marketing

All posts in the marketing category

Sell Us the Clothes – Don’t Judge Us On Them

Published April 22, 2014 by sleepydumpling

Ugh, when are these plus-size retailers going to get it?  Check out these screen shots I took from a post Autograph Fashion made today:

photo 1

photo 2

Now I *LOVE* Autograph.  I really do.  They’re one of the few brands that actually cater to my size (26AU) and I love that they’re presenting a lot of great colours, prints and styles that aren’t your usual black and boring boxy fare.  They’ve come so far in the past few years, from when they used to be full of peasant tops and capri pants and nothing else, to a range that is bold, colourful and full of variety.  In fact I’d pretty much wear that outfit above as is (maybe not the black tank, too many layers for Brisbane!)  I’m currently wearing an outfit entirely made up of Autograph pieces, including a pair of their leggings, which I am wearing as pants, and rocking the sh!t out of!

But when I saw this post today, I saw RED.

My objections?  Two things.  Firstly, the statement that “leggings are not pants”.  I’ve spoken about this before.  Leggings are pants if that’s what you wear them as, and none of us need anyone else, particularly not a retailer who is supposed to be marketing to us, lecturing us on how to wear clothes.  We’re fat, we’re not babies.  We’re able to determine what we want to wear and how we wish to wear it.

Secondly, a constant bugbear of mine in plus-size fashion – all the rhetoric about how to “hide” or “flatter” our “problem areas”.  I’ve actually been in store, browsing the products at Autograph, when a staff member remarked on a top I had picked up “Oh that’s lovely, it will hide all your bad bits.”  I responded very firmly “Excuse me?  I do not have any “bad bits”, thank you very much!”  It’s so entrenched in plus-size women’s wear, that it’s seen as acceptable for a sales person to actually say something like that to their customer and not think for a second that it would be offensive.

The assumption that every customer of a plus-size retailer must by default wanting to hide, disguise or minimise any parts of their bodies simply because they are fat women, has to stop.  The assumption that we even HAVE any “bad bits” or “problem areas” has to stop.  We don’t pay these retailers for body shaming and lectures about how we should dress to “flatter” our bodies.  We pay these companies for clothes, not body shaming.

For too long, this kind of marketing has been used to try to get us to purchase their products, and they wonder why it doesn’t work.  Women who feel bad about themselves are not going to spend money on themselves.  All it does is create more arbitrary policing of how fat women dress.

Now I’m not saying that they can’t give style advice.  Definitely tell us what pieces look great together, how to layer for changing weather and what colours and prints are hot this season.  This is helpful information, and all part of good marketing.  I love to hear new ways of wearing things, and it helps me think of outfit ideas that I may not have thought of before.  The thing is, it’s not difficult to keep body shaming and judgement out of marketing copy.  Look, I’ll have a go:

“The Printed Legging

A  hot trend this season is the Printed Legging, no matter what size or shape there’s a style for you.  The trick to wearing leggings is to ensure you have the right fit, so that they hug your body.  The right fit will ensure your leggings are comfortable,  not see through or do not roll or bunch at the knees or ankles.

Printed leggings look fantastic with block colours, and we have a range of fabulous tunic tops that work perfectly.  Pair this seasons animal prints in black and white with bold purple, and add some silver jewellery for extra punch.  This asymmetrical tunic in royal purple looks great and is floaty and feminine.  If you want to add layers for cooler weather, a black tank can be worn underneath, or add a long line cardi or jacket for those chillier days.

Give them  a try today!”

But time and time again we see the same old loaded copy, full of body shaming and judgement.  Is it any wonder the comments threads are full of “But big women shouldn’t….!”  In fact, right after my comment a woman declared apropos of nothing that women with big thighs “shouldn’t wear stripes” – as though what other people wear on their bodies is anyone’s business but their own.  This is the kind of attitude that the negative marketing creates.

If you make women feel good about themselves, empowered and positive, they are very likely to spend money on nice clothes for themselves.  I know that’s when I spend the most money – when I’m feeling fantastic.  I want more nice stuff when I feel good.  When I feel crap, there’s no way I’m going to spend money on clothes.  It is not that fat women don’t want to buy clothes, it’s that we are so often made feel bad in the marketing, that it puts us off buying them.  So many plus-size clothing companies shoot themselves in the foot by using such negative marketing.

