My feed

to access all these features

Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Marks & Spencer protest

371 replies

invisibleoldwoman · 18/04/2018 14:39

Here is an email sent to M&S today.

"I needed new bras. Normally I go to one of your stores, get fitted, get advice and buy several. Have a look around generally and maybe coffee or lunch in the cafe. Now, I cannot deal with the stress of worrying about whether I will have to deal with a male fitter, or men in the changing rooms. So I have bought my bras somewhere I don't have to deal with this. I have decided not to use your online shop as I do not wish to support a company that makes it impossible for me to feel comfortable visiting a changing room or asking for a personal service."

I have decided to send this sort of feedback everytime I fail to buy something somewhere where they have gone along with the self-id policy.

OP posts:
Writersblock2 · 18/04/2018 14:45

Fantastic letter. M&S have made it official then?

drinkswineoutofamug · 18/04/2018 15:10

I politely refused a bra fitting about 2 weeks ago due to the changing rooms being gender neutral.

invisibleoldwoman · 18/04/2018 15:23


I believe so. I could be wrong. I get most of my information from Mumsnet & Twitter Grin

I will update if I get a reply.

OP posts:
Freshlylaidterf · 18/04/2018 15:24

great letter invisible
i had stopped going to m and s for bras the same reasons but hadnt thought of writing. i will though.

invisibleoldwoman · 18/04/2018 15:26

The really invidious thing about all this is that it is never announced, we just find out when we go along and find ourselves confronted with the fait accompli.

OP posts:
daisychain01 · 18/04/2018 15:31

So will (or has) M&S changed their cubicle configuration to lockable doors rather than just curtains?

If the doors lock, I personally don't see the problem.

AncientLights · 18/04/2018 15:42

Bravissimo have floor to ceiling walls and doors, doors have locks too, I have no problem at all with that. But ill-fitting curtains anywhere I change, big no from me, even in an all-female space. Don't like my wobbly bits being seen by Anyone!

beenandgoneandbackagain · 18/04/2018 15:43

Slightly derailing - but does this mean that if my husband comes with me when I'm bra shopping, he can now sit in the hallowed inner area where no man is supposed to go? Normally he has to lurk around outside the entrance to the changing rooms.

SirVixofVixHall · 18/04/2018 15:44

Yes please do update op. I spend quite a bit in Marks and Spencer, school things for dds, underwear, skincare, basics for husband and bits of clothing for myself. I also take Dd there for bra fitting as the assistant in my nearest store is absolutely lovely and pitches it just right with dd, who is 13 and self conscious. I will write to them if this is company policy, as there are fewer assistants in store these days and the changing rooms are very quiet in the week.

invisibleoldwoman · 18/04/2018 16:02

I don't know if any or all stores have changed their design. I think part of the problem is that many places have just declared their changing rooms inclusive of self-id men or unisex without making any changes.

In the case of M&S I think that they will now employ a man who self ids as a woman but who has not got a GRC as a bra fitter. But customers as usual are not told or offered an alternative. Personally I do not want a male with or without penis or GRC fitting my bra. Qualified male health professionals are a different matter from random men who have got themselves employed as bra fitters.

OP posts:
Didiusfalco · 18/04/2018 16:12

I think if they’re going to take this line they definitely need lockable changing rooms. Maybe the answer is entirely unisex lockable cubicles - if they don’t make any alterations it looks like they don’t give a shit about biological women.

Their bra fitting service is rubbish anyway

UpstartCrow · 18/04/2018 16:12

I just want to be able to go try on clothes or pee, without dealing with any drama. Why is that so unreasonable all of a sudden?

Even if they have floor to ceiling lockable doors, its not a solution. You can end up in a confined space with someone who does not mean you well.
And voyeurs can still access the space to install cameras.

OrchidInTheSun · 18/04/2018 16:13

No they are not lockable doors. They are unisex changing rooms with flimsy curtains in some of the stores I've been in. I would never get a bra fitted in there any more - or even try one one.

qumquat · 18/04/2018 16:18

Derailing but M and S bra fittings are terrible anyway. They first fitted me as a 36D, bras never fit right and I was so depressed about my droopy boobs aged just 16. Then I went to John Lewis and discovered I was a 30H. No more droopy boobs!

hipsterumlaut · 18/04/2018 16:20

All the M+S's I've been in have lockable doors but what concerns me is the secret camera thing. From reading that that's happened in several cases in various foreign countries after they've gone gender neutral with their changing rooms, I'm really not ok with gender neutral changing rooms at all. Of course there's always the risk from staff who presumably have access but that doesn't mean it's a good idea to increase the risk.

