September 8, 2010

Thin women not "real women" says Lane Bryant

Today, on my way to get lunch, I passed this sign in the window of plus-size retailer Lane Bryant:
Evidently, the company refers to the currency used in their frequent buyer program as "Real Women Dollars." Listen, I understand that it's probably difficult to wear a larger size in a culture that glorifies thinness and stigmatizes women with curves as gross or unhealthy. This fact is ridiculous, sad, and unfair.

What I do not understand though, is why in supporting one body type our culture feels it necessary to degrade another. Real women dollars? What about lacking curves fails to make me legitimately female? Shouldn't a woman be allowed to be "womanly" regardless of her body type?

In the pursuit of body acceptance, I think it is important that we, as people, try to distance ourselves from this sort of "othering" language. Just because we are going to welcome larger women into the idea of beauty, it does not mean we need to ostracize smaller women in the process.

130 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for this. People have called me whiny and insensitive for saying this but seriously... Does my lack of a butt make me imaginary now? This phrasing is everywhere, from retailers to dating shows for said "real women", and it's a pretty alienating choice. Sure Lane Bryant doesn't market to me, but does that mean that they ought to put people like me down to support their own consumers?

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  2. You're absolutely right. While thin women often have access to resources that fat women do not, this kind of rhetoric does service to no one. It begs the question - if Lane Bryant's demographic (fat women) are real, does that mean everyone else is fake? And what about the women who are too fat for Lane Bryant? What are they?

    Thanks for this. :)

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  3. Well, as a Lane Bryant customer, it is one of maybe 3 to 5 stores I can shop at. I am continuously made to feel like less of a woman and more of a disgusting blob by the media and stores. It's nice to have the affirmation of "real" in front of woman. However, I can see how the skinny women of the world might be put upon by this.

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  4. i just don't see why your weight should have anything to do with how much of a woman you are in the first place

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  5. I don't either. But day after day there is something on t.v. that makes me feel like I should be ashamed for not being thinner. I don't think that Lane Bryant meant it as an attack on those less curvaceous than women who shop there, I think they meant it more as an affirmation to those women who do shop there. That they're not less of the ideal woman just because they have 1's or 2's in front of those ideal 2's, 4's, 6's or 8's.

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  6. I was just about to make a post about this! I've been hearing/seeing so much lately about "real women". Real women have curves. Real women have a booty. Real women eat.
    Pretty sure I'm real, at 110 pounds, without a booty or any distinctive curves to speak of.

    http://imamountain.blogspot.com

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  7. I feel like the "real women" campaign's original intent was to make sure women who have curves, have a booty, and eat are feeling included and don't feel ostracized from the general population of women. The victims of a society that is obsessed with one type of beauty are trying to challenge that. Unfortunately, the outcome is we are putting down our fellow women who have a thinner body shape. In reality, all women should be able to feel like a real woman and shouldn't be told otherwise.

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  8. I feel the same way whenever reading an article in which the (often male) author refers to a generic person as "she", as if compensating for decades of "he" being the default pronoun. That doesn't solve the problem of gender marginalization at all, and instead serves to make me feel ostracized and accused for having a Y chromosome.

    I know things like calling curvy women "real" and using the other gender-specific pronoun as default are meant to be affirmations, but they come off as retaliatory. Why can't we just eliminate prejudices instead of inverting them?

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  9. They do come off as retaliatory, however after generations of someone being ostracized and accused for having an X chromosome and not being accepted by society because of a curvy body shape, some frustration is built up. These things give those people a chance to say, "this is what you've been doing to us, how do you like it now?" Is it right? Hell no. Is it the reality? For some people, hell yes.

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  10. I am a fat woman and pretty entrenched in the so-called Fat-o-Sphere. I HATE this whole "real woman" thing! It pits fat women like me against thin women, and that helps no one. I don't want to be called real as if other women are somehow fake because they don't have as much flesh as me.

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  11. Oh gosh, poor me - I'm not a real woman... but I'm not man either, so what AM I?? :(

    Seriously though, while I can understand they may have been trying to affirm that there is nothing wrong with being curvy or larger, that you are still a real woman... they way they did it is alienating. What about people too small OR too large to shop there? Or who just don't like the clothing there? Are the rest of us not real? I don't like pitting one against another, I think we should all just celebrate being women whatever size we are.

    Wonderful post.

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  12. As a 31-year old overweight female (by about 40 pounds--I'm sort of in the middle of traditional "Thin/Fat" arguments), I wanted to add that you can also be unhappy at any weight. And just because you're thin and your body type coveted by someone else doesn't mean you're happy.

