When you see a montage of a woman shopping in a movie, you usually see her with so many bags and she has such a happy and excited look on her face. Now I want you to think of how many times you have seen a plus sized woman in that same montage in a movie… I will save you some time…You have never seen it. Why is that? If you are not a woman over a size 14 most likely you have never had to think about this. So why am I thinking about it? Well, let me tell you a quick story of 3 unrelated events that led me to an epiphany.
I was watching an episode of Bill Maher’s show and he had the wonderful Tim Gunn on to discuss the state of the American citizen and their sloven dress which made him jump to obesity and state how people that were fat could not look good regardless of clothing available because they were fat. Tim disagreed and brought to his attention that there were so many people that had very few options when it came to clothing choice and that there were millions of women who could not attain the ideal weight popularized as normal and healthy in the media and by designers. You can view the video below:
While I respect some views of Bill’s I am not a huge fan so I rolled my eyes and changed the channel.
A few days later I saw a favorite part of a movie that I love: The wedding dress scene in the first Sex and the City movie. Carrie is trying on wedding dresses from every high-end fashion house you can think of and looking fabulous. She finally tries on a dress that she knows is so special and perfect for her.
I watch and smile per usual, I love this scene like 95% of women my age and move right the heck on with my day…
Which brings me to the 3rd and final event (I promise). I got a package from an online boutique and decided to try on the piece which is a top/dress that is gorgeous and dramatic with a short peplum front and basically a train down the back. I pulled it over my head and I had the same reaction to this dress the Carrie had to her Vivienne Westwood gown. I was ecstatic! I couldn’t stop looking at it. I jumped up and down and had to call my friend to tell her about this special piece *don’t worry I am going to have a post about it so you can see it too 🙂 But these 3 random events made me realize something…
I can count on 1 hand the times where I felt this way! I am over 30 years old. I have been plus sized all of my adult life. I spent the first 25 years of my life at least dreading shopping and clothes that I had to wear, all the while I could style a woman smaller than I in so many amazing looks that my friends begged me to shop with them. While I went, a part of me always left depressed. Why couldn’t I have access to these type of options? Why was my shopping experience limited to a back corner of a store? Trying on clothes, being excited about them, and wanting to shop, these are all parts of the feminine experience. I was basically being told that I was not worthy of this.
Expressing personal style is almost a female right if you are a certain size. The rest of us (over 67% in the United States by the way) are so isolated when it comes to style choice, many plus-sized women have no idea what their personal style is! We make due with the best of the worst and that is accepted and even mocked in society, let tv, movies, and Bill Maher tell it. In fact, according to him and that same movie that I love so much, fat people are sloven. Samantha gains weight in the movie and when they show her with the smallest amount of fat on her belly she transforms from the glamorous fashionista she usually is into a slouched woman, stuffing her face with cake. Suddenly she is sloven.
We could go into all the messages this is telling women about weight and acceptance in society but I think that my point is clear…IT’S TRASH.
Everyone woman should feel as glamorous in clothing as Carrie did in her clothes at any given moment in that movie. There should not be a limit in access to these clothes and while many clothing lines are working so very hard at changing this and I love them for it, believe me; I believe Tim Gunn, Christian Siriano, and many others who are darlings of the fashion industry must continue to lead the fight to tell the rest of their industry and the media that this is not ok. It is also not ok to isolate women based on size. While Project Runway is stepping out of the fashion box by having models up to a size 22, there are so many other women who are larger than these sizes that also want to feel good in their clothes. They do not have a body that is used in plus-size lookbooks. They want to go places without being gawked at and whispered about and laughed at by people who are reinforcing shame that was inculcated in them from childhood. Even our favorite plus size lines tend to use models that are a size 10 – 14 to sell their clothes, so is Bill Maher wrong? Or is the entire industry guilty as they all feed into this mindset as Tim Gunn said?
Regardless of who is right and who is wrong, the greater point remains; all women should have the positive experience with their clothing that I described to you. Denying access to clothing options and continuing to force feed us images of bodies that are not attainable in the media and talking about us as though we are not real or worth respect is cruel. I am not sloven, I am not worthless. I will continue to speak out against this attitude. I will continue to support women that are determined to love themselves at all sizes. I will support them to be courageous in the face of those who will say mean things about you behind your back or typed on computers. Love yourself more than these messages. They are what is worthless. I support you each step of the way. I support the brands that say this is unacceptable and provide options to all women. Because I am worthy of a million more moments like it, no matter what anyone, even Carrie Bradshaw says.