i love shoes, feminism, equality, gender nonconformity, activism, and calling out the patriarchy. i am the former president of the jackson area national organization for women http://jackson.nowms.org and currently an intern at planned parenthood.
i have a blog with a lot of varying themes http://ladylamia.wordpress.com but i wanted something that was strictly for my activism and feminism, so here you are!
the views and opinions expressed in these blogs are my personal views and opinions, they are not the official positions of the national organization for women (NOW), planned parenthood, or any other organization that i am or have been affiliated with.
“Mainstream media aren’t motivated to talk about how diets contribute to poor health because they depend on advertising dollars from these industries,” said Jean Kilbourne, a longtime media critic and author of the seminal Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel. The food and diet industries are also powerful lobbies in Washington, which means that their interests are represented in health policy, often above the best interests of the public.
the article compares this campaign to dove’s “real beauty” campaign, however, i think dove’s campaign is fairly empowering whereas saying “my butt is a border collie that herds skinny women away from the best deals at clothing sales” is just gross. it’s trying to be empowering, but it falls short. of course, all advertising is trying to get you to buy something, but i would think nike would try to concentrate on health or fitness, rather than embracing one’s “big butt” because it helps with shopping :P
The market for plus-size clothes is effectively a Catch-22: women purchase less than they might because what they see on the racks doesn’t appeal to them; manufacturers and retailers cite poor sales figures as evidence of low demand and retrench, failing to provide the supply that might meet changing tastes. But correcting the imbalance isn’t a simple matter of translating a Milan runway look into a larger size. It is not because Miuccia Prada cannot abide women who are a size 18 that she makes no dresses in size 18. Matters of image and fears of brand diminishment may play a role, but the business of making plus-size clothes turns out to be enormously complicated.
The most formidable obstacle lies in creating a prototype. If you already have a line of clothing and a set system of sizing, you cannot simply make bigger sizes. You need whole new systems of pattern-making. “The proportions of the body change as you gain weight, but for women within a certain range of size, there is a predictability to how much, born out by research dating to the 1560s,” explained Kathleen Fasanella, who has made patterns for women’s coats and jackets for three decades. “We know pretty well what a size 6 woman will look like if she edges up to a 10; her bustline might increase an inch,” Fasanella said. “But if a woman goes from a size 16 to a 20, you just can’t say with any certainty how her dimensions will change.”
Thin people are more like one another; heavier people are less like one another. With more weight comes more variation. “You’ll have some people who gain weight entirely in their trunk, some people who will gain it in their hips,” Fasanella continued. “As someone getting into plus-size, you can either make clothing that is shapeless and avoid the question altogether or target a segment of the market that, let’s say, favors a woman who gets larger in the hip. You really have to narrow down your customer.” A designer must then find a fit model who represents that type and develop a pattern around her. But even within the subcategories, there are levels of differentiation. “Armholes are an issue,” Fasanella told me, by way of example. “If you have decided to go after the woman who is top-heavy, well, some gain weight in their upper arms and some do not. There are so many variables; you never win. It’s like making computers and then deciding you want to make monitors; a monitor is still a computer product, but it’s a whole new kind of engineering.”
Can we please come up with a better sizing plan for women already? Plus sized women aren’t the only women who don’t fit neatly into one arbitrary number. Shirts never fit me in the bust properly and anything that fits my waist never fits my legs. Anything that’s adult lady sized is always at least 4 inches too long for me. Just because you’re this weight or this height doesn’t mean your measurements are exactly one set way. And to say that any one group of people are more ‘alike’ and another group is totally completely different and therefore difficult is extremely messed up while at the same time, totally inaccurate here. If we completely overhauled how we did sizing, it would work better for EVERYONE.
I reject the imaginary line between skinny and fat, the line that’s a size 6 for some people and a size 14 for others. And if you’re friends with a fat person, they lose 4 imaginary dress sizes on the basis of that friendship (“Oh honey, you’re not fat! Don’t be so mean to yourself!”). I reject the beauty ideal. I reject the idea of the “flattering outfit”. I reject the gender binary. I reject being ladylike. These standards are not nobel things to uphold – they trap us, and constrict us. They push us into target markets so we can be sold things more easily. And while I can say with 150% gusto that I reject these things, I can’t help but toe the line sometimes without even realising. Societal conditioning is that strong, it’s that pervasive.
So when someone makes fun of me for: being fat, wearing “unflattering” clothes, looking like a man, being a bitch, having acne, not being polite or gracious, wearing too little perfume, wearing too much perfume, having gunk in my eye, wearing a t-shirt that shows my belly when I raise my arm, perspiring a lot or laughing too loudly… It’s totally personal, but then again, it totally isn’t. We all have a variety of unique and personal characteristics, and they might read a little differently depending on where you live, what you look like, how much you earn, the colour of your skin or what gender you are, but at the end of the day those criticisms are about hemming you in and disempowering you. I can’t even get angry at people who insult me anymore because I know most of us are conditioned to think this way.
jezebel weighs in (no pun intended) on articles about women who don’t want to pass their food issues on to their daughters.
“Must a child’s healthy body image come at the cost of constant anxiety on the part of her parents? And, by extension, do we need to raise kids to relax about food and eating only until they have kids of their own, at which point they must begin closely monitoring “what goes in and what comes out” of their mouths?
Orenstein writes, “It’s not that I’m extreme; it’s just that like most - heck all - of the women I know, my relationship to food, to my weight, to my body is … complicated.” That Orenstein knows no women with uncomplicated food and body feelings is depressing but not surprising — let’s hope her daughter never has to say the same.