It’s complicated…

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So, I imagine that everyone has seen and/or heard of this by now. I thought being an official plus sized woman warranted my two cents…

These are REAL comments made by the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, Michael Jeffries. I checked multiple online articles and sites to be sure it wasn’t a hoax, sadly it seems to be true.

My first reaction was simply sadness that turned into a mild, slow burning fear of the unavoidable truth that my babies will quickly be teenagers. I can’t imagine what will be awaiting us in a few years while we attempt to navigate those waters. It made me think of my own high school experience (which I guess I’ve been doing a lot of lately) remembering that the cool kids in my class were from wealthy families, athletic and good looking. How cliche! How very “John Hughes movie-ish” right? It seems the same scenario repeats itself over and over doesn’t it?

I can remember that Abercrombie stuff was cool (which is funny because it was the mid 90’s so the fashion possibilities are quite questionable) I had wanted one of those hoodies, but knew better than to even ask my parents because of how expensive the clothes were, even though back then I would have fit comfortably into them. I got my school clothes from outlet malls and Shopko and if I was really lucky I’d score some shirts from Old Navy. We knew growing up that there was only so much money to spread across our whole family. We were a lot of things, but one thing we weren’t for sure was entitled. Praise God! I wanted those clothes but I didn’t NEED them. I certainly didn’t NEED them to be an “all American kid”. The insinuation that being all American is limited to wealthy, athletic, good looking kids is more than insulting. Which is why I predict that this brand has shot themselves in the foot, not only keeping plus sized consumers and their money at bay but also now many more people who fit into the clothes who now just don’t want to be seen in them and thought of as a TOOL. Boo. If Michael Jeffries says I don’t belong in his clothes, my response to him is DAMN RIGHT!

That being said, I was surprised to find another layer of thoughts bubble up after thinking about this over the weekend. I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who is extremely fit and healthy and wonderful. She works hard on her fitness and nutrition and I admire her in many ways for her commitment to it. She confided in me that she actually has “larger” family members who sort of attack her for being a “skinny bitch”. To which I had to confess to her that I was guilty of that same kind of behavior. I had another amazing, very petite woman in my life call me out on it! She had shared that it hurt her feelings because she couldn’t help being smaller. It made me step back and realize I had kind of adopted a mentality that skinny women had it easier and were not allowed the same insecurities or pains or feelings as me. It was confirmed as I worked through my “Roots of Beauty” project that I blogged about a couple of months ago. The realization that we ALL go through the same self concept traps, no matter our size or level of beauty. I’m not allowed some supreme level of judgement just because I know what it feels like to be judged! The truth is, if you work your ass off and have the discipline to eat the way your supposed to and I feel bad about myself when I’m around you, that’s not your fault…it’s mine. If there are certain clothes I’d like to wear and I can’t, so what? I’ll either figure out a way to fit into them or I’ll be happy and content and chubby without ’em.

It made me think of this article, and the controversy going on about these comments being made, and the poor chubby girls out there whose feelings have been hurt, and I wonder if maybe we are all just being a little but too crazy? Isn’t this victim mentality ultimately just keeping us all in denial about the reality of our situation? As a fat woman I know the pain of clothes shopping. I’ve felt the sting of public ridicule. I am by no means suggesting we allow for bullying and demeaning behavior for overweight people. I don’t want ANYONE to feel rejected, especially young women. But let’s just get REAL. If its true that more than half of us women in America are buying plus sized clothes maybe we need to reevaluate some things in our lives and hearts and not be so quick to blame all the evil, skinny bitches? Or at least instead of matching insensitive comments with insensitive comments we can try to find a peace within ourselves and with our own bodies that would disarm this argument?

Just some food for thought. No pun intended.

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. naturerestoresme
    May 14, 2013 @ 08:21:19

    Yes, there’s all kinds of prejudice in this world and misunderstanding. But I for one, hope this company’s stock plummets sooooo fast, and soooo hard, that this guy Michael Jeffries is forced to really think about what he said. I would love to see him have to re-organize is company due to bankruptcy! And be forced to hire whoever decides they don’t care about being associated with his poor remarks. And for that matter, what about the people that work there now, who don’t necessarily agree with what he said? I feel sorry for them, they’re in a tough spot. Sorry to be so verbose, this one pushed a button for me.

    Reply

  2. booniblog
    May 14, 2013 @ 09:15:26

    Ugh, this Abercrombie thing is so disgusting. I can’t remember ever setting foot in one of their shops, but I can imagine everything about the brand is heteronormative and promotes eating disorders. At the same time though, this whole scandal is, albeit negative, creating a buzz that everyone’s talking about, and generating publicity. Such a shame.

    http://booniblog.com
    xO

    Reply

  3. meetmybuddycaesar
    May 14, 2013 @ 13:04:57

    As an Accounting major I can understand Mr. Jeffries opinion from a business perspetive, it’s all about creating brand image. Exactly the same as if Donatello were to say “I make my ranges expensive so that poor people can’t afford them.” Thereby creating a more luxurious, superior brand image. That being said, it does not mean that I agree with it condone the behavior.
    But then again if you want to market to elite snobs, then have em. At the end of the day if we want it that bad that we are upset about it then we are just as shallow as they are. Price and brand aren’t everything anyway. I constantly get compliments on my reasonably priced wardrobe because I buy what suits my figure, and makes me feel confident and comfortable,
    As someone who has struggled with weight problems I have seen both sides if the fence. I know what it is like to visit a shop I used to love and realize I have become to large to shop there, but I have also seen obese women walking around in shorts so short that I wonder why they even make that size.

    I also find it interesting that you bring up the ‘skinny bitch’ topic. At the moment I’m around 55kg and receive more then enough attention from men. My larger friends talk about it in a way that makes me feel uncomfortable and constantly compare themselves to me. I feel that if I mention this they will fell as if I am rubbing ‘how lucky I am’ in their faces, as if it’s something I should feel guilty about.

    Aaaanyway, really enjoyed your post. As long as you feel good in what you wear who gives a shit about anyone else, least of all Michael Jeffries.

    Reply

  4. Danielle
    May 15, 2013 @ 06:20:18

    Another brilliant entry Mands!! Xoxoxoxoxo

    Reply

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