CONVERSE SHAPES FOR EVERY BODY the ad proclaims. It continues “What if clothing was free from gender? If you define the clothes, the clothes don’t define you. A new type of clothing designed for every body.”
What if indeed? I am absolutely in favor of clothing companies making size and gender inclusive clothing. But this…isn’t that.
First of all, the largest size is XXL. So apparently Converse thinks I and everyone else over an XXL does not exist? Or that we are non-corporeal somehow?
But lets talk about the clothes. Their gendered clothes come in a variety of colors, patterns, and shapes. In this “genderless” collection you can get clothes in any color you want, as long as it’s black, white, or a color they call “field surplus” (which I can best describe as drabbest green,) and basically shapeless. I also notice that a lot of their straight-sized, gendered options sport a huge logo on them, but in order to tell that these clothes are Converse one would have to get “back the fuck up” close to wearer to read the tiny tag. Normally I would never complain about lack of a company’s self-promotion on their clothing, but in this case it makes me wonder if Converse isn’t proud to call these clothes their own.
No offense to people who like these clothes, which of course is totally valid, but the first thing they made me think of was the punishment clothes they made us wear in school if we forgot our PE clothes.
Also, as someone with cis-privilege I definitely don’t mean to speak for Trans and Non-Binary people, but my understanding is that creating genderless clothing isn’t about creating a few pieces without much color or shape, it’s about taking the gender labels off, making all the clothes in all the sizes and then of course dismantling the cis-sexism and transphobia in the world so that all people can dress in all the colors and shapes, not none of them.
Then we’ve got the “all sizes” lie. The idea that these clothes are for “all sizes” is 100% pure bullshit. Besides the fact that the sizing is absolutely bonkers (in what world is a single size equivalent to cis-men’s M-2X and cis-women’s XL-XXL?) it’s simply a lie, which I already covered in this piece, and in this video:
We need actual size and gender inclusive clothes (looking at you SmartGlamour!) not this lip service nonsense that creates even more exclusion by getting our hopes up and then dropping them off a cliff.
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2 thoughts on “Converse’s Size Lies”
I can’t help but think a lot of this still goes back to the old A&F mantra that fat people are inherently “uncool” and therefore deliberately excluding us is an effortless shortcut to making yourself and your brand appear “cool.”
I wonder what their “cool” customers, who choose to shop with them specifically on the premise their “exclusive” brand will protect them from our cooties, would think of just how hard the same places try to get our money on accessories through back channels. Like, shit or get off the pot with your “exclusivity,” guys.
Ugh! The whole gender neutral=boring & drab idea is a huge pet peeve. Years ago, when my youngest was little–he liked “girl” clothes. He wanted clothes with sparkly llamas, and rainbows, and cute kittens. But good luck finding that in the boys department. Girl clothes are cut differently, and very small–so simply buying clothes for him from the girls department was not always an option. One of his favorite tees was a long sleeved shirt from the girls department and the sleeves were so tight on him–and he was not a big kid by any means. I started searching all over for companies that did genderless clothing. I found all kinds of great clothes for girls–dresses with trains, shirts with rockets. All I could find for boys were a few pink shirts with cutesie sayings. Anything considered gender neutral was exactly like the Converse line–dark, drab, boring clothing with zero personality. Why? It was massively frustrating. I’ve never found a gender neutral clothing line that was truly fun and inspiring.