I recently ordered some jeans, the same brand, size and cut I’d ordered a few years back. The old jeans still fit (and they’ve surely drawn up a bit from washing over the years), so I assumed I should order the same size. I was wrong – they’ve changed the cut, so now suddenly I’ve gone from a size 12 to a size GASP! 14.
Cue the scary music. Once you’re above a size 12, you are supposed to instantly lose a bunch of self-esteem, develop an eating disorder, and stay at home rather than expose the public to the eyesore that is your body.
Yeah, that didn’t work on me. I know that in economic downturns, companies get really cheap about fabric and start using less of it. I also know that at the very same measurements I’ve been for several years now, I’ve been a size 8-12, depending on the brand, the exact style of the item of clothing, etc. It’s all pretty random, buying off the rack. I learned a long time ago not to pay much attention to the size tag, but rather just how the clothes look on me.
But the people who make the clothes see it differently. The brand of jeans I like? Once you commit the grievous transgression of becoming a size 14, you get only one color to choose from. Below 14, you get 4 colors to choose from. I guess they only want a fat pig like me to buy one pair. Happy to oblige, will start looking for another brand as soon as I have some time. Enjoy not getting my money, assholes.
The average American woman is a size 16. Anyone who caters mainly to smaller women is missing the market (thank heaven the government won’t bail them out when they go whining about how they just don’t know where the profit went). And some of you guys keep telling me big business would never leave money on the table out of prejudice. They do it all the time.
Ironically, the very same day I found all this out, a radical feminist friend of mine called to say that she’d just had a shopping experience in which she was complaining to a clerk that once you go above a size 12, you can’t get cool, funky stuff she likes – you just get really boring clothes, designed to hide you away, I guess – and the clerk said, “Well, you’re really big. Why are you so big?” And she’s not. She’s not a petite little waif, but she’s not overly large in any sense of the term. She’s just normal-looking. Problem 1: the assessment of this average-sized woman as “really big.” Problem 2, the clerk’s feeling of entitlement to say such a thing (observations about one’s body are rude, regardless of gender – “you’re really bald, why are you bald like that, mister?” is not an acceptable remark, either.
Fat hatred and shaming has been thoroughly rationalized by the weight loss industry – including doctors who are supposed to be responsible – which is happy to provide lies about fat and health to make the bigotry sound safe and scientific. But it goes beyond all this, because anyone woman who is not bony is fat. This is insane. While prejudice against men perceived as fat can be pretty virulent, too, men are not perceived as fat until they are considerably beyond “not bony.” I say this to acknowledge that it’s not just a gender issue, but there are definitely some gender politics going on here.
Dear fashion industry: if you’re waiting for an apology from women who aren’t the size you think we ought to be, please hold your breath. After a while, you will die, and a sizeable chunk of gender inequality will end immediately.