On August 26, 2012, The Los Angeles Times business section celebrated the growth and profit potential of plus sized clothing. With most trendy clothing designed for skinny model types, I join the chorus of cheers.
Today, letters to the editor weigh in on the opportunity for “plus-sized” women to buy fashionable clothing as more designers and manufacturers realize the business opportunity that has been in front of them for decades.
Two of the letters to the editor perfectly capsulized the polarized thinking on this issue. I found myself nodding my head as the first writer recalled a day when normal clothing ranged to size 18. There was no such thing as size “0”. I have often wondered how size 14 became a plus size. It is even more bizarre that a size fourteen is plus sized whether the women is 5’4″ or 5’10”.
CONFUSING BODY SIZE AND HEALTH
As I read the second letter, I found myself shaking my head. The second writer attempts to shame designers. He seems confused on a couple of fronts. He laments the efforts to design fashionable clothing for larger women because it ” only encourages the customers to ignore the fact that obesity is a national problem”.
The “gentleman” seems appalled that a larger woman could feel beautiful or proud of herself, unfortunately confusing body size and health status. Too bad he has plenty of company. Both conventional medical thinking and the media encourages him to do just that. In our society and in the medical world fat bias is real and very ugly–as if shame and ridicule could encourage effective change.
HEALTH AT EVERY SIZE
Body size is not a litmus test for health. Either is one’s BMI or clothing size.
Everyone deserves to feel comfortable in their body and in their clothes. Clothing that is well made and fits well is a pleasure. In my years of practice I have observed women stand taller, move better, and eat more healthfully when they feel their best. For that reason alone, I often encourage my clients to make sure they have clothing that fits–even as they endeavor to eat better and work with their body to use fat for fuel.
There is something absolutely luscious and joyful in the photo of real women. As for the skinny model types, I am not sure why we continue to celebrate the problem. I vote for healthy at every size! How you do weigh in?