I?m too fat for most plus sizes, and it?s more proof that negative reinforcement doesn?t work.
Rebecque Asher | mixkit.co
Today, after attending my daughter?s Christmas party at her school and then taking her out to lunch, I should have gotten back to my writing. Instead, I wound up spending several useless hours online searching for a decent holiday outfit.
In particular, I wanted to find a comfy blue sweater. Something a little more suited for special occasions. Maybe something a bit sparkly or metallic. A cowl neck would be nice. Or, perhaps some snowflakes.
Maybe I was naive, because I didn?t think it would be that difficult to find something. In reality, I couldn?t find anything remotely suitable, and nothing in my size.
Apparently, I’m too fat for people clothes.
I often go through these phases where I give up on finding clothes I like. Instead, I focus on finding clothes that will just cover my fatness.
It?s an act of desperation in those moments where I find that none of the plus size clothing in a store will fit my body. And it?s only gotten worse as I?ve gotten bigger.
Most people have a hard time understanding this. They wonder how I could “let myself go.” The fact that I keep getting fatter seems like evidence of my failure to be a decent human being.
My typical method of clothes shopping these days has me grabbing the largest size of anything that looks ?okay,? which at most stores is a 3X. I try it all on at home and return anything that?s too small, but lately that?s prettymuchallof it.
Which reminds me of a calloused ?joke? on American Dad:
?Not only is Debbie Hyman not fit to be president, she isn?t fit enough to wear people clothes.?
I feel so frustrated, as if I?m tent shopping. And nine times out of 10, it?s utterly disappointing.
Extended plus size shopping is terrible.
The body positivity and fat acceptance movements may have each made significant strides, but they still haven?t made clothes shopping an easy task for those of us who don?t fit into society?s boxes. Aka straight sizes.
And I have to admit that my tendency is to blame myself. I haven?t worked hard enough to lose the weight. Maybe I don?t deserve decent clothes. Perhaps I should stay home and starve myself until I can at least walk into any store and buy a top that fits.
This is my punishment, I think quietly. And I did this to myself.
The answer feels more complicated than that. Maybe more complicated than it needs to be. It?s not my fault that I have polycystic ovarian syndrome or lipedema. Both diseases contribute significantly to eating disorders, like BED. So, no. To a great degree, it?s not my ?fault? that I am fat.
Morbid obesity is in my DNA. Sure, I could likely be less fat, but even that?s no moral failing.
Besides, the fact that clothes shopping is so damn difficult is yet another risk factor for further weight gain, because it piles on the shame.
Negative reinforcement isn?t an effective way to lose weight.
?Traditional wisdom? says that we shouldn?t cater to the super obese. That offering stylish, comfortable, and affordable clothes would only encourage more folks to get or stay fat.
It?s the same reasoning that causes people to say that if we don?t like the way people treat us, we should just lose the weight. And if it was so simple, maybe that would be true.
But weight loss often isn?t simple, and we?re not only talking about physical health, but mental, and emotional wellness too.
We already know that shame doesn?t work. Yet, straight-sized people seem to think it?s fitting for fatties.
Contrary to this public opinion, the lack of quality clothing in extended plus sizes is a mental health burden nobody deserves to bear. Women with lipedema don?t deserve to go into deep depressive episodes because they can?t find pants that fit their legs. Fat people don?t deserve to feel like animals or monsters because so few companies are willing to make clothes for us.
Plus size clothing has a big fat diversity problem.
As far as we?ve come in terms of plus size clothing, there?s still a very long way to go. It?s embarrassing, really, that the companies which claim to care so much about plus size bodies don?t care to create lines for different body types.
That?s because the media has a deep body diversity problem, and plus size clothing manufacturers are busy barely keeping up with the times.
The reality is that people put on weight in different ways. Women with lipedema, for example, are notoriously pear-shaped. But nobody is offering clothing that truly fits our lower halves. Instead, the media portrays most plus size folks as apple shapes: large chests, stomachs, and butts, but surprisingly slim, or perfectly proportionate legs.
Fat people everywhere know that our weight is not perfectly distributed, and that there are different types of plus sized bodies, but retailers haven?t tried to address this reality.
I?m sick of pretending that things are getting so much better for fat people.
A lot of us have taken on this mindset that we should be happy for any crumbs we get from the fashion industry. Celebrities often jump into clothing design and frequently offer plus size lines, yet each one suffers from the same problems.
Cheap, thin material. Prices that start around $40 for a basic t-shirt. Skinny jeans or leggings with no regard to the fat bodies with much larger calves and thighs. Jeans start around $75 and wear out between the legs within a couple of months.
All in all, the choices are dismal, and I?m tired of the notion that we need to be grateful that anything existsforfat people.
I don?t have an answer, but I?m definitely at my wit?s end. After writing many letters to retailers like Torrid and Lane Bryant, it?s clear that they don?t care.
And I don?t think any company is going to care until somebody with real ?influence? begins making a fuss. We can?t seem to count on plus size celebrities. Melissa McCarthy and Rebel Wilson both dropped the ball and attached their names to fashion lines that claimed to be innovative but were anything but. That seems to be the trend.
AllIwantforChristmasisa personal stylistandclothes thatactuallyfit.
It?s clear where the fashion industry stands when it comes to fat people. We?re not worth the effort, in their eyes. We ?should just lose the weight if we don?t like our choices.?
How?s that thought process really working out?
See for yourself. This is me, in the restroom before picking my daughter up from school. This is me wearing whatever clothes feel comfortable and “fit,” but yes, I still feel like shit. Because all I’m doing is covering my body.
Author, last week. Both knees exhibit the medial knee bulge of lipedema.
And I?ll be honest. When I can?t find clothes that fit well, or clothes that I like, I have a really hard time bothering with things like makeup or jewelry.
Before I know it, all sorts of other self-care habits feel hard. That?s because there?s this running dialogue playing in my head that I don?t deserve nice things as long as I?m in this body.
Interestingly enough, I have never looked at another fat person and thought that they don?t deserve nice clothes or acts of self-care. For whatever reason, I only feel that way about me.
I know that finding clothes I like would make a huge difference in my overall quality of life, and I?m not the only one. But I keep wondering how long it will take for businesses to get on board and decide that fat people are actually people too.
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