Too Big to Be Ignored


You should have known when you started reading this blog that you were going to be going on an adventure with me-sometimes smooth and enjoyable, other times you'd be getting tossed around and being left feeling like you'd gone a few rounds with Kimbo Slice (mentally at least). If you didn't, you do now. This blog is my memo to the world-"HERE'S WHAT I THINK IS IMPORTANT, PEOPLE!" So here we are, getting real real.

There are a few things that get me really heated-vanity sizing and body shaming being up there on the list. You'll find out about the other things in due time. But for now, let's focus on the issue at hand. You're probably wondering where this all came from and you'll soon find out-along with why I am just so damn pissed.




I am a bigger person. I always have been. I was wearing women's double-digit clothing, a size 10 shoe and was 5'10" by the time I was in fifth grade. I started wearing a bra in second grade. No, this is not the norm. No, it wasn't easy. I was made fun of, I was told not to wear heels, I was always put in the back of every classroom and lecture.



Here's the thing, I am no longer out-of-the-norm. I am a pretty solid representation of what most women look like in the U.S. and a lot of other countries actually. A study by the University of Texas Austin found that the average woman in the United States is 5'4", 140 lbs and between a size 12 and 14. This is the AVERAGE, indicating that there's plenty of women out there that are bigger or smaller than this, skewed obviously towards the larger end of the spectrum. I lived in Spain for a bit, traveled to Iceland, England, Italy, and even France and found that there are plenty of women that are my size, if not bigger. Sadly, I've found that other countries and cultures embrace the female form, celebrate curves (or the lack thereof), but celebrate nonetheless.



Unfortunately, we the people are a culture of vanity sizing, anorexic super models, and idolizing women who alter themselves beyond recognition through unnatural means. Vanity sizing and body shaming stretches far beyond runways and Vogue and I've finally had enough.



My ultimate wake up call occurred when I recently went into one of my favorite active lifestyle clothing stores here in Atlanta-Patagonia. Patagonia has been a company and brand that I not only sold for many years at an outfitter, but one I idolized and wanted to work for since I was 15 years old. I read Yvon Chouinard's "Let My People Go Surfing" and became obsessed with their eco-friendly, operation employee freedom mantra. I have read almost everything they've published and bought everything I could from them over the years. 

I went to the store to look for some items for an upcoming trip and noticed that instead of finding the solitary XL (14-16) that there typically is in a few different pieces, there wasn't a single one in any of the items I wanted. I thought this was a bit strange and when I looked confused and asked, "what gives?," I was told that the company is no longer going to be carrying XLs in the store because the company was going to "Fringe sizing," ie. the elimination of larger sizes for women. I was also told I could still find "larger sizes" online but no longer in the store.

So.

Allow me to get this straight. Your company values me as a customer less because of my size? You value my money less than that of someone who is a size 4? I should have to pay more for that item because I now have to pay for shipping if I want to see, touch, feel, and try on something? I should shop at the "big evil retailers" who sell their products for cheaper prices and carry larger sizes but don't pay their laborers a fair wage? I have to be part of the problem, increasing carbon emissions because I have to have one item delivered directly to my house in a plastic bag with a paper packing slip rather than pick it up at the store when I'm already there with my husband who can still shop in the store because you still value him, his money, and his larger male size? Bigger men are considered outdoorsmen and bigger women are considered what? Fat? Unhealthy? Inactive? When it doesn't fit or I don't like it, I have to either ship it back or again dump more carbon into the air when I have to drive it back to the store?

My response? Screw you. And your "Fringe sizing." I am not unhealthy. I am not inactive. I am far from obese. I hike, kayak, run, climb, swim, canoe, bike, and lift. I ran a marathon and guess what-I was 170 lbs and a size 14 when I did it. 



I exercise several times a week, do not eat red meat, eat mostly a vegetarian diet, rarely drink, pack my lunch 5 days a week and cook at home 6 nights a week. My vacations are spent hiking in other countries. Weekends are spent on the bike, walking the dog, or canoeing the river behind our house. But please, tell me, how I should just sit at home and shop online. Because that's what BIG people do, right? 



Since when did it become acceptable to stock more of sizes like XXS and often only one XL when it's the average size of most women in this country? Those who are an XXS have the option of shopping in a teen or kids department-where is our alternative? Where do we go from here? As a large, stable company, carrying a full run of sizes in your stores is not detrimental to your bottomline. Not doing so however, drastically changes who shops with you-us BIG spenders.

Patagonia. You're not the only ones. So many companies out there exclude us BIG women. Lululemon-get real. I can't fit half of my bubbies into one of your bras. I recently tried to buy some beautifully made pieces from an ethical clothing company that believes in fair wage for workers and a transparent supply chain and guess what-their biggest size, a large, is a size 10! Guess I will go back to Old Navy for those big girl jeggings huh? As much as I'd love to see companies like Gap Inc do business a little differently, I very much appreciate that they carry clothing that fits ACTIVE. HEALTHY. WOMEN. Regardless of size.



So this is me putting it out there in the universe: WE ARE NOT OUR SIZE OR WEIGHT! We are what we do! We are how we spend! You want our money? Value us as customers and people. You cannot ignore us. We're too big to be ignored. But then again, we're just the average. What do we know?



2 comments

  1. Anyone that knows you knows you are anything but average 😍💪🏻🙌🏻❣

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  2. I'd like to make a quick correction. It was "fringe" sizing, not "French". I must have run my letters together when I said it. However this doesn't devalue your point at all. I just wanted to make sure people know that it is called "fringe" sizing, which to be honest is worse. Keep up the great writing and come in to say hey when you can. It was good to see you today!

    ~an employee that doesn't disagree

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