CertainHalfDesertedStreets · 18/04/2018 16:41

This reply has been deleted

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Trumpdump · 18/04/2018 17:07

I worked for them as a student. The management were mainly male and mostly thick as shit. Sad

AncientLights · 18/04/2018 17:25

They certainly scored very low on a bra fitting service some years back. I don't buy bras there as they aren't big enough for my boobs. I find it very odd that so much of the retail sector is struggling, M&S clothing certainly is and has been for ages now, and then they do things like this. Shooting themselves in the foot. We have power.

You could always buy several likely bras, take them home and then take them back. Total pain in the arse. Or just refuse to be fitted by a male. Why should we be nice ladies and not tell them what we think?

invisibleoldwoman · 18/04/2018 17:45

Here is the reply. Patronising and does not address the question of male bra fitters (no idea what the correct terminology is, sorry. They are non-women. If non-men is good enough for the Green Party, then non-women is surely good enough for here). However, I did not really expect anything thing else from M&S. But if they get enough protests and feel they are losing enough business they may listen eventually. The SEA provides for female only changing spaces and I do not understand why shops feel they have to ignore this.

Although very noisy, the transwomen market cannot possibly be as large as the women women who buy for the household, why are they going out their way to drive us away? Baffling.

Why should I have to buy several bras and take them back? I am not going to spend a single penny in M&S until they change these policies.

I've found a mail order company called Miss Mary of Sweden and although expensive the bras are really good and comfortable.

^Thanks very much for your email. I'm really sorry to hear you no longer feel confident shopping with us.

We want our customers to feel comfortable and enjoy shopping in our stores. Our changing rooms, wherever they are located in-store, are available for all customers to use with respect to other customers’ privacy. All of our fitting room cubicles also have lockable doors to ensure full customer privacy.

We take our responsibility to create a place where everyone – customers and colleagues – feels included, and can be themselves, seriously. Our 8,000 experienced bra fitters are specifically trained to understand our customers’ needs and make them feel at ease, as they measure and select the most suitable bras.

Thanks again for getting in touch (name). We really would love to see you shopping with us again in the future, and I hope you have a lovely evening.^

PS tried for italics for the reply from M&S but not sure it worked.

OP posts:
daisychain01 · 18/04/2018 19:05

I don't think their response was that unreasonable. They have an obligation as a very large UK employer to be inclusive and non discriminatory. They wouldn't want to get into a detailed debate in the letter they sent about the why's and wherefore of self identification.

They have lockable cubicles. If their staff started acting suspiciously peering over the cubicle partition I'd just report them immediately. But how likely is that to happen?.

If they have checks and balances in place to validate the authenticity and conduct of their employees through their recruitment process and monitor changes of gender of their current employers I don't think they can do any more. Surely self identifying M2F staff will be a tiny minority of their workforce. I don't think they'd be daft or clueless enough to assign a self identifier as a bra fitter would they? Wouldn't they get them working on more neutral less contentious activities in the store?

daisychain01 · 18/04/2018 19:07

Btw you have to put the special characters at the start and end of each paragraph no spaces either side.

AsAProfessionalFekko · 18/04/2018 19:11

'Free comfortable' 'feel included'? What about 'feel safe' and 'feel dignified'?

Nikephorus · 18/04/2018 19:17

I can't see the problem. The doors lock. The bra fitters are trained and you could always refuse if you were asked to see a male one. And men are at the same risk of women installing hidden cameras to spy on them (a fairly small risk I'd suggest). Plus it means that if you want to try on a man's t-shirt you don't have to trail all the way across the store to the women's changing room. Sounds like a good thing to me.

CircleSquareCircleSquare · 18/04/2018 19:19

Can I ask which email address you used?

ErrolTheDragon · 18/04/2018 19:21

If everyone is to 'feel included' everywhere then not everyone will 'feel comfortable'. They can't have it both ways.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.