So I’ve been shopping for clothes lately at ye Olde Fat Clothing Stores. In one store I couldn’t find tights that weren’t “control top”, another only carries “control top” leggings. I keep getting e-mails about “Tighter Tummy Technology.” Padded sports bras promise “glamour” and “lift” but wouldn’t hold my boobs down walking to my car, and yoga pants with spandex inserts to “tighten and flatten” abound.
The straw that broke the fatties back was on the Lane Bryant website, when I accidentally clicked shapewear instead of sleepwear (Trigger Warning: body shaming feel free to scroll past)
People are allowed to wear whatever clothes they want, my question is – must we have this constant drumbeat of advertising that as fat people if we aren’t going to lose weight we need to wear clothes that make us look like we did, or that makes us all look like fat hour glasses with flat fronts?
If you are someone who wears these clothes and shapewear then please hear me when I say that I totally and completely support you in doing that- this is just about my feelings about my body and the shopping experience that I want – I have no interest in telling anybody else how to live. I will fight to the death for your right to wear whatever you want, I would ask if you are willing to get on board with stores that cater to fat people creating a shopping experience that is a little less easy to construe as body shaming.
In that vein, allow me to say this:
Dear stores that sell clothes to fat people,
My top is not out of control, my tush doesn’t need to be trimmed or toned, nor, while I appreciate alliteration, do I require Tighter Tummy Technology. I don’t need Glamour or lift in a sports bra – I need to finish step class without two black eyes. I do not need the people who work at your stores to suggest shapewear to help me “look my best” wearing the dress that I’m no longer buying because the person working at your store suggested that I don’t look my best in it right this minute. I am unwilling to trade my ability to take full breaths for super-duper slimming zoned compression of any kind. I would, in fact, be happy to die without ever again hearing or reading the phrases super-duper slimming, or zoned compression unless it is a new basketball defense. I came here to shop for clothes at one of the very few stores that caters to people my size. I did not come here to be bombarded with advertisement that suggests I should try to use the “miracle” of Spandex to smush my body into some other form – if I wanted to feel like crap about my body I would go to every other store that exists, turn on the television, or read the comment thread in almost any article that exists on the internet.
I am aware that other women want these products and I celebrate their right to purchase them, but it seems to me that if they want that they’ll be looking for them so you could tone it the hell down because right now your campaign to tone, tuck, tighten, and trim me really puts the “b” in subtle if you know what I mean.
I’ve already talked about my feelings regarding the concept of “flattering.“ I wear clothes for a lot of different reasons – to cover my body, to decorate my body, to keep my boobs smashed down at the gym and for many, many other reasons. I do not wear clothes to make my body look like a different body, I do not believe that I need to mold my fat into some different size and shape. I am not asking you to stop selling these items, I am asking for the ability to find clothes that don’t try to “control” any part of my body, and I am asking for a shopping experience that seems a little less like the constant body shaming I get from people and businesses that aren’t trying to get my money.
Happy HAES Holidays Teleconference Workshop – Registration is Name Your Own Price – Nov 13 and 15
Normally I get between 100 and 200 e-mails a day. During the holiday season that climbs to 200-300 from people asking about everything from how to set resolutions that aren’t about weight loss to how to deal with the family food police. I’ve put together a group of speakers to give you information to support you through the holiday season and into the new year. Details and registration are here, registration is name your own price.
Like the blog? Check this stuff out (and you can help support my work which I would really appreciate):
The Book: Fat: The Owner’s Manual The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here to order
The Dance Class DVDs: Buy the Dance Class DVDs (hint: Free shipping was supposed to end on Monday but I haven’t had a chance to make the changes to the pricing so there’s still free shipping until I get it done)! Click here for the details
Become a Member and Get Special Deals from Size Positive Businesses
I do size acceptance activism full time. A lot what I do, like answering over 4,000 e-mails from readers each month, giving talks to groups who can’t afford to pay, and running projects like the Georgia Billboard Campaign etc. is unpaid, so I created a membership program so that people who read the blog and feel they get value out of it and want to support the work I do can become members for ten bucks a month To make that even cooler, I’ve now added a component called “DancesWithFat Deals” which are special deals to my members from size positive merchants. Once you are a member I send out an e-mail once a month with the various deals and how to redeem them – your contact info always stays completely private.