    That's why people have anorexia. I just want people to be healthy, (myself included, and I'm working on it) and I would love to see more health oriented goals for women as opposed to size.

    That being said, I was walking around the mall last weekend, and lamented to someone that I could never be as thin as the mannequins. They said, "But Mel, you were that thin." I'm five feet tall, so yeah--I probably was that thin, and not completely unhealthy. I'm still not sure how I feel about it. I'm not sure I'll get back to that. But it made me think about whether or not I'm copping out and giving in to being overweight (well, the image at least. I have changed my diet and habits.)

    Interesting discussion!

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  13. Nope today you can only be "real women" or "skinny bitches."

    I wish our culture focused more on fitness rather than size. I think healthy is beautiful. Everyone needs to eat right and exercise so they can have good working, capable bodies. I know to some it will sound hateful but I think laziness and apathy are ugly. People should not let their bodies go to waste, that goes for "skinny-fat" girls (& boys!) too.

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  14. To be honest, I think that we need to spend less time paying attention to other's body shape, fitness level, etc. There are more important facets to each of us. I don't see why it is anybody's business if I'm overweight and lazy or underweight and anorexic. Posing the matter as just wanting people to be healthy enough to meet YOUR standard of not lazy and apathetic doesn't make the body image issues go away. Too many people look at fat women and refuse to acknowledge the plethora of reasons for that person's appearance. In the end, if you make judgments based on appearance, for whatever reason you use to justify it, you are shallow.

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  15. Marketing execs trying to "empower" a group by demeaning another group. And ultimately has the opposite effect on self esteem. :(

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  16. Thank you so much for this. I am a naturally thin teenager with no curves in sight, and every time I see one of those "Real Beauty" ads I just feel like an ugly freak of nature. Also, this comment might elicit a lot of angry retorts, but I feel like I need to say it: It's disrespectful to call someone fat--so why do some people feel perfectly comfortable labeling all thin women anorexic? Seriously, some people I know don't even describe people as thin or skinny any more, they just say anorexic.
    I hope nobody was offended by that. I'm not trying to say that being called fat is less degrading than being called anorexic, I'm just sharing what I think is the flip side of the issue.

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  17. Lane Bryant is ooky. I don't like this "real woman" bullshit at all, especially since I firmly believe that all gender is fluid and performative - there is no such thing as a "real" woman.

    If I had to defend Lane Bryant (which I don't especially want to do), I might compare this to the "Black is Beautiful" movement of the late 70s. There are almost no places in this country where fat women are complimented, praised or treated well; it is very hard to come across truly fat-positive imaging. You have to hunt it out in the fat-o-sphere, but you're not going to stumble across it on your tv or at the mall. Instead, you'll come across references to the "scourge of obesity" and endless discussions about your (imagined or real) laziness.

    I DON'T think these kinds of divisions are helpful at all, but I'm reluctant to chastise LB 100% for their "real woman" slogan. I think I chastise them 98.8% for it.

    in response to K: conflating skinniness with anorexia does a huge disservice to people with actual eating disorders. The Fat-O-Sphere is working diligently to reclaim "fat" as a simple, unloaded adjective (much like tall or short - no value judgment attached). NO ONE should be made to feel like an "ugly freak of nature," ever, for anything.

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  18. I honestly don't think its a fat vs thin thing. I think its more of a "Even if you're big, you're a real woman too." But I guess thats just how I see it. I've been a little on the chubby side my whole life and made to feel like I am less than human. I think its great there are places that can encourage those that start to believe stupid things like that and that they too are just as real as anyone else.

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  19. K, agreed.

    As a teen/20-something I was super bony thin and couldn't help it no matter how much I ate (20 years later I'm a bit chubby). Ordinary people don't usually tell other people they're fat to their face, but for some reason they feel perfectly ok about insulting skinny people with "You're so skinny you're going to blow away", "Why don't you have a sandwich", "You're anemic/anorexic/sick looking" and even "You make me sick", the latter of which I heard more often than I could count.

    It all boils down to the same thing: People staring at women's bodies, judging them, and feeling entitled to comment. It is rude and uncalled for no matter what the woman's weight or physical appearance.

    And yes, the Lane Bryant angle doesn't help. How about, you're a real woman because you're you, rather than because we've evaluated your body and found a way to express approval of it.

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  20. This has long been an annoyance of mine. ALL women are 'real women'.

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  21. I'm another one of those skinny women who has been on the receiving end of vitriol simply because of my body type. I wish I had more muscle and fat on me, but after ten years of trying to gain weight, I've accepted that this is the way I'm supposed to be. Other people, however, seem to have problems with it.

