Monday, June 29, 2009

Size Matters

Plus-Sized ModelImage by pCka via Flickr

So my question is: If the average American woman is a size 12-14 then why are those clothes in the plus size section? Why are there 20 stores in the mall that cater to 2% of the population? Forever 21, Charlotte Russe, The Limited, etc all have extremely narrow cut clothes that are completely mis-sized.

I have a really good friend from college named Mary. She has a perfect body. In a normal store she would be a size 8. She's very healthy and works out all the time but is definitely not skinny. I remember going to these stores with her and her having to buy clothes marked size 12 and 14. That does wonders for my self esteem. Thanks a lot.

Or how about America's Next Top Model? I have only caught a few episodes over the years but there always seems to be a "plus sized" model in the group. A "plus sized" model actual won the competition a couple years ago. When I saw the picture of the girl who won it was clear that she was no plus size model. I did a little Internet research and found that she is a size 8 in the real world but in the world of high fashion the sample size that they make to fit her body would actually be a size 14 so they can label her a plus size model. Well that's screwed up. Why don't all the designers use the same mannequins so that I can walk into a store and pick up a pair of pants in my size and know they're going to fit? Why did I have to try on a clothes 2-3 sizes above my normal clothing size when I shop in certain stores? I know the number inside the clothes shouldn't matter but I'd be lying if I said it didn't bother me.

I had a huge complex about it when I was younger because I went from a skinny size 3 to a curvy size 8 from the ages of 9-14. This bothered me a lot more when I was younger because the constant message from mass media is that all these actresses have amazing bodies that every girl should strive for. Also, it didn't help that some of my class mates who blossomed later than I did started calling me fat around this time. Kids will say anything to take the attention away from themselves to mask their insecurities but you don't know that when you're a kid. I definitely wasn't fat but that sort of thing stays with you.

Have you ever seen Eva Longoria or Jennifer Lopez next to a normal sized human being? I have seen them both on Oprah who I estimate to be about a size 16 and she looks gigantic next to them. Suddenly J.Lo isn't so booty-licious when you realize that she doesn't really have much of a booty on her size 2 frame. But the filmmakers and photographers are so good at staging that they make these people look normal. They create a completely fictional image of someone that most people can never hope to achieve.

What annoys me the most is when they have size 4 models in plus sized catalogs. The clothes are completely ill fitting and hanging off the models. Why does Roman's think I want to see a woman 1/3 my size modeling a dress I'm going to buy? What does that skinny bleep show me about how that dress is going to fit the curves of my body? Do you think that having someone skinny modeling the clothes is going to make them more attractive to the plus sized community? I have never bought a single article of clothing from any catalog that doesn't have models that are the same size as the clothing they sell. I love Lane Bryant and Torrid because they recognize who their target audience is and make sure people that their models look like their customers.

Admittedly, I am at the lower end of the plus size range so I can typically find clothes that fit me in "regular stores". But a lot of times the buttons on those shirts pull or the sleeves are too tight on the dresses etc. because they just took the size 4 and made it bigger and didn't account for anyone who wasn't shaped like a rectangle.

I propose that we call all these skinny models what they are: Undersized, Below Average, Freaks of Nature, Hungry. I could go on for days. I'm average and I love it and my husband loves it to. I don't think there will ever be a day when most of the people in magazines and catalogs look like me but that doesn't mean it doesn't get to me sometimes. I'm happy that my self esteem has blossomed as I've gotten older but I hate that millions of little girls are going to continue to go through what I went through just because the mainstream media is run by a bunch of idiots who are pushing the message that beauty only comes in one size.


  1. Hey... thank you for the visit to my blog, and very nice words you wrote...

    ya know one of the things that bugs me about clothing? They always seem to have horizontial stripes... right where we are the widest...WRONG.

  2. Thanks for your last comment, I have heard that in Hawaii Mc Donalds and BK serve Spam burgers so if someday you go there tos ee your family try them.