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Influencers, Merch and Inclusivity…Oh my!

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Picture it. You’re watching one of the newest videos from one of your favorite YouTubers. You’re having a great time, enjoying the content, and truly thriving in this moment.

As you’re watching the video, they mention they have an exciting announcement…they’re releasing merch. The excitement is overwhelming, and you can’t wait to check out their merch line. But to your dismay, the line only goes up to a 3X. Why?

The reason is as outdated as my dad’s platform boots with the fish on them. Cost. But why even make the merch if you leave out a good chunk of your followers?

When you look at YouTubers, or influencers as they are now called, like Alisha Marie, Adelaine Morin and fellas of “How Ridiculous” who have millions of subscribers, you would think they made enough where their merch/clothing line can be truly inclusive. Your followers shouldn’t have to make their own merch to be supportive of you.

Women over the size of 24 shouldn’t have to make their own clothes to be included, period. #fightforinclusivity

Speaking of Alisha Marie, she and her sister Ashley Nichole created a clothing line, called Parallel Apparel, that was advertised to have been inclusive. They had influencers like Patrick Starr wearing the clothes and talking about how inclusive it was when it wasn’t. The biggest size the line offers is a 3X. I was disappointed but not surprised.

It’s disappointing when an influencer you truly like talks about being inclusive when they aren’t. Having a clothing line, or in this case, merch that goes to a size 3X isn’t being inclusive. While they may not be trying to be fatphobic, the exclusion of larger sizes in these merch lines, tethers on the line of fatphobia.

On the other side you have influencers like Tara Michelle, Safiya Nygaard, and even Threadbanger that has had merch lines that have gone up to a 5X. That’s the kind of inclusivity I want to see and support.
Tara Michelle is a tiny girl. I was impressed that her merch went up to a 5X. It made me feel seen as someone who watches her videos. It made me want to support her AND buy the merch.

It makes me feel seen period, when an influencer acknowledges that they have people watching their videos that don’t always look like them.

The point is that influencers who sell merch should be cognizant of people who wear sizes bigger than a 3X. Don’t talk about being inclusive when you really aren’t.

Olivia Johnson is an aspiring entertainment/lifestyle journalist from Atlanta, GA. She is a graduate student at Georgia State University majoring in Communication with a concentration in Digital Media Strategies. Olivia has written online content for Society 19, an online art magazine called The Venus and during her time at Columbus State University, The Saber, now called The Uproar. She enjoys writing articles about lifestyle, movies and TV and all things pop culture. She hopes to one day own her own entertainment /lifestyle magazine called Evolve.
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