I have been betrayed. You know that feeling when you have confided in a good friend, only to have her turn around and tell half of America your business, and you are left feeling alone, scorned and confused. That's me right now.
I have been betrayed by an experience that once brought me immense pleasure and relaxation. The joy of retail therapy has been tainted, and I do not think I will bounce back. It started off innocently on a chilly Saturday afternoon with some girlfriends and ended with me being confused, angry, and in need of alcohol.
I cannot even put my feelings into words. I believe it all started at Nordstrom's. I was innocently eyeing the MAC counter, despite the fact I had just dropped half our monthly grocery budget at the Macy's MAC counter, and a display case advertising leapt out at me. "Fat Girl Slim" will reduce your appearance of cellulite and make you feel thinner. Of course, I grabbed it up for inspection, thinking this must surely be a joke. After all, all Fat Girls know that there is no cure in a jar, otherwise I would've bought the entire stock of product and swam in it. But alas, it was true. This small jar of lotion claimed that it would essentially cure my obesity for only $35. For an extra $70, I could complete the set with Fat Girl Scrub and Fat Girl Sleep. I was shocked that a product was so blatantly advertised to a Fat Girl. For all I complain about retailers not acknowledging the plus-size portion of the market, this felt like a slap in the face. After all, Slim Girls have cellulite, they probably want to feel thinner as this wonder cream claimed it could. But no, this is for the Fat Girls. I looked around and realized I was the only person even getting within a 5-foot radium of this magic fat-killing cream. I scanned and then noticed the Skinny Bitches at the Lancome and Clinique counters looking at me with disgust, their faces revealing thoughts of, "Look at the Fat Girl thinking about buying the cream that will do nothing to make her look better, she should spend the money on a gym membership." I scowled, set the product down, and headed to the Philosophy for some caramel apple body scrub, because of course a Fat Girl wants to smell like food at all times.
I believe my disgust of this product came from the blatant use of "Fat Girl" and my personal connection to it. I always try to use the phrase Fat Girl as an empowerment, because I am a Fat Girl. When I say this to other people, they always say, "Oh no, you're not Fat." And I say, "Yes I am, it's okay." It's not like it's some shocking coming out where people only notice my obesity upon my admittance of it, where they thought I was a svelte size 2 until I said, "I am a fat girl." To see a retailer use this phrase rubbed me wrong. It felt like if the Westboro Baptist Church created a product named, "Queer Guy Straight," that promised if a gay man rubbed the cream on his junk that he'd immediately want to go out and tag a member of the X-chromosome community. But I digress.
The other retailer who betrayed me was Gap. Note:When did Gap become an old persons store? I realize I haven't been in one in years, but I was shocked at how many older-than middle age people were there trying on jeans. When did this happen? I remember the campaign, "Fall Into the Gap," but I didn't realize they meant it for those who are falling and breaking their hips. I stopped shopping at Gap about 9-10 years ago when I entered size 16 land, as the biggest size they carried was a 14. I moved on to Lane Bryant, Dress Barn (Change your name!) and the "Woman" section of many department stores, because if you aren't packing 50+ lbs in extra meat, you don't qualify as a woman. Sorry ladies. Now that I am back in size 14 land, soon to be size 12 land, I decided to try on some jeans at Gap, as I am no longer fitting in the Lane Bryant garments. Note to Lane Bryant: If you created clothing in non-plus sizes, I would still completely support you as you've been there for me, however, the fat girl in me would be betrayed by your selling out, so the decision is yours. Just know it hurt me to not spend my retail dollars at a store that's been so good to me. Anyway, I was looking for a pair of jeans through the racks at Gap and clearly say a misprint on a label.
The label read 18. No, there must be a mistake, that should not be a "1" in front of that 8. But wait, these pants say 20, and these say 16. WTF??!?! Gap, when did you start carrying jeans in Fat Girl sizes?? When did this happen? And so I sat there, staring at the labels, trying to figure out how this could have happened. Gap's sister company, Old Navy, was very open and advertised that they were introducing a Woman's plus section, in addition to carrying jeans up to a 26. My only conclusion is that Gap noticed a market for fat girls who want to wear denim, but did not want to advertise this fact as to not become known as the Fat People's retailer, so they discreetly introduced them, as this is the same company that stopped carrying the XXL-size for men's clothing, but were very open and in the news about this decision. During this whole thought process, I was trying on a pair of jeans, and realized just because they might have the labels right, they don't know how to cut jeans for a curvy figure and left there without a purchase. And I suspect it will be another 9-10 years before I step foot into Gap, simply because there was a time in my fatter days that I could have purchased their clothing, and they did not want to market to me. No need to give them my money now.
I don't know what the whole point of this rant was, other to say I pretty much hate retailers and marketing in America. There is such a disconnect as to how America really is (read: OBESE!) and what people are selling to (Skinny, or those who want to be). I suspect we could cure this whole recession thing if someone came out with a product called Fat Girl Fat that makes our fleshly, cellulite rolls feel soft and velvety, instead of trying to tighten and reduce them. Or perhaps clothing manufacturers could create garments that fit a majority of the population. Oi!
A great thing is that MAC make-up is one-size fits all, and they embrace everyone from fatties to drag queens and everything in between. And I have a whole bag of goodies to go play in and make myself happy with!