The Plus Sized Thang
There's a whole lot of fuss in the fashion world right now about this lady, Myla Dalbesio. She is Calvin Klein's new lingerie model. All the ruckus over her stems from the fact that this 27-year-old stunner is a size 10 and she's not on Calvin's plus sized campaign but in their regular sized marketing.
Oh my god! The horror! A size 10 in her underwear on regular ads for regular girls. How could they? Call me nuts, but I think she looks crazy hot in her Underoos.
I have a whole lot of opinions when it comes to plus size versus regular size because I have a whole lot of experience. Over the course of two years, I have lost half of my body weight. I went from a size 28/30 to a 12/14 so this kind of stuff pisses me off in a way that unless you have been there, you cannot possibly comprehend.
This is a self-portrait with my friend Payton from a few years ago. (That's me there on the right)
This is a self-portrait of me from September.
You don't get to live in a body like that without developing some hard-core body image issues. Even with all of the work I've done to get to this size I still have a hard time. Seeing stories like this in the news doesn't help. I mean really, if someone who looks like Myla can be judged and told she's "plus sized" then there is no hope for me. What was the point of going through everything I did to get here? If she's too fat, then I'm seriously fucked.
I hate that there is even plus-sized versus regular-sized in the first place. It's one of the last acceptable forms of segregation and judgment. Yes, I said segregation. It's only been in the last couple of years that women over a size 14 were even allowed to shop with everyone else. Before that, we had to shop in our own stores.
Oh, and the choices! If you were lucky you might live in a town with one or two places to buy clothing. Mostly though you were stuck with crap you found online or you saved up for a trip to a city where you might just get lucky and find three or four places to shop.
Trick here is that even our own industry screwed us. The clothes were (and still are) exorbitantly priced when compared to regular clothing and the quality was (and still is) shit. "Fashion", for the most part is a hilarious term for plus sized clothing. Especially when you get into a size 20 or larger. It's primarily all Mumu's and knit separates. And it's all the exact same cut. I guess every woman over a size 16 must have a huge ass, be 5'5 and have enormous breasts, because that's the cut. Straight across the board.
That in itself is infuriating, because I'm tall. I've got ridiculously long, skinny, bird legs and I have no ass at all. It's flat as a pancake. Even when I was a size 28 I had no ass. I didn't wear pants for a decade because every single pair of pants in my size made me look like I was waiting on the big flood and in the meantime, had taken a shit the size of Detroit in my jeans. Not good.
All bodies are different. They are like fingerprints. We are not all built alike and it sucks that over half the population of women are stuck shopping at three or four boutique shops that only carry that same short, wide cut while there is an endless supply of stores that carry every imaginable cut and style as long as you are a 14 or smaller.
I'm lucky now because at my size, there aren't any options that are not available to me. I can shop in the regular sized stores or the plus sized ones. And it's getting better. More stores are carrying "plus-sized" sections. Target, H&M and Forever 21 are some of my favorites. They actually have some really "fashionable" things for bigger gals. And all-hail the Forever 21 skinny jean in a size 14! First pants ever that not only fit my flat ass, but actually make me look like I have a little bedonk going on back there.
But even as great as that is, it still feels really segregated. The plus sized sections are always located way in the back, in a dark corner. Completely hidden from the windows, entrance or anywhere really that shoppers might have to encounter the dreaded fat girl. And the pickins are painfully slim. There are only a few racks; so few that you can literally turn around in H&M's section and that's it. You've seen it all. This fall you have your choice of three sweaters, two pairs of leggings, one pair of jeans and a single coat. Ah yes, thank you for this vast and stunning display of colors, textures and fabrics in which to cloak my hideous body!
I digress; we are getting better. As a society we are getting better. Victoria's Secret just took a rash of backlash for it's latest campaign. There were eight rail thin models lined up on their tippy toes (Why they are on their tippy toes, I am not sure) with the words "The Perfect Body" splashed across the front of it.
Whoa! Hang on a second. That's it. That's the perfect body. No other bodies are perfect, just the women who look like this. People got pissed about it and I get it. There were 26,000 signatures on a Change.org petition for the company to pull the ad. They complied... a little. It's the same ad, but they changed the wording to "A Body for Every Body."
But that doesn't make sense at all. It's the same girls. So now these are all the bodies? There are no other body shapes or sizes? It's still offensive if you ask me. Even smoking hot Myla doesn't stand a chance against these girls. Which means that I, in my size 14 skinny jeans am still super fucked!
Myla and her underwear... I really do think she looks great. She doesn't look "plus sized" to me, and it breaks my heart into a million tiny pieces to think, "If there is outrage over her size 10 self, then what the hell kind of hideous monster must people think I am every time I walk out the door." It makes me feel ugly and ashamed of myself. I hate that.
I hate it because I know a whole lot of women of all sizes and shapes feel the same way. I know there is a girl out there right now who saw an article about Myla or the Victoria's Secret ad and just said, "fuck it" and ate that leftover cupcake. There is a girl out there who threw in the towel and skipped the gym. There are women who felt like I did and thought, "What's the point? I'll never be good enough." and just gave up.
But I didn't give up. I felt like shit for a minute and then I sat down and blogged all this out for you. I leashed up the dogs and took a walk. I picked out something pretty to wear tonight and I decided to do something to really piss people off.
If Myla in her lingerie ad caused such a big commotion, then I can't wait to see what the world thinks of me in mine. I'm no Myla, but I'm a real goddamned woman. And I think I look fucking great!
Take that fashion industry! Take that Calvin Klein! Take that Victoria's Secret! Take that America! Take that shit in. Take it all in. Put me in any category you want, but you can't make me feel bad about myself any more and I beg the rest of you not to let them take you down either. I am the perfect body and so are you.
Epiblog: A place for paying it forward and supporting artists, entrepreneurs and people who inspire me. I hope you find some inspiration here too.
This weeks Epiblog is dedicated to Payton Kemp. Payton herself went from a size 14 to a size 6 over the last two years. She still struggles with the same issues we all do, but she is so body positive for women of all sizes that she is an inspiration. She works in the fashion industry as a stylist, model and wardrobe person. She is also a great blogger. You can find some inspiration from Payton at her blog "Paytons Place"
Follow Stacie Huckeba on Twitter: www.twitter.com/stacieHuckeba