Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Plus or Minus

I work with two other women. Both of these women wear a size 4. I think I've established in the past, I, well. Don't. I haven't worn anything near a size 4 since I was about ten years old.

They are both shopaholics. I hate shopping.

Clearly, I am the odd duck on the team.

The other day they were lamenting how terribly difficult it is to find a size 4. How, when they order from catalogs, for some reason all the 4's are sold out. Sometimes, if they're desparate, they'll order 6's, but even those always seem to be sold out a lot of the time. How, oh, it just isn't fair.

Well boo-freakin-hoo.

I wanted to tell them how much fun it is to be "plus-sized". (Whatever the hell that means. Are they "minus-sized" in comparison?) Let them try shopping for clothes like I have to. For example:

  • I cannot just walk into any store in the mall and try something on. I have one, maybe two stores to choose from.
  • In those two stores, 90% of the clothes are geared toward 65 year old women. Think giant flower prints and pleated skirts.
  • Don't even think about getting pregnant. Maternity clothes stop at size L. (Although, shhh, I've heard rumors that sometimes, overweight women - gasp! - have sex! And occasionally they get pregnant! I know! I was as shocked as you are!)
  • Catalogs that proudly proclaim "Now selling plus-sized!" LIE. The pages must be carefully examined for the little star that designates the handful of items sold in larger sizes.
  • Occasionally, I give up and shop in the men's department, because at least most men's clothes come in sizes bigger than Large.
(Which is yet another double standard that drives me crazy. Why are men allowed to go up to XXL and not be banished to the "Big & Tall" section, yet any woman over L is sent to the other end of the store? Every sitcom proves this ridiculous fact. Men are allowed to be fat, but their wives must remain skinny, made-up, and have perky breasts.)

Now, I'll admit, things have gotten much better in the past few years. Stores are finally starting to wake up. The styles are getting better. There are more choices. Some stores even added plus sized maternity clothes (which was unheard of as recently as my last pregnancy a year ago). Thanks to people like Colleen for keeping me informed.

But honestly, we have a long way to go. And size 4 people have no idea how the other half lives. Their shopping experience has always involved seeing the dummies in the stores in their size, wearing clothes designed to complement their body shape. I'm lucky if the models in the plus-sized catalogs are even over a size 6.

I didn't get into all of this of course. It just wasn't worth it. I nodded and frowned and expressed my anger at the retail industry. "Damn you Banana Republic and Casual Corner! Shame on you Abercrombie!"

Yes. Shame on you indeed.

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