So I’ve continued to be bothered by the New York Times’ article Plus Size Wars that I blogged about earlier this week. The author’s tone, while characteristically snarky of the New York Times, seemed to belittle the problems plus size women face when shopping. I decided the first thing I needed to do was find a picture of the author– I would have bet that she was not plus size, but I needed proof. So here’s a photo of Ginia Bellafonte, the author of “Plus Size Wars.” Of course she’s thin.
The line that’s continued to haunt me this week is this:
“All this canny nomenclature seems predicated on the assumption that the larger a woman is, the more shame she experiences when shopping.”
Okay, well, cheers for Ms. Bellafonte if she never experiences shame while trying on clothes. Personally, I don’t know any women, regardless of size, who looks forward to standing in front of a mirror down-lit by flourescent bulbs. Not to mention the terror of ”group changing rooms” where we all have to bare our flaws in front of other (always skinnier, more fabulous) women without any shred of privacy.
Heck, for me, one of the joys of the internet is getting to shop for clothes that I can try on in the privacy of my own home. Of course, this depends on the website having pictures of women who look like me (I love the Gap, but I never believe that their pants will look on me just like it does on their saddlebag-less models). But Ms. Bellafonte seems equally critical of Neiman Marcus, who uses thin girls to sell plus size clothing, and of Torrid, who sells “its leggings and pencil skirts and lace tights on unambiguously large models.”
In the end, it seems Ms. Balleanfonte’s article (which seems at points more like a lecture) is about the war we all feel about accepting ourselves for who we are versus knowing that we could be healthier. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be a “plus size” war at all, but instead a media-fueled crisis of identity and conscience which transcends size and even gender.