I started yesterday with a question to my punky “friends” —> “Should all clothing companies be required to dress all bodies?”
The hatred I had thrown at me for the 12 hours to follow was intense.
It all started with an ad for Nike making larger size women’s training clothing. I saw it and thought, (first) “have they not done this for ages?” (second) “oh, well it is about damn time!”
Then, an artist I follow made a comment that a few other companies that she likes should also follow suit and make clothes larger so she could wear them. I liked the post and carried on with my day.
I saw it reposted with some snarky comments later when I settled down with my tea (serves me right for double dipping on my internet time, but that is neither here nor there). I started to feel slightly ill at ease.
One of the clothing companies she was calling out was Lucy & Yak. They carry very straight sizes – hardly a regular-sized XL. I lost weight to wear their clothes.
I worked hard to get what I wanted because that is how things are done.
No-one gave that to me. I did not expect society to conform to me, I laced up my trainers and put on my fitbit and walked and then jogged my way into a smaller version of me.
When I was much larger and clothes did not come larger than a size 12, I either wore men’s clothing or I made my own clothes. I had basic sewing skills – I had to learn to sew to wear something pretty.
When Calvin Klein was asked why he did not make plus sized clothes, in the 90s, he said, “I make dresses, not tents”.
I asked this question and instead of getting answers, I got attacked. Women took this personally. They do not know that I am a dietitian and have worked with obesity. They do not know I work with rising women up, not tearing them down. They do not know me. They read words that were not there because they are social justice warriors that need to be outraged. They live behind a trigger warning. I thought I had found a community of like-minded women but they were only behind me when I was talking about my abuse or when I was lifting them up. They binded together in tearing me down because I asked one question:
Do clothing companies need to dress every body?
In saying yes, that would mean that all clothing lines would need to carry clothing from size 000 to 50 (or 60).
If you do not know, that is fucking impossible unless you are a huge company like Nike or the Gap. A small company like Lucy & Yak could extend some of their items but at cost. If one item costs £38 for the customer for a straight size, a plus size might cost £45. It is not just about extending a pattern. You need more upfront materials and manpower. And maybe for this one company, there is a market for it, but what about others? They could lose money unless they custom make each piece.
No one cares about the economics of this argument. They just want what they want and they want it yesterday.
And when I recommended that if you wanted it so badly to do it yourself, OH I got flamed.
Why is it unpopular to tell people to do things themselves? This explains the state of the world we live in today. You do not like the politics we have? Go out and vote. People do not, so we get more of the same yet they still complain but where are the riots? Where is the outrage?
Being thrown at people that tell them to do something about it.
I brought this conversation out with me last night. I was so burnt out and needed a better place to understand where this chat went wrong. In the beginning, my friends agreed with me – clothing companies should sell what they want, what their business models think they can make money off, etc.
Someone asked what the average age of these women was. I guessed their 20s somewhere (I know the meanest one was only five years younger than me but she never had anything kind to say to anyone, that I have seen, so I ignored her). A lot of nodding and groaning went around. I waited patiently for an explanation.
I got handed someone’s mobile.
It was a Bill Maher clip. Something about the ‘hey buddy’ generation. The general idea was that these children were raised to believe that they did not have to work for anything, everything would be given to them and they did not know life outside the internet.
I had to let that sink in.
I said something along the line of, “but if they never create anything themselves, how are they going to survive?”
My reply was, “They have known all along that the planet was dying so they are not going to.”
The conversation got dark for a while but I brought it back to the original conversation. “What about people that cannot truly lose weight? What about the non-able bodied? What about people that are happy in their skin and not trying to fit into society’s norms? All of these people should be able to waltz into any store and get whatever they want and walk out, right? That is the whole point without all of the bells and social media whistles.”
It was agreed.
“So why does the approach seem …entitled?”
“Because we think fat people are lazy and we do not want to see handicapped people, they make us feel bad.”
Also agreed, grudgingly.
“This is why this question got me attacked.”
“Yeah, probably. They would not have done it if they knew you and you asked them like this. But it was done on the internet and people are judgemental as shit. They let all of their insecurities and rage out on you. Good on you for deleting it and not letting them have their way. Bad on you for being naïve enough for asking such a loaded question on a forum of strangers. I hope you have learned your lesson, dumbass.”
“That younger millennials are narcissistic?”
“Well, yeah, but blame their parents for that shit. Giving them participation trophies and allowing them to become their stereotypes instead of just loving them unconditionally, for allowing them to be constantly connected to some device has warped their perception of reality. They are less hardworking, trustworthy, and caring and more self-centered and lazy. And somehow, they think this makes them more unique. It is the most blatantly evident proof of bad parenting we have seen played out.”
“I would like to point out, that in the middle of this mess, one woman put me on full blast after I deleted my post. I was going to ignore her, I thought it was rude. I have the right to delete my post, there are not rules against deleting your words – but someone compared my inability to see my fat phobia to the metoo movement and I knew I had to say something. I apologised for harming anyone with my callous words and poster tried to continue the conversation in her post. I did not get my question answered but due to the volatile nature of this community, I would not have said any more with those eyes on me. What I did not know, is that this woman was the artist I followed and adored that started this in the first place.”
“I do not know, I left after she and I squared the chat away. She was considerate and though I did not appreciate her making a spin-off of my original post, I understand now why she did. And now I feel like I should apologise to her.”
“She purposely humiliated you on a public forum, you do not owe her an apology.”
“I do not think she meant it that way. I think she was frustrated because I deleted the post while she was typing a response to my post.”
“Still, she could have been an adult about it and wrote a pm to you. Putting you a display like that was childish.”
“What is done is done and in a way, I am glad she did it. I would not be having this conversation now and I would not have thought more about the other side of her argument. I disagree with her method but she is not wrong. I wish she would use her platform to rally women together for louder, stronger causes but she sings from her heart and who am I to judge? We are not all Angela Davis. Sometimes the best we can do somedays is get out of bed.”
“You know it.”
(paraphrase, naturally. I left out a lot of sighing, chuckle snorting, interrupting & whataboutisms.)
The worst part of this is that I liked this group. I never cared for this one woman but she was one in a couple thousand. I felt at home here and now I will never feel right posting there again. This is not a group that raises women up, it is a group that at a moment’s notice, will tear a woman down.
I have spent months listening, guiding, loving, laughing with these women. And four of them have decided that I asked a question that was treasonous. Instead of understanding who I am and understanding, IT WAS A QUESTION, NOT A SEARCH WARRANT. I was thrown under the bus.
I could block the few bad apples but the seed will still be there.
Reading comprehension is still taught in school, correct?