    I'm not sure why some people (even strangers) think it's okay to make nasty comments to skinny women. Comments like "Damn, you're skinny!" "Eat a sandwich!" and "Gross, I can see your bones!" are hurtful and rude. I would never dream of making disparaging remarks about someone's weight; why do some people think it's okay to say these things to us?

    I was once making out with a guy who suddenly jumped up, shuddered, and said it was disgusting that he could feel my vertebrae. I wanted to cry. I can't help the way I'm built any more than a large woman can help the way she's built.
    In high school, some girls told me they actually hated me because I was so skinny. How am I supposed to respond to that? How am I supposed to feel about that? It's no different than telling someone you hate them because of their skin color.

    There are ways to embrace all healthy body shapes as beautiful, but the "real women" angle generally fails in this regard. By describing a subset of women as "real", it implies that those who do not meet this criteria are somehow inferior and undesirable. It excludes certain women much like a high school clique excludes those who don't fit a narrow standard. As women, we need to stop allowing the media to pit us against each other. The only people who win in this scenario are the advertisers who convince us that we have body issues only they can fix.

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  22. The thing I see here is a (somewhat mild) appearance of single-value logic, on both sides of the bodies debate. That is to say, on the one hand you have, well, pretty much all of American society saying fat is bad. Therefore, all fat is always bad, and there can never be such a thing as good fat, and the only good amount of fat is zero. Admittedly, most individual Americans are probably not that crazy--after all, we aren't all pro-ana--but I think we can agree that as a whole our culture's image of the ideal woman, and arguably of fitness in general, is based on the rules above.

    But then, many of those of us who resist this, who see these rules as disgusting and horrible for women go all the way to the other end, and demonize thinness (or, at the very extremes, idolize fat) with the same single-mindedness with which the rest of society condemns it. Thinness is bad. Therefore, all thinness is always bad, and there can never be such a thing as a safe amount of thinness or a healthy thinness. (I'm sure you can see how this can be twisted further to make fat good.)

    Now, I don't think Lane Bryant (or her advertisers) meant to do anything other than affirm and compliment larger women in a way that, frankly, they didn't come up with. But I certainly think that the logic behind this particular form of affirmation, both to her (advertisers) and to society as a whole, is rooted in this kind of single-value thinking.

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  23. I love how everyone thinks that everything is offensive or trying to make others feel bad. Race card, religion card, and now the weight card. Just get over it, not everything is meant to make you feel negatively. If you really feel that way, I think you should reevaluate how you feel about yourself instead of whining that everyone is out to get out.

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  24. Out to get you, rather.

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  25. Anonymous, you seem to have a reading comprehension problem.

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  26. Several stores have adopted this frankly-troubling idea and changed the name of their "plus-sized" section to "women's." Kohl's and Macy's are the only two examples I can think of right now.

    Being in the target demographic for those clothes is more disturbing to me than anything. It's easy to believe the section was renamed to make fat people like myself feel better (it doesn't, nor does inventing numbering systems for clothing sizes within your store, Lane Bryant and Torrid), but on the other hand...the name-change might signify that fat is the new normal. This should disturb *everyone.*

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  27. Anonymous, "womens" has been a pseudonym for "plus size" in sizes for a long time. I'm 42 and that was around when I was a kid. Various stores may be adopting it that didn't before, though, I don't know.

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  28. The trouble as I see it is that we as a society insist on having *one* normal, *one* ideal. We refuse to allow for variety in our view of the ideal of health, which means that someone, some body type, some person or group of people with a healthy, but not IDEAL body has to suffer. Either fat people have to be understood to be unhealthy, for being SO MORBIDLY OBESE at even a few pounds over emaciated that it's OBVIOUSLY UNHEALTHY (and some are; there's a whole industry dedicated to helping them clean themselves if they're too fat to do so, a line I hope you are all nuanced enough to agree with me on), or thin people have to considered unhealthy because OBVIOUSLY it's unhealthy to be SO THIN, whether the person in question really is "that" thin (and again, there are people who I hope we can agree are unhealthily thin more or less by choice (you know what I mean, I hope). They grow fur, are OCD about food, and have body dysmorphia.) It's too easy for us to try for the middle and overshoot onto the other side, I think maybe in part because of the way we have turned body types and eating habits into identities (see fat acceptance and pro-ana) and partly because, well, doing otherwise requires actual thinking. That's the "beauty" of the single-value logic I was discussing earlier: one only has to think things through once, and after that all decisions are easy. And this is also probably why we as a society can't abide multiple standards of beauty or health (and whenever someone tries, it either seems contrived or does overshoots).