What I’d like to see from a plus-size clothing company is positive marketing that shows off their product with pride, and says “We love our product and you’d look great in it!”

Your job is to provide us with great clothes, it’s not to tell us that we should be hiding, minimising or disguising our bodies as though there is something wrong with them.

An Open Letter to Lite ‘n Easy

Published January 1, 2014 by sleepydumpling

Dear Lite ‘n Easy,

Firstly, I want to let you know that I am a happy customer.  I have been using Lite ‘n Easy now for the past few months and have not had a single negative experience.   Well, there could be less peas in everything but that’s personal taste!

However, I need to talk to you about the email that you sent this morning.

Look, I know it’s January 1st, and that marketing opportunity is too good to resist.  New year, people are wanting to make changes and face things fresh.  I understand the email going out today.  But what I take issue with are the following assumptions in the email:

  1. That your customers must want to lose weight.
  2. That all of your customers use Lite ‘n Easy as a weight loss aid.
  3. The lack of sensitivity towards any customers who may be using your meal plans to help deal with an eating disorder.
  4. That your customers *have* lost weight while using your service.
  5. That somehow losing weight is going to be one of the things, or enable me to do things “that I love”.

Before I continue on, as a little background, I want to explain why I decided to become a Lite ‘n Easy customer again a few months ago.  Many years ago, when I was still chasing the myth of weight loss, I tried Lite ‘n Easy.  I loved it.  The food was fantastic quality, and there was more of it than I could eat.  I saved money.  I saved time.  But despite loving it, I was miserable.  Why?  Because I didn’t lose any weight.  Actually I lost a little bit at first, but then, like every other time I had tried to lose weight, it crept back on.  I blamed myself.  I blamed you.  I did everything but blame the myth of weight loss.  So I stopped using Lite ‘n Easy, and went back to the severe restriction and purging eating disorder I had been nurturing since I was 13.

Now fast forward to a few months ago.  I have realised that my worth does not lie in my weight (or lack of it).  I have stopped putting my life on hold until I am thin.  I have filled my life with the things that are important, and I’ve been in recovery from my eating disorder for almost 6 years.  I am a fat woman, but I now understand that the size and shape of my body bears no relevance on the quality of my life.

However, one of the problems with living life to the fullest for me is that I’m not very good at eating competently.  I can thank a society that tells women we must be thin to be worthy and 25+ years of a very fraught relationship with food for that.  I’m working hard and playing hard, it’s awesome.  But  I’m not eating enough.  I’m skipping breakfast and finding myself ravenous by lunch, and then at night too tired to eat anything for dinner more than a bit of toast.  I’m struggling with those old eating disorder demons again.  I’m getting more and more run down and my energy levels are disappearing.  Then I see a woman at work eating a Lite ‘n Easy lunch, and I remember how much I liked it, how convenient it was and how it was good for me to have all my daily meals all laid out for me and how much money I saved in the long term.

So I make the decision to start using Lite ‘n Easy again, and I’ve not regretted it at all.  The food is excellent.  There is far more of it than I can eat, so much that over the Christmas week while I am busy socialising, I can just skip a week of Lite ‘n Easy and there are still plenty of meals for me left to cover those times I’m not out socialising.

I get that half of your brief is “Lite”.  I’m not going to tell you to let go of that.  It clearly works for you, though I personally believe that you lose a lot of customers who either don’t lose weight while using your products and services, or who aren’t interested in losing weight.  However it has been your business name for a long time, and has a lot of goodwill attached to it.  I can understand you not wanting to let go of that.  I don’t have a problem with that side of your business if you keep it out of my inbox.

Now, you can see I am very happy with your product and service.  But back to my points above as to why your email was unwelcome and frankly offensive.

