when it comes to people, that’s a terrible thing to do. However, I’m pretty sure the whole point of a book cover is to cause people to judge a book. But I also get how extremely frustrating that must be, for the author.

    Rock on, and keep taking that high road. Even when folks like me get snarky. It proves we’re paying attention, and that’s a good thing.

    • Thanks for understanding the difference between the point I was making and the books that I write. And thank you for doing it in a classy way.

  4. Sara,

    I was directed to your article by Julie Leto and I loved it. I thought it was well written and to the point. Anyone who took something away from it other than A&F should have kept their trap shut, must have been reading another article. I thought everyone’s mom taught them “if you can’t say something nice…”. Kudos to you for standing up for all the “uncool kids”. If we ever shopped at A&F before I’m sure we’re all reconsidering that choice now. We appreciate someone giving us a voice.

    I have not read your books, but I assure you I’m going to now.

    • Thanks so much, Erika. I really appreciate your kind support and double thanks for trying my books. I hope you’ll enjoy them but I’m especially glad you enjoyed the article.

  5. Sara,
    You know how I feel on this subject but I think it needs to be reiterated.. I WAS one of the cool kids.. I was athletic, smart and musical.. life was good and yet I still had body issues.. What Mr Jeffries failed to understand and obviously some those who posted negative responses is that we don’t have to bully anyone. I have seen what bullying does to a child and it destroys and yes teenagers are still children.

    I taught my kids to invent their own cool.. They all dress in their own style my oldest son even has dreads and my oldest daughter has shaved her head twice for cancer.. she also has a pierced lip and *gasp* tattoos. When I was a kid these individuals would have been mocked.. and believe me they have listened to the comments made by family members. But they march proudly to their own drum. Why? because each of them knows that they are truly special and no one can take that away from them but not every child, shoot not every adult has that sense of self. Some lack the inherent self esteem it takes to go their own route. And that is why Mr Jeffries feels safe and smug making his remarks. There will ALWAYS be those who need something to say hey I am special.. and then they will need to be able to flaunt that something over others. Mr Jeffries uses the worst of us to make his brand statement..

    Yes this press will be bad for A&F but will they see the error of their ways? No! Why? Because others will flock to their stores in order to be cool. The thing is.. in reality A&F is calling not to the cool kids but the followers.. those that need status to feel good about themselves. A leader would be perfectly happy creating their own style.. I personally love the tutu and combat boot look.. shows that some girls really can fly!

    Oh yeah.. if you find out that Vamps and shifters are real give me a shout out.. That could be fun!! Until then, I am one of those who understand that you write FICTION.. I also understand that half the times the cover models don’t even look like the author’s description of the character..

  6. I ve been sat here for the last 15 min trying to put into words what i was thinking .. it went type a lot .. delete .. type anyway i then read the comments and erika basically said what i was thinking! (Thank you Erika)

    btw your point 3 made me laugh out loud my husband was giving me a weird look lol

  7. Very well put. It is a shame that so much emphasis is put on body size/shape/weight. One of my nieces (who was never overweight) even felt pressure to be skinnier and she and her friends experimented with bulimia. Luckily, it was only 1 time due to the fact that she had watched Lifetime movies with her mother that scared her and made her think she would die from ta one time, lol. No one is ever going to be completely happy with everything about their bodies. But, that is not even what matters about people. Your actions, the way you treat others and yourself, etc are so much more important.

  8. You are a class act. Your point was absolutely clear to me and I could not agree with you more. By the way, I love your books! Keep up the good work and if someone does let you know that vampires are real, let me know. 🙂

  9. Don’t worry about the negative comments Sara… that comes with the territory. Some people will always find a way to try and drag you down and twist your words. They just don’t know how strong you really are, like those who are blessed enough to know you personally.

    Your message is clear to those who need it to be. You have touched so many people in a POSITIVE way. That is what matters. There are so many people out there, young and old, who have found comfort in your words and warm persona… people who now hold their heads a little higher and walk a little taller knowing that you understand and that your on their side… people who have found hope in your powerful message. Your words are simple, but it is the true sincerity behind them that make all the difference. You are such a beautiful person inside and out who truly cares, a rare find in today’s day.

    Being a motivational public figure is yet another ball that you have thrown into your amazing juggling act of raising a beautiful (and crazy) family, pursuing your career, and much much more… I don’t know how you do it!

    Rock on with ya bad self! 🙂

    • Hi Sam, Blast from the past! Great to hear from you and thank you for the kind words. I hope life is treating you well!

  10. Bravo! You definitely have better outlook on life than that idiot from A&F. Can’t believe the negative comments – I love your books and have never purchased a book just by its cover – I always try to determine what the story maybe about before it is bought.

    • Thank you, Avonelle! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the world of the Amoveo and many thanks for your words of support. xx

  11. A friend of mine shared your article with me and it resonated.Then she pointed out you were an author in a genre I love to read. That’s it. I was sold! Went and bought all of the Amoveo books and am now sitting here feeling impatient that I have to wait for more!! Thanks for being outspoken! We need more women out there like you!

    • Hi Amy,
      Thank you so much for coming by and sharing that with me. It makes me so happy that women like you connected with the article and it’s an added bonus that you found my books 🙂 I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed the Amoveo Legend so far! UNCLAIMED will be out in December and the spin off vampire series, Dead in the City, will start this summer with Tall, Dark, and Vampire.
      I wish you all the best and hope you’ll stay in touch!
      –Sara

  12. Hi. I am a poster there, and I looked back at your article. There was nothing wrong with your article and opinion at all. I agree it was wrong of Mr. Jeffries. It is very hard to take criticism from those commentors also. So many bloggers/writers get disrespected on a daily basis. You can say something neutural and benign, (which I have) and people either do not understand what you are saying or just want to be a troll. Most people thrive on making snarky comments and try to out-wit yours just to get another ‘like’.

    I absolutely hate to see replies at the top of my screen. I would shut it off altogether if it wasn’t for the few people out there who actually have something informative or nice to say. It’s good that you did not respond back to them, who needs more feelings hurt? I find myself commenting there less but I still read the articles.

    Best wishes.

  13. Pingback: 2013–A Hell of a Year | Sara Humphreys

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