    That said, Shea, may I ask: do you know if non-plus-size places also advertised as "women's"? Or if the sizes back then would have been considered plus size by their standards? After all, I believe it's only relatively recently we have pushed for thinness in women (and in general) the way we do today. I mean, wasn't Marilyn Monroe (now famously) like an 8 or a 12 at the height of her career?

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  29. I hate how female clothing is separated out in general. You have the Junior section, which is typically supposed to be for 13 on up to middle to late twenties. You have the Missus section, which frankly, I have no idea who that is supposed to be geared towards. You have the "Womens'" section, which honestly, has always seemed to be marked towards older, somewhat out of shape and larger women, and they've always just seemed dowdy and plain, even at such stores as Lane Bryant. The last section I've particularly seen advertised for plus sized and non plus sized, but usually for that section I've seen far fewer sizes below a size 8, and an expanded selection of plus sized clothing compared to the Juniors and Missus sections.

    It seems depressing that there's just these three categories that are supposed to define all the types of styles that various women wear. The "women's" department in particular to me seems usually code for clothing that is cut somewhat bigger and a bit more generously, that mostly consists of looser fitting pants, matchy camisole and cardigan sets, stereotypical animal prints, elastics, and in general cuts that remind me of grandma, even though they're typically supposed to be geared towards women who are in their 40s and beyond. If that's all that the fashion market thinks of when it comes to older women, makes me not want to get older, because it's just not fun.

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  30. I have always felt bad for thin girls who are constantly accused of having anorexia, told they aren't real women (case in point), and basically shoved around to make plus-sized women feel "better" about themselves... Just stay healthy, be who you are, and OWN it. It doesn't matter what size you are.

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  31. While I agree that the ambiguous term "real women" can be taken as problematic, I don't think it's meant the way you're taking it. Just because the customers who frequent Lane Bryant are "real women" does not imply that other women are less real. It is, rather, an affirmation of the legitimacy of the desire of fat women to purchase attractive and quality clothing (ok, at LB, that's debatable).

    Your post is an example of thin privilege. I didn't feel compelled to comment on it until I saw the same comments on another blog today. This inspired a blog post of my own:

    http://chunkymonkeymind.blogspot.com/2010/09/break-out-violin-thin-women-are-being.html

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  32. Palaverer, I read a bit of your blog entry, and in the first couple lines you pointed out that plus-size women have trouble finding clothes, whereas it is easy for thin women to find clothing that fits them. I strongly disagree with this statement. I am extremely thin (about size 0-2) and I can never find clothing, especially pants or shorts, that fit me correctly. I wear t-shirts just about everyday because those are the only tops that fit me really well. I had to go about 2 hours away from where I live to find a clothing store, Forever 21, that had at least some clothes in my size, and even still many of their clothing in "small" was too baggy or didn't fit me correctly. I also feel that you don't truly understand what it's like to be asked if you have an eating disorder once a week, or sit in a class where a teacher says that she would never want to be your size and doesn't understand how men could ever be attracted to someone your size. I have experienced that and I'm sure other thin women have too, so don't you dare try to say that our complaints unwarranted. And my "womanhood" has definitely been mocked and put into question, like when people say thin women have "the body of a twelve year old boy". I think you need to look at things from a different perspective and realize that thin women can be hurt by mean weight comments as well.

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  33. Chelsea, you are right, and I apologize for not taking that point of view into account. I did not say that it is easy for all thin women to find clothing, but I did use sarcasm to imply that non-plus size women do, which did not exclude the smallest range of sizes. You are right that thin women put up with a lot of crap, too, which is what feminism in general is fighting against. All women are constantly judged based on their looks and how well they conform to certain standards; even when they conform to those standards, they can never be good enough. Thin women are very often positively represented in popular culture (while fat women are almost never presented, let alone positively), but in practice, they may not be appreciated for their conformance (I mean that in the physical sense) to beauty and "health" standards.

    That's why I agree that using "real women" as a description is problematic. Because one can interpret it as excluding certain females, and I think dividing women that way is just another means to conquer them. But I do not think that it is meant that way, and I would like to see thin women get the real point: it is not about lowering thin women to a lesser status, but raising fat women to a higher one.

    As a record, I would have liked to have this exchange in the comments there, but I will add this to the original post.

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  34. The problem is that everyone has associated a certain size with the word 'healthy' and anyone not that size is not healthy. That is not the case. There are many people that are large and healthy and also many people who are small and healthy. 'Attractive' is the same.

    I think we ought to do away with sectioning the clothing sizes altogether. Don't call something plus-sized, women-sized, or my personal favorite, Goddess-sized, just put a number to it, or something.

    I also very much dislike how most of my favorite clothing designs don't come in all sizes. Companies do that to save money, but if they provided all sizes correctly, they would actually gain money.