  1. I understand that some people still believe in the myth of weight loss.  I understand that is part of your marketing but you keep it pretty low key on your website, so I don’t have to see it when I place my orders.  However, when it arrives in my inbox unsolicited, I am not happy.  I don’t want to see weight loss propaganda.  I can opt out of seeing it until you start pushing it in my inbox.
  2. As I mentioned before, I don’t use Lite ‘n Easy as a weight loss aid.  I use it as a convenience, a money saver, and because I feel healthier and have more energy when I eat a balanced diet.  I am still the same weight as I was when I started a couple of months ago.  I will no doubt be the same weight in a year from now.  That’s OK, I am happy with who I am.  But I don’t like the presumption that I must want to lose weight if I use your product/services.
  3. You can’t know how many of your customers are dealing with eating disorders or are in recovery.  Your product and service is exceptionally good for helping those recovering from eating disorders eat competently.  How about thinking about how you might be able to market your product to help people like myself, rather than sending us material that is deeply triggering.
  4. Never lost an ounce.  Still think your product and service is fantastic.  Not likely to lose an ounce in future.  Still happy to stay your customer.  When I believed in the myth of weight loss, I stopped purchasing your product because I believed it, and I had failed.
  5. I can already do everything that I love.  And those things I can’t do, weight loss isn’t going to help me do them.  In fact, chasing weight loss prevents me from trying.  I’ve done so much more with my life in the past 5 years than I did in all the years I was chasing weight loss.  Consider I started dieting when I was 11.  How many things did I not do because I believed I couldn’t do the things I love unless I was thin?

Where do we go to from here?  Well, I’d like to see you cease sending weight loss propaganda to your customers unsolicited.  That doesn’t mean I think you shouldn’t send marketing – I do know how business works.  But I think you could bring yourself FAR more customers, and keep them, if you let go of the weight loss brief and focus on the things that you do really well at Lite ‘n Easy.  How about these for points to focus on:

  • Busy life?  Let us do the work and bring you delicious, nutritious meals to your door.
  • Do the things you love and let us take care of the meal planning, shopping and food preparation.
  • Eat delicious!  Eat healthy!  Eat variety!  Eat conveniently!
  • Show people your food.  It tastes delicious and looks great.  I mean look at this screen grab from your email – yum!

Screen Shot 2014-01-01 at 12.06.14 PM

  • This sentence from your email is excellent – “You can enjoy all the taste, convenience and health benefits again in 2014.”
  • Show some diverse people (other than white, thin people) enjoying life.  Being active, happy and having fun.  This is aspirational.  This makes me want a product.  Not “look at some thin people, don’t you want to be thin like them?”  Even if I did believe in weight loss, not being represented in marketing is not something that makes me feel good about a product.
  • “Simply Eat Well” – this is a brilliant slogan.  Keep it.  Focus on it.  Use it everywhere.  That’s why I use your product/service – I want to simply eat well.

Screen Shot 2014-01-01 at 12.09.39 PM
To all of you at Lite ‘n Easy – especially the marketing team – you have a great product and your service is excellent.  Don’t ruin it by choosing poor marketing methods.

Yours sincerely

Kath Read

Public Fat Shaming is not Good Marketing

Published March 31, 2013 by sleepydumpling

Well hello!  I haven’t forgotten or abandoned you all, I promise.  Life has been intensely busy and I made a promise to myself at the beginning of this year that I would pace myself better and not work myself into the ground with both my activism and my day job.  So you will be getting less posts from me but I’m sure they’ll be better quality in the long term.

I actually had another post written and ready to publish, but something else has cropped up that I would like to talk about.  On Thursday night, as part of the local Bluewater festival here on the bay, there was an event at Shorncliffe called Bayfire.  I decided to take myself along to it to have a look at the markets, get some dinner and watch the fireworks.  I wandered up there and had a look around, bought some very cute hair accessories from a small business called Princess Perfect Clips, tried Transylvanian cheese pie for dinner (verdict – rather tasty) and then watched the fireworks.

When the fireworks were finished, I decided to go and have a look at the rest of the markets.  As I was walking along the waterfront where the stalls all were, minding my own business, someone shoved something in my hands.  I looked down and it was a flyer for some ridiculous weight loss product, which was basically wrapping bits of your body in cling film.  I turned towards the woman who had stuffed it in my hand without asking me if I wanted it, and there they were, a bunch of seriously miserable looking women, all with their arms or middles wrapped in cling film.

I couldn’t believe anyone would be so rude to shove weight loss propaganda into the hands of someone who was not in any way inviting them to do so.  So I tore up the flyer very deliberately right in front of them, making sure they were all watching me, and tossed it into a bin, and walked away.  I was so pissed off.

A bit later I decided to get some dessert, and I decided to share this picture of my dessert on my social media sites (Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook) with the following caption:

Screen Shot 2013-03-31 at 12.35.15 PM

Om nom nom, right?

