A friend, Miss Leyna Rae wrote a poem about the whole American Apparel fiasco that's been buzzing in the airwaves. And, she got a pretty awesome internet shout-out that will hopefully bring her world into a new light. Which, she totally deserves, because... well, just read the writing folks.
I think that American Apparel's response was accurate, and I do think that the issues raised were perhaps too specifically directed at one company's perhaps poor word choice... but this got me thinking....
That the average demographic target is a size six. Six. 6. That the highest they will go on a run-way is a size four. Though, really, a 00 or 0 is more the cut of their jib. I remember being that size, in elementary school... I'd skip over the kid's section because my legs, even at that age were too long for their own good. So I fit my tiny frame into these size 0 pants, and that was okay. But.... that was elementary school. I feel sorry for anyone starving themselves to achieve a body shape that I had before puberty hit, when I could stuff my face full of whatever I'd like and it would melt away. When my teeth were still bucked and gaped, when my mother still cut my hair and I couldn't understand why it was such a poof ball.
Why bother starving yourself, to fit this ideal, to only make under $12 an hour? Because, let's face it, even at size 0 you're no super model. For the few that make it big, travel the world, sure.... while you're making plans to head to Europe, I'll sit in my coffee house and pen the next big thing.... and we can know in our heart of hearts that really, it's not going to happen. We'll end up working here and there, and maybe we'll get lucky enough to catch a break. But, probably not. Even the AMA acknowledges you probably aren't good enough to be a model.
What about 40-32-40, 5'10"?
That doesn't seem too bad....right?
Well... with the first measurements you're a 0-2.
With the second, you're a 12-14. Though, realistically I'm more 10-12, because somehow I can carry my frame pretty well. Should I just label myself as "bootyfull" and carry on my way? I don't know.... but I know that I shouldn't try to hit those teeny numbers staring me down. That I love, love! my curves. I think my assets are just that, I love being a 34 DD. I love having an ass that makes my husband drool. Sure... there are parts of myself that I'd like to change. I'd like to be toner, to lose the cellulite and stretch marks... I did, after all go from that size 0 to a size 10 seemingly overnight. I'd like to tuck my stomach in so that I'm more in that 10 inch gap that clearly marks an hourglass.
Lord knows there are days when I sit at my computer and I stare at these pictures of these women and I cry. My skin has returned with full force to something I never had to suffer through in puberty. My lumps and bumps and jiggles get the best of me. I want to curl up into the smallest ball I can make and hide there until my starvation causes the weight loss I desire. I ponder the ways I can go about this.... I've restricted my caloric intake, I've decreased the trips to fast food. There's a lot more I suppose I could to to sculpt myself into this picture perfect image...and occasionally downing a pint of ice cream when I'm having a bad day probably doesn't help.
Most days, I can find something about myself beautiful enough to carry through. I'll wear a dress in which my breasts look fantastic. There'll be a pair of pants that lift my backside in just the perfect way. I'll find the right color of hair, and my straightening iron will infuse my hair with magic instead of split ends. My eyes will look super blue, and maybe I've done my makeup with enough skill that my acne is all but hidden. And I'll throw on some colors that work well with my palest of skin, and it'll be okay for a moment. A brief moment. And if worse comes to worse there's always photo editing. And with the right makeup, lightening, and blurring of the fine lines I can create a photo that resembles me, but better, and maybe I'll share it with the husband. Maybe I post it to Facebook in the hopes that I can hide behind it. See, see!? I really am pretty! I am! You can see it right there, in that picture, just taken yesterday! I can't be this greasy pig, I just can't, because there's photographic evidence to the contrary. And who cares if it's edited 12 different ways, the basic structure's the same. So, I must be pretty, you see... I simply must be....
So, while a target demographic might be a size 6 for women... it turns out, I'm perfectly average. An average woman is "162.9 pounds and wears a size 14". I bounce between 160-165, somewhere between size 10 and 14. So... there you go. Why does it feel so awful then, to go clothes shopping? Why aren't clothes formatted for the average woman? Why does it take me hours upon hours to find pants that don't cut into my stomach, that fit. If I really am the normalcy, then shouldn't it be the easiest for me to find a proper fit? I understand that finding something in length might be difficult, with the average woman also being 5'5". So, maybe I have to get something in a longer length than most. I have to be careful my dresses are a minimum of 35" long to avoid showing off any unwanted body parts... but, I don't think I should have an issue finding normal clothing tailored to the general shape of my body.
Which leads me to wonder, will eventually society change to accept the normal statistics? Or should we continue to try and fit into that size 6? I guess we can say good job American Apparel, and other clothing lines, for realizing that if you don't expand your sizes, you're alienating the market. It really shouldn't take a viral hit of a woman bathing in ranch dressing to open the eyes of the public that there is an issue.
While I found the pictures taken to prove the point utterly disgusting,
I think that was the intention. To photograph herself the way the world
seems to view the average girl. That curves must mean food obsessions to the extreme, overeating.
To all the companies realizing they should expand to size 14 and beyond.... you're not making way for a special breed of plus sized ladies running around, 'freaks' that can help shovel in some extra cash. You're simply making way for the new girl next door.