beauty

Why people aren't happy about Lorna Jane's ad for a 'receptionist/fit model' job.

Image: Lorna Jane.

There are certain skills you’d expect to see listed in a receptionist job ad: ‘administration and computer capabilities’ and ‘friendly demeanour’ all come to mind. So when Lorna Jane Activewear posted a call out for receptionists last week, complete with job requirements like “Waist: 70-73cm” and “Height: 165cm or taller”, it was always going to be controversial.

On Monday, the popular brand/maker of great leggings removed their “Receptionist/Fit Model” ad from the Seek website. Company spokespeople have told local media this was due to an “overwhelming” number of applicants; however, it had also sparked widespread social media criticism since being posted on Friday.

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According to the callout, the successful candidate would split their time between receptionist duties and assisting the label’s design team as a model for fitting new garments and designs. The ad specified the employee would need to fit a size small in order to “accurately provide feedback on Lorna Jane products”, with the following measurements:

After the ad was posted, Facebook and Twitter users were quick to express their dismay, with many accusing the company of sizeism and discrimination.

"Sad for any suitably qualified girl whose dream job with you won't happen because the size of her body doesn't fit with your ridiculous so-called 'requirements'!" one wrote. "Too short and fat to work at #LornaJane despite being a healthy, passionate PT. Sums up all that is wrong with the #fitnessindustry today," another tweeted.

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Other commenters speculated the 'fit model' caveat was simply a cover for wanting to hire an attractive, slim receptionist.

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However, in a response posted on Facebook, Lorna Jane apologised for causing a "misunderstanding" and clarified the role of an in-house 'fit model' is to ensure consistency in the sizing and design of their activewear range. (Post continues after gallery.)

In this case, the fit model required is for the brand's standard size small — the company would also have fit models corresponding to their other sizes. Whether Lorna Jane's size small dimensions correlate with those of Lululemon, Running Bare or any other fitness fashion brands is a whole other issue.

"As you can imagine, we have a great variety of styles and fabrics and it is imperative that we keep our sizing as consistent as possible. Having a fit model allows us to do so," the company wrote on Facebook.

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"We certainly pride ourselves on hiring healthy, active women of all different shapes and sizes, but as we hope you can understand, a fit model must have certain dimensions to help with our garment measurements."

Founder & Chief Creative Officer Lorna Jane Clarkson

A spokesperson also explained to News.com.au that it wasn't uncommon for Lorna Jane staff to work in combined roles, and that their former size small model had recently left the company.

“We used to have an in-house hair makeup artist who also worked on reception and we have another girl who heads up our concept stores and also teaches classes in our studios,” she said.

The company also told Crikey they felt it appropriate to combine the receptionist and fit model roles as the latter is only required in a part-time capacity.

What do you think - is it inappropriate to roll a fit model and reception job into one? Or is it just a smart cost-cutting measure?

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