Well, I didn’t imagine the shitstorm it would create on Tumblr.  Mostly because some people seemed to take personal offense that I wasn’t “allowing anyone to be encouraged on their weight loss goals”.

Now how my protesting some company forcing their material on to fat women (they were not shoving the flyers in the hands of men or thin people) to shame them equals “not allowing anyone to be encouraged on their weight loss goals”, I’m fucked if I know.  After all, I don’t give two fucks what other people do to their own bodies.  This has got nothing at all to do with other people’s bodily choices.  What this has to do with is the public shaming of fat women to make money.  What this has to do with is some woman wrapped in cling foil selling a phony diet product deciding that the fat woman walking past her has a body that is “unacceptable” and she can make a buck off that fat woman by flogging her snake oil product.  This is about someone selling a product assuming that as a fat woman that I must be unhappy with my body and want to spend my money on cling film to reduce it.

The other argument that people kept making is that it is “legitimate advertising” to single out fat women (again, they did not hand the flyers to men or thin people) in public and give them weight loss propaganda.

I am not sure what planet some people are living on.

To equate handing unsolicited weight loss flyers to fat people (and only fat people) to an ad on TV, in a magazine, on the radio or on the side of the street etc is fucked up.

Advertising in general is shitty, and needs to be spoken up against, but it’s not picking out an individual in a public place and physically handing them a flyer that says “Hey fat person, here’s a product you should buy to stop being a fat person because fat is gross.”  It’s not singling out someone who is minding their own business in public, to pass commentary on their body by recommending a product to reduce their body.

Imagine if I wasn’t the confident, self aware woman I am now.  To be singled out like this and handed such propaganda would have DEVASTATED me years ago.  I would have felt so upset that someone had pointed out my fatness in public and made commentary via their actions that my body was unacceptable.  How many other fat women had their night ruined on Thursday by being handed this shitty flyer while enjoying an evening out with their friends and/or family?  I don’t know about you, but most fat women I know don’t go out to a fair to find a weight loss solution, they go out to have fun and enjoy the shopping, dining and fireworks.

For some reason, it is believed by many people that weight loss peddlers actually care about us.  That they care about our happiness, our health and/or our bodies.  They don’t.  They care about obtaining our money.  They tell us our bodies are not acceptable, sell us a product that does not work, then blame us for failing, and sell us the product again, or a new product that does not work.   In Australia alone they make almost $800 million per year.  In the US, it’s $66 billion per year.  They are taking your money and laughing at you as they watch you blame yourself for their product or service failure.

Don’t stand for that shit.  Don’t let anyone dismiss what a horrible act it is to single out a fat person and try to shame them into buying a product.  Don’t let the weight loss industry brainwash you into believing that they care about you, or that they are doing anyone a public service by pushing their product on to people who never asked for it in the first place.

Melbourne Cup Fatshion!

Published November 8, 2012 by sleepydumpling

Tuesday was Melbourne Cup day here in Australia.  For the uninitiated, the Melbourne Cup is the “horse race that stops the nation”.  It’s the biggest sporting event of the year here in Australia, and folks in Victoria (which Melbourne is the capital of) get a public holiday for it.  We folks in Queensland don’t, sob! Instead, workplaces across the country often have a kind of celebratory day, including dressing up, a luncheon and often run a sweep, which is a kind of lucky draw betting system where you pay a dollar or two to enter, draw a horse and if it wins, you get a prize.  Many Australians place a bet on the race, the only bet they’ll place all year – known colloquially as a “flutter”.

In my office, we do run a sweep and then we have a kind of pot luck lunch together and then all watch the race.  It’s a good opportunity to have some social time with my colleagues as we really only get to do that on Melbourne Cup day and at Christmas.  Anyway I couldn’t care less about horse racing or betting on said horse racing, but I do love the opportunity to frock up and always have a few dollars in the sweeps, mostly so I can playfully stir with my big boss, who is uncannily lucky with sweeps.  It was a delight this year to have the first and second place in the sweeps when she got not a penny – the first time I’ve ever won anything on it and one of the two occasions in all the years I’ve worked with her that she hasn’t had a win!  You should have heard the banter that afternoon!

I decided to debut my new Domino Dollhouse bone skater dress, that my friend Diane bought me for my birthday.  She landed me the last one in my size, woot!

