If You're Freaking Out Over Being Called Plus-Size, You're Missing the Point

rack of dressesIn response to the recent social media movement demanding the fashion industry #DropThePlus, model and stone-cold fox Tess Holliday tweeted how she really feels about the "plus-size" label: She feels zero shame. Both headline-makers have compelling points, but let's keep it real. The fashion media treats fat women like crap, and it doesn't matter what words they use if we're constantly treated as "less than."

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Designers, retailers, and media outlets would much rather pretend like we don't exist. Well, guess what? Here we are, and we need something to wear to work on Monday, so it's time to get with the big, fat freaking program.

And what is fat, exactly? In the fashion industry, a "plus-size" model is size 8 and up, and "plus-size" clothes in most stores start at 16 and go up from there. The average American woman is a size 14, which is my size, generally speaking. But that depends on where I'm shopping, because as the New York Times sums up in one tidy graphic, clothing sizes can vary by more than five inches across designers. Thanks for making all of that so easy to follow and shop for, by the way!

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Designers don't seem to care about serving all of the women buying their clothes. We drape ourselves in one of the five choices from their plus-size racks with clothes that are so absurd and bright, it's like they want us to look like hot air balloons. Or we fight over the four size-XL shirts hanging among a rack of 20 size-XS options. Ridiculous.

It's just time to be done with it, ladies. Let's not respond to our shabby treatment with discussions about what we want to be called. We have the money. We're the market to be served. We don't have to be ashamed of our size or anything else. Designers and retailers need to be ashamed of their business practice that laughably ignores such an under-served market.

So, let's throw our money behind brands that hire models like Holliday to show what their clothes might actually look like on a typical customer. Does that really have to be so complicated?

Changing the way we're sold fashion and beauty is also going to require a complete overhaul on the conversation we're having about our bodies. Let's stop accepting the hype when we dare to show ourselves and our perceived imperfections in bathing suits and without a face full of makeup. That's not "brave" -- it's how we look, so go ahead and put away the backhanded compliments.

Luckily, there are plenty of badass women out there with the courage to raise a mighty middle finger to all that noise. Amy Schumer wrote an award-winning sketch on whether she's "hot" enough to be on TV. Lindy West has written thousands of soul-piercing words about the sincere lack of fu*ks she gives about anyone who criticizes her size. Lena Dunham wants you to look at her naked having sex and fun and all the other things we ladies do with our imperfect bodies.

It just doesn't matter if they call us "curvy," "plus-size," or "pretty, pretty princess," if we continue to be treated like second-class consumers. It's time for designers and retailers to stop talking and step up and serve American women. Or we'll just take our big, fat, curvy, plus-size-ass business over to a brand that will.

 

Image via Watcharapol Amprasert/shutterstock

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