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  35. Amen Cap'n Kyrie. And might I recommend that the number they put to clothes should reflect reality in some way, like your body measurements (the way men's clothes do), rather than the random, arbitrary, and inconsistent system we have now.

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  36. Agreed, Palaverer. A size zero should mean a waist doesn't exist. The sizes don't make sense the way they are now.

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  37. I guess my first comment didn't get through. Oh well..

    All I wanted to say is that people might be reading too much into this. I understand that people might be ofended by the way they are perceived by the media. However, I don't think it was the marketing team's intention to ostracize anyone through their choice of words. They are just trying to appeal to who they believe to be their target audience. I don't think that LB was trying to ostracize certain women, or that they were trying to clasify women as "real" or "imaginary".

    The fact is that, till the end of civilization, there will always be nay-sayers who try to pin two sides of an argument against each other through select phrases or words. It's not about changing their minds, cause let's face it, you change one, and two others come along. It's about changing the way we react to them. Instead of finding fault in a door being blue (oh, that clearly appeals to men, so it discriminates against women), let's get past our insecurities about any given subject and rise above whatever the nay-sayers might say.

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  38. Great post, this "real women" thing is something that has frustrated me for a long time. I am neither overweight nor too thin. I am "curvy" (large bust, hips, and butt) but petite, and I often find I cannot fit into items marketed for either end. That is, clothes for "real women," a la Lane Bryant, are too big for me, and I'm definitely not squeezing into skinny jeans any time soon. In magazines, I generally fit into the description of "curvy" but that is too often used as a euphemism for fat. I'm not complaining about my body, I'm happy with it, I'm just frustrated with the terminology the media uses, and the need to label people, and especially women in the first place.

    I agree with many people who posted here, that health rather than weight should be emphasized. We can't "celebrate curves" to the extent that we ignore the serious health risks of obesity, nor should we encourage women to be unnaturally thin through starvation, overexercise, or other means. In fitness and in fashion, making the most of what you've got should be what's focused on.

    I am currently living abroad in France and what strikes me so much about French women is not that they "don't get fat" as some books would tell you (they do), but that they have a general confidence that the majority of American women seem to lack. Of course these are generalizations; please don't think I'm saying that no French women ever suffer poor self-esteem, or that all American women are overly concerned about their bodies and lack confidence. However, it seems that rather than stuffing themselves into (or drowning in) the "latest fashion," French women do their own thing style-wise, emphasizing not what's "in" at the moment, but what both looks and feels good on them. And the result? They look great! I have noticed such a variety of beauty in the women here, and I'm convinced it's the nonconformity to strict fashion rules and the consciousness and acceptance of their own bodies.

    Confidence and comfort in oneself is true beauty, and it saddens me each time any girl, thin, fat, in between, lots of money to spend on clothes or no money to spend on clothes, straight hair curly hair wavy hair, thinks that changing her very being is what's going to make her attractive.

    This is by no means a complete summary of all of my thoughts on what everyone has posted here, but a small observation on difference in cultural attitudes about beauty and size. Thank you very much for this post.

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  39. I love how "hepfat" said that Lane Bryant is geared towards "fat women." It's people like you who are screwed up in this society, because if a woman has any curves at all she is called "fat." I don't shop at Lane Bryant, but I'm pretty sure they cater to anyone who is above a size 14, because anything more than a size 14 is hard to find in regular stores sometimes. Size 14 is NOT fat.

    Besides that point, I totally agree with you. Our society is hell bent on putting women against each other. Movies love showing girls "talking shit" behind each others backs, getting into "sexy cat fights," and making fun of each other. Our society loves that stuff because the media portrays it as the truth.

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  40. Lane Bryant, like most plus size stores, carries sizes from 14 to 32 (of course, those numbers are meaningless, because a 14 in one store is not necessarily the same as a 14 in another store--in fact, the sizes can differ within stores from brand to brand). Since 14s and 32s are at the edges of their range, LB tends to carry less of them. You will mostly find clothing between sizes 16-28.

    Fat is a non-specific term. Some people choose to define it by accepted medical parameters such as BMI (useless). Others choose to base it on a visual estimate which is entirely subjective. But most people, particularly those in size acceptance communities, consider plus sizes to generally fall under the moniker of "fat" where fat is a neutral descriptor.

    This is in no way meant to be a judgment of the "curvy" woman's relative size or value. But it is accurate to say that LB's general customer base is fat women.

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  41. This has been bothering me a lot lately, actually, especially what magazines classify as the "athletic" figure. Just because a girl have curves does not mean she can't be athletic, and just because a girl is athletic doesn't mean she can't have curves. Likewise I know lots of girls who would be classified under the "athletic" figure who have never exercised a day in their lives.