As you can see, my main accessory for the day was a big arse lace bow headband.  After all, if a gal can’t wear a big arse lace bow on Melbourne Cup day, when can she wear one?

Deal with it.

I can’t tell you how much I love this dress.  It fits beautifully, the fabric is soft and breathes, the print is gorgeous, it is well made and the price was fantastic too.  I hope Domino Dollhouse bring out lots of similar dresses in different prints and colours, I’ll be buying them, that’s for sure.  I think next time I wear this one I’ll wear my petticoat under it too.  I love that Domino Dollhouse do many of their collections up to a size 4X and they’re doing something radical – fat positive marketing and fat-positive products.  The clothes Tracy designs and sells say “I’m here!  I will not hide myself away!”  That is massively radical in plus-size fashion and so empowering.  So Domino Dollhouse are one of the companies I am happy to give my money to!

So Aussies – tell me, did you frock up for Melbourne Cup day?  What did you wear?  And for the overseas folk, do you have a national day (or even a state/province/regional day) that everyone brings out their fab fashions for?

How NOT to Market to Fat Customers

Published October 27, 2012 by sleepydumpling

Can you believe it, I’m actually a little bit speechless.  I know, ME, speechless!  That almost never happens right!

But I’ve got a doozy for you folks.  You may have seen a campaign going around the fatosphere and fatshion world calling for support and funding for a Kickstarter loan for a new company called Cabiria Style.  A new “plus-size” startup fashion company, really pushing hard for people to donate to their Kickstarter and promote their new company.  Now I’ve had a busy week, so I saw the tweets and stuff and thought “Cool, I’ll have a look at that later, always good to see new plus-size brands starting up.”   I finally got a chance to have a look today and was disappointed to see that the person behind this company only intends to cater up to size 24US – I take a 28-30-32US depending on the brand.  Happens all the time, gives me the shits, but yeah, I’m used to it.  I saw that someone had asked if they intended to extend their sizes in the future so I retweeted the question and said that it was important:

https://twitter.com/Fatheffalump/status/261984362222985217

I made it clear that it isn’t fair to ask me to support or promote a company that excludes me, especially when they promote themselves as an “inclusive” line.  I expected to get the usual line about how “we hope to expand our sizes in the future”.  At least it’s an acknowledgement that they don’t go up to the higher sizes, even if it is a bit of a fob off, right?  I mean, indie designer, baby steps, fair enough.

What I didn’t expect was a whole lot of hostile attitude about how it’s too difficult/expensive to do higher sizes and that our questions as to whether we were included in the sizing were “criticism” of the company/range.  Apparently, simply ASKING if the sizes will be expanded is a “personal attack”.

Oh boy, there is some really fucking entitled bullshit that has come from this woman.  I’ll let the tweets do the talking (she has blocked me because you know, calling her out on shitty marketing and excluding people in an “inclusive” range is such a horrible thing to do – so I have to copy and paste):

@fatheffalump there is an entire section on why to donate if you’re not plus size. Many of the donors are not plus size.

Umm… I’m not plus-size because I’m over a size 24US?  What the fuck am I then?  I’m “too big” to be considered “plus-size” but you still expect me to donate and promote your range?

@fatheffalump I’m making higher quality options than most. Pretty different in another parameter.

This is her response to how she is not doing anything new and different by only doing to size 24US.  What use to me is “higher quality” if you won’t include me in the sizing?  What kind of logic is this?

@fatheffalump if you look at the photos you may notice I shop in the plus section myself, and not everything fits.

This is supposed to justify that NOTHING fucking fits in her range for me or any other person over a size 24US.  So I’m supposed to consider this justification for excluding anyone over a size 24US to the range.

@Fatheffalump The options are to buy the clothes or not. Same as everyone else. Buy this apple.Don’t buy that pear. Options.

What fucking options?  Buy WHAT clothes?  You’re not providing them in my size!  Where the fuck is the logic here?  “Buy this apple, but if you’re a pear, fuck off we don’t cater to you – there, you have options now”.

Look, I know it’s not easy to start up as a company.  I’ve done it myself.  There’s a reason I’m no longer self employed.  But there’s one thing you need to remember.  If you want people to give you their money for your goods or services, you’d better fucking include them.  How difficult is that to comprehend?  If you don’t cater to them (and hey, not every business does, such as life),  DON’T EXPECT THEM TO GIVE YOU MONEY OR PROMOTE YOU!

