Target "Manatee Gray" Dresses: Were They Really a Mistake?

Everyone loves Target for its prices. You can find all sorts of deals and manage to snag a few affordable designer pieces every season. But did Target go too far when a plus size dress was available for purchase in a hue of "manatee gray?"


A Twitter controversy ensued when one customer discovered that a kimono style maxi dress was available in the misses department in a shade of “heather grey” but the same dress was listed as “manatee gray” for the plus sizes. Since the angry shopper’s remarks, Target has apologized to the shopper and all its customers. The big retail chain claims that “manatee gray” is a seasonal color and has been used all over the website. Target is now scrambling to fix this snafu.

An apology will suffice for now, but it makes all consumers wonder if this was intentional. Should Target be let off the hook so easily? Sure, it could have been an honest mistake, but the argument falls flat in light of the “heather gray” dress. Generally, our society as a whole is paranoid and looks for opportunities to call out retail giants. However, since this happened for the first time, most consumers are probably ready to overlook the so-called "mistake."

Next time, please, just leave the cute manatees out of it.This should serve as a lesson for other retail stores. If "manatee gray" was the color of the season, then it should have been used across the board. Maybe then it might not have stung us as hard as it did. Also, stop trying to imply that all plus-size people are fat or similar to big mammals. I have a suggestion; next season we should pair all colors with an animal to emphasis the hue. For example, that new shade of blue can be called beluga blue or that new shade of pink can be known as porky pink.

Either "manatee gray" was a cute joke or it really is the new hip way to describe a shade of gray. I’ll let you be the judge of that.

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Anaam Butt

Anaam Butt is currently a social media fellow at Personal Democracy Media and a JD Candidate at Hofstra Law School. Anaam is passionate about using social media for social good. In her free time, you can usually find Anaam at an art museum, doing yoga, or behind a stack of books.

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