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  42. As someone who grew up obese and recently shrunk down, I always get upset by these discussions. Especially since, without fail, someone will speak up about how it's not okay to call someone fat but skinny girls are constantly mocked for their weight. I feel bad, because as a feminist I believe that all woman regardless of body are equal, and as a decent human being I want to understand and feel sympathy for those of you who are treated cruelly due to having an "undesirable" body as defined by our oppressive culture.

    But then the little girl me who was needlessly tortured and outcast and picked on all her life wants to give a laugh. Certainly, it's considered MEAN to call someone fat, but that only makes it hurt more when it gets thrown in your face. Trust me, no one ever had a problem telling me about my weight problem, either. If not directly, then implied and dressed as concern. Yes, all those mothers at my school where just worried about sixth grade me because no boy would ask me out, you see, if I didn't "take care of myself". PE class meant regularly having a gym teacher weigh me in front of my classmates. "Fat" might be consider more rude a term than "thin" but don't conflict it's apparent rudeness to mean that it doesn't get said to our faces. It does, often and loudly.

    On the other hand, I lost over 180 pounds. Oh, no, don't congratulate me, please. I was actually much healthier at my largest than I am now. I've always eaten rather healthy - if I could survive off nothing but fruit I would (hint: Once I hit college I actually tried living off nothing but fruits and some veggies. It turns out my body was not made for this diet, and that's how I ended up in the hospital for two weeks the first time around). It turns out I had more than a couple of cysts on more than a couple of organs, some of which started to fail rather fast. Not being able to eat for nearly a month, that'll really assist with the weight loss.

    And all those people that claim to carry not about looks but about healthy weight, do you think they were shocked and frightened by my experience? Which at one point ended up with me in a foreign country, having not been able to eat for over two weeks, calling my parents one last time because I was so sick and weak I was sure I would honestly die, and might of if my mom hadn't come to my rescue. I just want you to know this was not fun - it scared the ever living shit out of me.

    The reactions ranged from "ooh, you look so good!" to "Oh my God! You're so pretty I almost didn't recognize you!" More than once I ended up back at my apartment near tears because people I thought liked me for me seemed to think that my half a year in and out of hospitals was something to envy because, I mean, look at all the weight I lost!

    So much for caring about "healthy weight".

    In fact, I recently gained back ten pounds at the urging of my doctor who pointed out that if you subtracted all my excess skin counting on the scale, my current weight was actually dangerously low. I once worked my ass off to go from size 26 to 22 and absolutely no one cared to comment. I gained back 10 pounds for my health and was repeatedly told that it was such a shame I was "falling off" my diet.

    In fact, I'm going to say that at least three boys will no longer look me in the eye after the nice long ranting they got about commenting on my weight gain. And I'm not really weeping the loss of these "friends".

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  43. My point is that while I understand that the current standards of beauty are so twisted that ALL women suffer regardless of their size, it's just hard on me to hear people rant against how fat women never stop to think about the injustice suffered by our thinner sisters. I guess I would equate it to whining to my lesbian friend because, sure, our culture paints her as a sinner, a butch, a pedo but doesn't she know how much us straight women suffer under the patriarch! No one is saying that we don't, the hetronormative cultural values hurt EVERYONE - men, women, gay, straight and all the many people in between that we as a society mock or ignore.

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  44. Santiago said: "That said, Shea, may I ask: do you know if non-plus-size places also advertised as "women's"? Or if the sizes back then would have been considered plus size by their standards? "

    I'm not sure exactly what you're asking, but it sounds like you're asking if "women's" has ever meant anything besides plus size?

    As far as I know, (and Rawr touched on this), clothes for female adults have long come in three categories of sizes: "Juniors" which is clothes for young people (more about style than size), "Womens" which means plus-size, and "misses" which means adult-women-who-aren't-plus-size. That is/was true in and out of plus-sized stores.

    As for the second part of the question.. are you asking if "misses" or "non-plus" went into higher numbers than it does now?

    That I don't know, I was a kid... there's that rumor that Marilyn Monroe wore a 14 and then there's that counter-argument that her day's 14 was more of an 8. I do know that sometimes if you try to make clothes with sewing patterns, which are old-school sizes I think, you often end up wearing a size you don't expect (larger I think).

    I also don't think there was such thing as a zero or below when I was younger. I sort of remember that coming on the scene one day.