And if you are a company selling size 12-24, don’t call yourself inclusive, don’t promote to the fatshion/fatosphere and don’t call yourself “plus-size”.  You are an inbetweenie company.  Go market to them.

So I’m doing the opposite of promoting this company.  I am urging you, my somewhat considerable following of thousands of awesome fat people here on Fat Heffalump and on my social media platforms, DO NOT spend your money with Cabiria.  In fact, if you have pledged a donation through Kickstarter – go cancel it.  Never shop with them, ever.  Withdraw your funds whatever size you are and show this person that if they want to be a success, perhaps they should invest in some marketing training before anything else.

Instead, I would like you to go buy some brilliant clothes from the following small companies:

  1. Domino Dollhouse – when DD first started I asked Tracy about catering to larger sizes, she told me she was working on expanding that in the future.  It took a little while, but she did, and she is now doing AWESOME things.  Hat tip to Tracy and Domino Dollhouse.  I hope you’re raking in the $$ Tracy!
  2. LucieLu – they go to 5X and are a really gorgeous quality.
  3. No Xceptions – Up to size 32AU.  Small range, but HOT prices and excellent customer service.  Extra points for being an Aussie company.
  4. Sweetooth Couture – Up to 6X.  Gorgeous.
  5. eShakti – yeah not exactly small and they don’t ship to Australia yet, but hey, they do gorgeous clothes in good quality and have no size limit (costs about $7.50 extra to get custom sizing – less than 8 bucks to get custom sizing – how awesome is that?!)
  6. Cult of California – up to 5x.

Give these companies your money.  Buy their products, promote the crap out of them and let them know they’re doing something right.  If you know any other small companies that do past size 24AU, please leave them in the comments.  Let’s show these companies that they are asking for our money and custom, they do not have the right to demand it.

And if you’re looking to start a plus-size clothing business, here’s a few hot tips for you:

  1. Size 12-24US is not special any more.  Don’t label yourself as unique or inclusive if this is all you do.
  2. Market up to your customers, not down to them.  If you want their custom and their money, treat them as valuable and they will reciprocate.
  3. Stick your neck out.  Don’t start at a 12 or a 1X.  If you can only afford a size range of 3 sizes, how about starting at size 3X and going to 6X and then expanding down later.  After all, it’s a bloody captive market, there’s FAR less competition out there for you if you do that than the 12/1x – 24/3x range.
  4. If you get questions or feedback, answer the questions, be honest and don’t take it personally.  If you turn it into a “You’re picking on me!” when people ask if you’re intending to expand your size range or say that they’re not willing to support a company that doesn’t cater to you, then you’ll lose ALL of your customers, not just the ones you are ignoring.  A simple “We are currently only offering to size 24″ would have been annoying, but fair enough.  “We are currently only offering to size 24, but hope to expand in the future.” would have been lovely.
  5. You are not doing anything new or offering options to someone you do not cater to.  Don’t piss on our legs and tell us it’s raining.

The Burden of Hate

Published September 24, 2012 by sleepydumpling

So yeah, I dyed my hair turquoise on the weekend.  Check it out:

I’m really happy with it, it’s bold and colourful and fun.  But I didn’t expect the reaction I would get from Joe and Jane Public.  Holy crap!

I did expect it to draw some attention, of course I did, why else would I dye it such a bold colour?  I like being different, I like standing out, and I like being unapologetic for who I am.  But I had no idea that it would attract the sheer hostility that it has done in the past 48 hours, peaking this afternoon at some random guy yelling “What the fuck?!  Why would you want to draw attention to that fucking head??!” as I walked to the train station after work.

But it has been happening in a myriad of ways over the past two days.  Three times yesterday I caught people photographing me without my consent, and two of them showed the people with them the photos and laughed.  People have cast disgusted, even hostile looks at me, have stared, have laughed, have nudged each other and pointed, have made negative comments about my appearance and generally just made it apparent that I should not have turquoise hair.

It’s exhausting.  I feel like I have to be on guard to protect myself all the time, because when I let my guard down, like I did walking home tonight, that’s when I get slammed with something like the attack above.

Yet if I looked like this, I’d be told my turquoise hair is beautiful.

