I wear a size 16. This is average for women in America. Marilyn Monroe wore a size 14, this is one size smaller than what I wear. Today, I was looking through my mail and found a coupon from a plus size store I used to shop at. I’ve recently lost quite a bit of weight, so I don’t shop there as much anymore, but it used to be the only place that I could find clothes that looked good that fit me. I loved their clothes at the time, but lately, they’ve gone more modern. They’re keeping up with the trends in 70’s comebacks and the like, and to be honest, it’s just not me. I dress conservatively, jeans, khaki’s, t-shirts and blouses, the only thing I buy there anymore are bras, because it’s hard to find bras in my size anywhere else. The lingerie shops don’t even carry bras in my size, which is rather depressing.
The most depressing thing, was the picture on this coupon. It showed two girls wearing tank tops, sporting their bare midriffs, the tank tops clearly did not fit them, you could see gathering at the sides where they’d pulled the tank tops back behind them to make them look like they fit, when they were far too large for these women. Plus size women generally tend to be bigger busted, hips and waist are not the only place that weight will distribute. It goes to the bustline as well, these women were not what I would call real women at all. What makes it seem most amusing to me is that this store claims to cater to the real woman and yet, they show supermodels in their catalogs. How can they claim to cater to the real woman, when we can’t even know what their clothes look like on women of appropriate size? Even if you hire a bunch of models that wear the smallest size they carry (which is a 14/16), at least that way, we can see what it looks like on, which should be the point of hiring models to wear clothes.
Last year and the year before, they hired women to represent the actual woman who were large women. They looked great in their clothes, because of their use of these women in their advertisements, I walked into their store a bit more often, I wandered on by and always ended up walking out of there with something, rather than what I do now, which is walk right on by without bothering to stop.
As a woman who does not wear a perfect size 6, I want to see a woman who is not unlike me wearing the clothes that I intend to purchase. Now, I shop at a larger department store, rather than a specialty clothing shop and I find the kind of clothes I want without pictures of supermodels staring me in the face. Sure they use mannequins of smaller women, but they are not everywhere, they are placed strategically to draw you into their clothing sections, without overwhelming you with the ideal of the female body.
Some time ago, I discussed this with my husband, he said that I am his ideal woman. Granted, he might be required to say that, but I believed it and he was so sincere and the very idea that he is still attracted to me after having put up with me for nearly ten years, lends creedence to his statement. In my time, a fair number of men have found me attractive. It’s my belief that men are not looking for a supermodel when seeking out a mate for life. They are looking for someone who is intelligent, who is funny and charismatic and meets their personality ideals. They could really care less what she looks like on the outside, so long as she is what they love, on the inside.
Along a similar vein, I spoke with my husband and a few male friends on the subject of weather they feel compelled to shop at certain stores for their wives or girlfriends. In the process of this, I discovered, not only would they never dare tell a woman where to shop (they claimed that to do such a thing would mean instant death), they would never go into a clothing store unless they knew for certain that their significant other shopped there at least, on a somewhat regular basis.
The conclusion of all of this is that these sorts of stores should start catering to the women who shop in them, rather than catering to some ideal that was created to please men. No real woman truly lives up to that ideal. Not even the most beautiful and acclaimed supermodel lives up to what is thought of her in reality. Who could? Perfection is a goal to strive for, but while trite, it is true, it is our imperfections that make us who we are. Why would anyone want to be perfect rather than be themselves?