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  45. Anyone who wants to know more about Marilyn Monroe's size should check out this post: http://www.fatnutritionist.com/index.php/the-body-of-marilyn-monroe/

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  46. Good goodness, I know I'm a little late replying to this blog post -- but thank you! It has never boded well with me that whilst I am out shouting at the world to stop making curvier women feel ashamed of their bodies, these same women are often shouting back at me that men like "'real' women with an ass and tits". Well, thanks, that always boosts my confidence. I completely agree with everything that's been said here. We live in a culture that gets so hung up on appearances that we become desensitized to the health aspect of our body size. It's either, "Oh, she's a fat bitch," or "she's got some meat on her bones, she must be healthy." It's either, "Oh, she's so skinny, she must be healthy," or "somebody's anorexic!" The entire thing just pits women against each other, and just... eurgh. Why can't we look past aesthetics? You can still be 40 lb. overweight and healthy. And you can have a naturally high metabolism and eat like shit -- or not eat at all. Skinny /=/ healthy 24-7. 'Snot my fault that I'm an A-cup with minimal curves. >.> You rock, Jamie. :)

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  47. real= actual average woman = size 14= plus size woman

    those are the stats

    ReplyDelete
  48. I'm naturally thin, and what Lane Bryant has just said here is very offensive. I mean yeah she's trying to make curvy women feel good about themselves but it doesn't make things right putting down another body type. ALL women are real. Get that through your head Lane!

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  49. THANK YOU! I have been naturally thin my entire life and I've thought what you have just written for pretty much my entire life. I am sick of people saying that "real women have curves," or whatever else. It's high time somebody recognizes and points out that plus-size retailers degrade skinny girls.

    ReplyDelete
  50. I agree with all this. At 5'2 and 95 pounds, I'm a size zero with size D breasts, so although I am thin, I do have natural curves as well, so when I say I have curves, I am laughed at, yet I am not the typical stick-thin girl. And now, according to Lane Bryant, I'm not even real?

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  51. I was just reading this thing and it implied that all women with a bmi of under 18 weren't "real" women and that just fucked me off big time because I'm scraping by at a mere 16.3... I don't believe in starving yourself in the name of beauty and I know I'm unhealthily thin but to be branded as a 'fake' women, almost like I'm an underclass does seriously make you feel like dog crap. I do try to eat well and I'm trying to put on weight, I suppose it's just a natural size for me and I can't help the way I'm made. I don't think any size should be segregated by these stupid terms, I'm quite happy seeing many sizes modelling clothes (actually the other day I was online shopping and I saw this nice dress that a plus size model was wearing and I clicked on it because I liked it to find out it was size 14plus only :( ). I suppose I'd like there to be less emphasis on size whether you're skinny or larger, but more on who the person is. I don't think my size should make me less of a woman.

    ReplyDelete
  52. I think this is an amazing point, one that is also very relevant to many feminists. One reason that people are "afraid' of feminist thoughts is that they automatically jump to a women are better then men perspective. The cause should be equality not towards one thing or another. Great point.

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  53. I totally agree. I'm a skinny 15 year-old, and I hate that. I've had friends saying they wish they were as skinny as me, but they have made no secret that they think women look better with boobs, which I barely have any of. Boys have told me I don't look good, I've been told "Real women have curves" and "Meat is for men, bones are for dogs". I don't agree with saying any body type is better than another. I'm far more insecure about my body than any curvy girl I know, because not only do I think I look bad, but other people think I look bad, too, and apparently I'm not a real woman? I know this advert is meant to make curvy women (And when I say curvy I mean curvy, not fat, if I meant fat I would say fat) feel better, but all it does is imply that women who lack curves aren't real women. I envy curvy girls so much because yes, models are thinner than them, but men prefer them, other women don't judge them as much, and when they are insecure, they get consoled. When I say something negative about my body, I get told to stop being ungrateful-ungrateful for looking like a little girl, and boys not finding my attractive, and other women assuming I'm stuck-up for something I can't help? Real women may or may not have curves, but all you need to be a real woman is a vagina.