See, I think it boils down to this.  Fat women are not supposed to make themselves visible.  We’re supposed to be ashamed of who we are, we’re supposed to hide ourselves away and make sure nobody can see us.  Why?  Because the media and marketing, the government and even medical practitioners tell the world that fat should be prevented, cured, eradicated.  Fat should not exist, and if it does, the bearer of that fat should be deeply ashamed of themselves.  They should not draw attention to themselves, they should not walk with their shoulders back and their head held high, they should not be confident.  They should be apologetic for their existence.

This is what happens when a culture believes fat = bad.  This is what happens when it is culturally acceptable for fat people to be vilified publicly by the media, marketing, the government and the medical field.  This is what happens when a world stops treating fat people as humans and treats them as a disease.  “Obesity” is no longer a descriptive word for human fatness, all humanity is stripped from it, and fatness is seen as a disease, a thing that must be eradicated.  Our personhood matters nothing when our bodies are fat.

The general public get this message hundreds of times per day, that fat must be eradicated, that fat is a scourge on society, and that fat is less than human.  Daily there are so many messages blasted at everyone, on television, in newspapers and magazines, in journal articles, in books, in advertising, in movies, from comedians and writers.  Over and over that message is repeated – fat is less than human.

So is it any wonder, that when a woman like me, very fat and very visible comes along in Joe/Jane Public’s world, walking down the street, minding my own business on my way home from work, that some of them think it’s perfectly acceptable to pour hatred on me.

But I will not carry that hate.  I will not hate myself because society says that my body makes me less than human.  I will not hate myself because you are taught to hate me.  I will not hate myself because you hate yourself.  I will not feel ashamed of my body because you deem it shameful.

I will continue to dress and adorn MY body in a way that pleases ME, because it belongs to ME.  The eyes I look into in the mirror are mine, not yours.  The life I am living is mine, not yours.

Keep your hate to yourself.  It is your burden to carry, not mine.

It’s All About Colour… Unless You’re Fat.

Published August 15, 2012 by sleepydumpling

I’m feeling really disheartened at the moment.  I went into my local Target yesterday, as a friend had told me that they had all this stock with amazing colours at the moment, and being the colour fan, I’m in!

But I came away so depressed, so disheartened.  But the difference this time is, I decided to take some action about it, and I took a bunch of photos on my phone (apologies in advance for the low quality of images, I was in a hurry on my lunch break, and was just grabbing shots on my phone, but I think they do illustrate my point) to share here.

I walked in to the store, and you betcha, there is colour splashed everywhere in the women’s wear.  It’s awesome.  They also have these little signs up on quite a few of the racks:

Weee! Colour!!

There are neon brights, loads of prints, lace, crochet, jewel tones, sportswear, you name it… all in the most glorious of colours.  So I took myself off to the plus-size section, which is at the back corner of the store, facing the shoes, you know, like they’re ashamed of it (they should be) looking for some fab coloured clothes for fatties.

Sorry, no fatties, you get this…

Zzzzzzzzz

Or you can have this:

Perfect… for my Grandma.

Ooh, wait is that a little blue I see?

Oh great, navy… tradesman checks.

Hang on, there’s a bit of colour behind here…

That’s a bit better, at least it’s not black, navy or grey.

Ok, that’s a bit of colour, I’ll give them that one, it also comes in a deep blue as well.  Not too bad.  Bit casual though, let’s see if there’s anything by way of colour for non-casual occasions (work, going out etc)…

Oh just, no.

Ugly print, again with the dark/muted colours, looks like something my Grandma would love.  I’m a successful woman in the prime of my life who loves fashion, has a career and a full social life.  I do not want to dress like my Grandma.

What about a frock?  Frocks are much more likely to work for a wider age group, and are more likely to have a bit of fashion about them, let’s try the frocks…

Oh look. Black. Grey. Beige. I think I need some No-Doze.

Can you see why I am depressed?  Everything is so bland, so boring, so OLD.

So I went back to the straight sizes.  I want to know, where are these clothes for me?  I mean look at this:

I would wear the hell out of these print pants!

Where are the fabulous prints and bold colours for plus sizes?  Wear are the funky separates to mix and match for women like me?

I want this shirt.  Exactly like this, in a size 26 to fit me.  I don’t want a version with a hanky hem and weird sleeves added to “flatter” my arms, I don’t want it in muted colours, I don’t want it in some kind of nanna print.  I want it just like this, but bigger.

