Tag Archives: rant

F is for F That!

28 Dec

It’s rare I have a rant against the FA community itself. The Fat Acceptance community have fought the good fight so that I could start to love myself and see myself as worthy of the confidence that other women who wear straight sizes are afforded without society batting an eyelash at them.  But recently there have been a handful of individuals within the FA community who have really challenged me to think hard about what it means to be a size-positive feminist.

These are the women who post snarky comments on weight loss blogs targeted at other women or who constantly and often judgmentally challenge women who are not comfortable with their bodies and seek to lose weight for whatever reason.  Where do we draw the line between hating on the woman and hating on the system?

In my opinion at least, is that we should respect the wishes of any woman who seeks to lose weight. Now, that seems kind of counter intuitive until I explain the grand master plan.  We can’t fight other women into seeing things our way.  Putting on the boxing gloves to challenge women to a fight they never asked for is going to chase them away from the cause and leave them more hurt and confused than allowing them to carry out their perhaps misguided plan. Instead of attacking the women who are simply repeating a learned habit, we should be attacking the foundations on which their motives are based.  That means doing things as simple as being confident, radient, fat women in the presence of adversity or as complicated as becoming a political advocate or working with non-profit empowerment organizations (or even creating our own!)

 

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F is for F That!

17 Dec

Miniskirts, short shorts, bikinis, plunging necklines.  Things that show off my best ASSets also happen to be the things I am told not to wear. Why? It’s imprudent, flashy, tasteless, plain wrong.  Tell me what’s the difference between these two pictures?

The picture to the right is Lane Bryant model Ashley Graham, size 16.  She was part of a commercial that ABC refused to air in 2010 due to the “raciness” of the ad.  Here is a link to take a look for yourself.  Racy, yes.  More racy than the typical lingerie commercial, hell no!  While I may not agree with the main part of the ad, that is neither here nor there. The issue is that this is not acceptable on television while this is.

This story may be old news but it lends itself to a persistant problem in our culture. When a plus size woman can find a miniskirt, plunge neck tee or bikini in her size, why is her wearing it considered obscene while straight sized women are considered classy or fashionable?  Who created these rules and who polices them?

I absolutely think straight sized women should be able to wear and enjoy these things, but that there should be no distinction between the articles of clothing a size 4 woman wears and a size 34 woman wears.

Have you ever gone into a department store that caters to both straight sized and plus sized woman only to discover the types of clothing and shoes that come in large, wide sizes are completely different?  I had an embarrassing moment in a Maurice’s recently when I saw this gorgeous dress (below) and searched adamantly for it for a full twenty minutes before resolving myself to asking the petite girl at the front counter for help in locating the rack.  Sure, the modeled dress above her was maybe a size 8, but Maurice’s caters to sized 0-24 so I was sure I would find it in my size, right?

WRONG!

This dress only goes up to size 14 and I am a size 18/20 in dresses at Maurices.  I unwittingly asked the young woman at the counter who pointed to the straight size section and said in an incredulous voice, “We have some sizes over there.”  I thought, well given the waist maybe I’ll fit into a 14. Sure enough, the largest size they offered at that store was a measly 8.  I was heartbroken and too irate with the woman at the desk to bother asking her if they had a larger size in back.  I left the store thinking, “If they can’t cater to me, I’m not going to cater to them”.

Similar issues arise when shopping for shoes. Even within the same store, shoes for wide, large footed women are incredibly different than shoes made for straight sized women.  Suddenly at size 9.5 the shoes get distorted. They come in black or white, chunky, square toed and hideous.  Why can’t designers of shoes and clothes just make their clothes bigger?! While it may not fit everyone’s curves, it would be a step in the right direction!

But back to the issue at hand. When I look at the plus size section of Target or even Deb’s or Maurices I see that the clothes are shaped and designed differently. Cute tops with plunging necklines and cap sleeves are now high cut across my neck and come with long flowy sleeves.  Small prints and stylish patterns are replaced with abstract vomit designed to disguise my fat with a bright and detracting mosaic of mismatched colors.  Even in the juniors plus section it seems like they are selling camo for fat girls to hide from fatphobes and the rest of the world. And miniskirts? Nice try.

So, I resolve to stick with thrift and vintage stores.  It’s much more likely there I find dresses and skirts that fit me and show a little off, too.  I avoid department stores, but still wonder if there isn’t something the fat acceptance movement can’t do to help our cause.

F is for F That!

16 Dec

There’s been a mix bag of arguments and urges to the fashion industry to cater to the “everyday woman”.  More recently, women have disparaged not the kind of clothes that have been seen on the runway, but the bodies underneath. As Americans get bigger, models stagnate at an unhealthy size all for the name of fashion.

In response, the American and UK fashion industry have made a push to exoticize “plus-size” models by showcasing a few rare beauties amongst the herd of 00 models.  In Prada’s 2010 fall show Miucca Prada walked models Elle Macpherson (size 6), Lara Stone (size 4-6) Laetitia Casta (size 6), Christy Turlington (size 4), Karen Elson (size 8).  My response: sorry, Miucca, but when you can’t eek out even a remotely plus-sized woman in your show you can’t claim the title of champion to the masses of fat, fashionless “everyday” woman you so desperately feel compassion for.

But let’s be honest, the plain jane fashion industry as always “othered” fat women because without producing an example of the wrong way to present oneself, how will we ever know what is good in term of beauty?  Instead, let me draw your attention to the plus-size clothing industry where, of course, its the true “everyday” woman who is being championed, right?  Think again.

 

 

Images: Jessica London

Well, maybe not.  While Jessica London does have some curvier models I would hadly call their stock that of a “plus-size” variety, even though they cater to the 12-36 size community.  Likewise, most department stores that run into “plus sizes” rarely feature plus size models and almost all high-end “plus-size” fashion lines are modeled by, yep, size 0-8 women.

But there must be a reason to it all right?

Fashion polls claim that seeing a much smaller woman in the same clothes you can purchase ten to twenty sizes bigger actually makes you think that you are going to look like the model in the picture. And the unfortunate thing is, its a great marketing ploy because they’ve been at it for years and are still going strong.

From my own experience back when I bought retail, shopping this way usually goes something like this.  I see a cute dress in a catalogue or flyer on a size 2 model and think, “Wow look how it draws in her waist! It comes down to the perfect place on her knees! It will mask all of my imperfections and I will look so much better when I have this dress!”  So I would wait until payday, head to the store and hopefully get it on sale.

Then when home I realize I’m still the same girl in a bigger dress.  My body was not magically transformed, my waist is not a size 2, and my knees still have that cute little jelly roll on the inside.  Store “x” becomes the crusher of dreams, but I blame myself, my body, and my fat and fall into the cycle of “I’m not good enough, let’s buy something to cover up the ugly!”

Instead, why aren’t more stores eating their own words when they put themselves out there as “Loving your Curves” as Jessica London does?  Why aren’t stores standing up for their customers and ending the cycle of “othering”?

“Plus-size” stores should be helping in the fight to end criticism from both within ourselves and from external forces.  Instead, so many are choosing to use our own insecurities against us, proving once again that our community is divided at best.