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  68. شفط الصرف الصحي بالدمام
    اقبل الشتاء وسيواجه اهالى مدينة الدمام مشكلة من اصعب واخطر المشكلات المتعبة
    أولها انسداد بيارات المجارى وانسداد شبكات الصرف الصحى وهى المواسير
    و يعانى من هذة المشكلة الجميع ويظلون فى البحث عن شركة رائدة متخصصة فى اصلاح كافة المشاكل الخاصة باعطال انسداد المجارى
    ونحن شركة تسليك مجارى بالخبر لدينا من الخبرات الكبيرة التى نكتسبها من اعمالنا السابقة نؤكدلك عملينا العزيز أننا وبكل جدارة وخبرة
    افضل شركة تسليك مجارى بالدمام رخيصة التكلفة وفى نفس الوقت ماهرين فى العمل
    تعمل الشركة بافضل الطرق الحديثة والاساليب المتطورة علي ايدي افضل العاملين والمتخصصين في هذا المجال
    حيث ان الشركة تمتلك طاقم عمل مدرب علي اعلي مستوي علي ايدي خبراء ماهرين وفنيين محترفين
    حيث لاتتواجد هذه المواد الخاصة بالعمل الا داخل شركتنا فقط وهذه واحده من اهم ما يميز
    افضل شركة تسليك مجارى بالدمام عن غيرها من باقي الشركات الاخرى المنافسة فى المجال
    كما يوجد لدينا العديد من الخصومات الهائلة فنقدم خدماتنا باقل الاسعار التى تتناسب مع جميع عملائنا الكرام
    يوجد لدينا فنيون ومهندسون وخبراء مدربون على اعلى مستوى
    وذلك حيث يمكنهم معرفة تحديد الاسباب التى تتسبب فى انسداد المجارى ولان من اصعب الاشياء هو انسداد المجارى الخاصة بالمنزل فهو يوقف الحياه بالمنزل
    و يتسبب فى مشاكل فى غاية الخطورة لاننا دائما نستعمل الحمامات والمطابخ
    وعند انسداد المجاى تتوقف الحياه كما ينتج عنها الروائح الكريهه التى تضر بالمنزل
    وايضا انسداد المجارى وذلك ينتج عنها اضرار خطيرة بالمنزل نفسه من تسربات بالمياه وتحت البلاط وتسربات بالجدران
    فلا تقلق عملينا العزيز من كل ذلك فلدينا المهارة والخبرة العالية فى اعمالنا لحل كل ذلك .
    شركة تنظيف منازل بالجبيل
    شركة تنظيف فلل بالجبيل
    شركة المثالية للتنظيف
    شركة عزل اسطح بالرياض
    شركة صيانة مسابح بالرياض
    شركة تنظيف فلل بالرياض

    ReplyDelete
  69. شفط الصرف الصحي بالدمام
    اقبل الشتاء وسيواجه اهالى مدينة الدمام مشكلة من اصعب واخطر المشكلات المتعبة
    أولها انسداد بيارات المجارى وانسداد شبكات الصرف الصحى وهى المواسير
    و يعانى من هذة المشكلة الجميع ويظلون فى البحث عن شركة رائدة متخصصة فى اصلاح كافة المشاكل الخاصة باعطال انسداد المجارى
    ونحن شركة تسليك مجارى بالخبر لدينا من الخبرات الكبيرة التى نكتسبها من اعمالنا السابقة نؤكدلك عملينا العزيز أننا وبكل جدارة وخبرة
    افضل شركة تسليك مجارى بالدمام رخيصة التكلفة وفى نفس الوقت ماهرين فى العمل
    تعمل الشركة بافضل الطرق الحديثة والاساليب المتطورة علي ايدي افضل العاملين والمتخصصين في هذا المجال
    حيث ان الشركة تمتلك طاقم عمل مدرب علي اعلي مستوي علي ايدي خبراء ماهرين وفنيين محترفين
    حيث لاتتواجد هذه المواد الخاصة بالعمل الا داخل شركتنا فقط وهذه واحده من اهم ما يميز
    افضل شركة تسليك مجارى بالدمام عن غيرها من باقي الشركات الاخرى المنافسة فى المجال
    كما يوجد لدينا العديد من الخصومات الهائلة فنقدم خدماتنا باقل الاسعار التى تتناسب مع جميع عملائنا الكرام
    يوجد لدينا فنيون ومهندسون وخبراء مدربون على اعلى مستوى
    وذلك حيث يمكنهم معرفة تحديد الاسباب التى تتسبب فى انسداد المجارى ولان من اصعب الاشياء هو انسداد المجارى الخاصة بالمنزل فهو يوقف الحياه بالمنزل
    و يتسبب فى مشاكل فى غاية الخطورة لاننا دائما نستعمل الحمامات والمطابخ
    وعند انسداد المجاى تتوقف الحياه كما ينتج عنها الروائح الكريهه التى تضر بالمنزل
    وايضا انسداد المجارى وذلك ينتج عنها اضرار خطيرة بالمنزل نفسه من تسربات بالمياه وتحت البلاط وتسربات بالجدران
    فلا تقلق عملينا العزيز من كل ذلك فلدينا المهارة والخبرة العالية فى اعمالنا لحل كل ذلك .
    شركة تنظيف منازل بالجبيل
    شركة تنظيف فلل بالجبيل
    شركة المثالية للتنظيف
    شركة عزل اسطح بالرياض
    شركة صيانة مسابح بالرياض
    شركة تنظيف فلل بالرياض

    ReplyDelete