Piping Hot Activewear

See all this casual/activewear?  I want a whole bunch of that in my size too.  In these colours and prints.  Target hardly even have activewear for plus-sizes, it’s like four or five pieces, all as dull as dishwater.

T-shirts anyone?

Look at all these t-shirts.  In a rainbow of colours, with a bunch of variations in sleeve and neckline.  Where are these for plus-sizes?  Why do we only get muted colours, and the only variations we see in design are those that I like to call “fat lady uniform” – shark bite or hanky hems, weird sleeves, ugly prints like that purple shirt above or with “bling” on the bust.  All things that are supposed to “flatter” but just mark us as “different”.

Prefer prints?

Want prints?  Look at that – all on trend styles, colours and prints.  Acres of them.  But not for the fatties, no, you can’t have cute, fashionable pieces like this!

What about the young women?  Let’s have a look what is on offer for them in straight sizes:

Where are these clothes for the young plus-size customer?  In fact, not just the young ones – I’d wear a few of these things myself if they came in my size.  That stripey shirt with the pink sleeves on the right is AWESOME, as is the rainbow leopard print top there.  Nope, fatties can’t have anything funky and fun like this.

What about something a little more dressy?  A little more suitable for work or a night out?

Yet another garment I would love, exactly as it is, no changes to style or shape, except sized to fit me.  But no, instead I get those bland things pictured above.

Or this one:

Seriously cute!

I would absolutely kill for this dress, exactly like this, in my size.  I would rock the hell out of it, people would say “Cute dress, where did you get it?” and I’d reply proudly “I bought it at Target, isn’t it awesome?”

It is so disheartening, so depressing to see that straight sizes have all these fabulous choices, and yet we plus-sized women get this tiny section of frumpy, unfashionable, boring clothes.

Look, don’t get me wrong, some women want dark colours and conservative styles.  Hell my Grandma needs clothes as much as I do, I don’t want Target to get rid of the selection they have.  But I want them to treat me the same as they do their straight size customers.  They’re doing FANTASTIC fashion for straight sizes at the moment.  All these great things I’ve posted here are just a tiny drop in the ocean of choice they offer in size 8-18.  There’s something for every taste and style in their straight sizes – they have acres of it in my local store.  And it’s well priced, well made and readily available to most Australians.

But I’m tired of being treated like I’m not worth the same amount of choice and quality as the rest of their customers.  I’ve talked before about the power of fashion, about how it’s more than just putting on a pretty outfit, about fashion.  It’s about being part of society, and about being able to participate with your peers.  And yes, as a fat woman, not-fat women ARE my peers.  We are just as valuable and worthy as any not-fat woman.  Our money is just as worthy as any not-fat woman.  Our requirements for clothing and style are just as worthy as any not-fat woman.  We have as much right to participate in society as any not-fat woman.

So why am I not offered the same options, the same range, the same products as not-fat women?  In fact, when Target’s own company website says in their “about us” section, and I quote:

Target Australia is a mid-market department store renowned for delivering to its customers great quality and great value apparel and homewares. As one of Australia’s most successful retailers our aim is to make stylish living affordable and available to all Australians.

Now the last time I looked, I’m an Australian… so why is stylish living not available to me and other women like me?  If you look at the straight sized options in the photos above, and then those in plus-sizes, do you think we’re being offered the same “stylish living” as their straight sized customers?  If you don’t believe me just from these photos, go to their online store and look at what is offered to straight sized women, compared to the Moda range.

I’m tired of excuses.  I’m tired of being told that fashionable clothes “don’t sell” in plus-sizes.  Of course they don’t, when they’re shoved on the back side of the shop floor like you’re ashamed of them, never marketed properly and of course, are never there.  Perhaps instead of blaming the market, perhaps it’s time to look at how you’re approaching it.  Perhaps it’s time to make a splash and say “Check out our hot new clothes for plus-sizes!  Shop your heart out, you deserve nice things too!” and watch just how things change with what sells and what doesn’t.  How about looking at how you market to plus-sized women, and instead of selling them “flattering”, sell them fun, sell them fashion, sell them empowerment.

You worry about providing fab clothes for plus-sizes, and let us worry about making sure fat women feel confident and strong enough to wear them.  I’ll promote the hell out of you if you do, and encourage every fat woman I know to get themselves into your gear.  You have my word on that.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,006 other followers