Never “Just A Joke”: Anna’s Online Store is actually pretty lame

Unless you’ve been living under a rock with no internet access, you have most likely already heard of Anna’s Online Store — the Facebook retailer giving conglomerates a run for their money. Seriously, SM Department Store’s “We’ve got it all for you” has got nothing on Anna’s catalogue. They have literally everything — from leche flan and the latest sneakers, to “unisex” fresh meat and lipstick.

However, that’s not what the store has a whooping 200,000+ likes for. The online shop’s seemingly overnight claim-to-fame comes in the form of their “witty” posts and snarky social media personality. In the retail industry where companies will go through hell and high water just to kiss consumer ass, it’s refreshing to see a brand with absolutely no filter. While other people would have a raging heart attack over Anna’s brazen customer service, the store, instead, totally takes bluntness to their branding.

Recently, the latest addition their marketing meme repertoire is the infamous Tomboy na mataba joke. Literally translating to fat tomboy, Anna’s Online Store took this stereotype of a person and put together an album of things for sale, which they pertinently labeled as the “‘Tomboy na Mataba’ Starter Pack.” The items include Islander slippers, a plaid polo, khaki shorts, and a silver chain necklace, among many others.

Currently, the photos have received more than 21,000 likes, 6,000 shares, and 7,000 comments, not including the reposts on other social media platforms. While the store-slash-meme page is no stranger to tasteless humor, this particular joke throws a one-two punch at body-shaming AND degrading a minority group. Quickly, netizens flocked by the thousands and laughed, with some even adding their own flavor of nasty to the stew. The influence of Anna’s post was astounding — social media was teeming with butch-phobia.

Another thing that’s shocking is that some of these people who tagged their friends in the comments are probably the same ones who repped rainbow flag filters on Facebook in support of the LGBT Community. Why then, have they put down their flags in exchange for a few minutes of minor amusement? I’ve seen actual netizens argue with “but my lesbian friend thinks it’s fine!” to justify the joke, which operates along the same logic as “I have a black friend therefore I can appropriate their language to mine.” Seriously? Even then, just because you see some LGBTs themselves liking and sharing the posts, it doesn’t mean you’re invited to have a piece of their self-deprecating humor cake. 

I don’t claim to be on a much greater moral high ground, but it doesn’t take a Jesus to know that that’s not okay. Among the myriad of things one can use for shits and giggles, using someone’s appearance — in this case, their actual identity — is the most shallow thing you can do. And yet, it happens in all forms of humor and every kind of medium.

Let’s not forget that there are real individuals being targeted and mocked here, so why do we still give this kind of comedy with a skewed moral compass the time of day? Is the bullying more palatable simply because it’s “made in jest?” Why does the burden fall on those who are offended for “taking it too seriously” or “being KJ?” Perhaps we could all use a refresher course on gender sensitivity, and over all, be more contemplative of the things we deem funny. Because even if it’s “just a joke,” if it’s not fun for everyone, then it’s best to rewrite your punchlines and get more creative with the quality of your humor.

When you prioritize a moment of entertainment over actual psychological harm you can cause others, you completely misplace the principles you claim to possess. You miss out on NOTHING by never laughing at or making another “tomboy na mataba,” or “bading na payat” jab, but for these people who have spent their entire lives being bludgeoned with insult after insult, you spare them EVERYTHING by not giving them a leading role as the butt of yet another joke.

TL;DR— damn right, Anna’s Online Store took it too far.

Photos from Anna’s Online Store

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