The Product of Being Plus Sized

I received an email last week from a company that shall remain nameless offering me either a giveaway of their product or an opportunity to review their product.

If you’ve read Sizzle Says for any amount of time you know I am not big into doing these sorts of things. I don’t have ads on my website. I am involved with one company- Nintendo- who, in my opinion, could teach most other brands how to work with bloggers. They treat us right- they respect us, ask for our opinion, keep us in the loop of new products, and throw some really wickedly cool parties (total bonus!). I’m proud to work with them.

But then you have companies like the one that approached me last week. Granted, they are small potatoes compared to a giant like Nintendo but still, it was clear they had not done their research and didn’t really have their act together. I’m sure you’ve gotten the emails that start with, “Hi (insert your blog name here)! I love your blog! Blah blah blah.” Right about in that first sentence is when you can rest assured they have never actually read your blog.

Like this woman who wrote to me attempting to promote this business that makes clothes. Pretty cute, retro-inspired clothes, actually. Clothes I would have been happy to have tried and if I had liked, spread the word about. But unfortunately our exchange went something like this:

She writes me offering a giveaway or a review. Her company sells dresses mostly.

I write her and say I’m potentially interested but I don’t promote products I don’t have personal experience with so I would only be interested in a review. I point out that I am a plus-sized woman and would require a dress that fits a 16/18. (I have checked the site and see they have a small offering of clothing that fits this description.)

She writes back with a list of dresses that are available for review. They are not in any sort of order and have no links so I have to scroll through the entire site looking them up one-by-one. I realize that none of the ones she has sent me are from their plus-sized line.

I write her back and say that unfortunately none of the dresses she offered me for review come in my size. I ask if any of those options for me.

She writes back that she is authorized to give such-and-such dresses (plus sized dresses) away for a giveaway only, not for a review. She understands if it won’t work out.

Here is where I get really annoyed. Why would a plus-sized dress be available for a giveaway but NOT for a review? Either way they are giving it away.

So I write back again. I ask that question. I also say something along the lines of – I talk a lot on my blog about the frustration fashionable plus sized women feel with the fashion industry. I’m not going to giveaway a dress I couldn’t wear myself. This is very disappointing.

I mean THEY HAVE THE DRESSES! but for some very strange and inexplicable reason, they can’t give me one to review, only giveaway. WTF?

Her answers were convoluted and unsatisfying and not worth documenting. Let’s just say there will be no review or giveaway and I am purposely not linking to their site because I don’t want to give them any business.

I debated writing about it but it is still bothering me. Not the fact that I didn’t get a free dress. No, I don’t care about free shit. I can buy myself a dress if I want. It’s just that same old fact that it’s nearly impossible to find cute, fashionable clothes that fit a woman larger than a size 14. Does the fashion industry not understand how much money they could potentially be making if they made these clothes? There are a lot of women out there who want to look fashionable and yet are relegated to the basements of department stores with measly offerings of clothes made out of crap fabric, or forced to buy their wardrobe on line because apparently plus-sized clothing takes up too much space in their actual stores (Hi! Old Navy!) or, my personal favorite, made to shop in a section that is combined with the maternity section (and the maternity clothes are cuter) (I am looking at YOU, Target!) because apparently being fat is the same as being pregnant.

It makes me so irate.

I am SO SICK of this pervasive attitude that slaps me in the face daily saying- if you are plus sized, you are not good enough. That is the message I and so many others are receiving over and over again- from the fashion industry, the magazines, TV, etc. ad nauseum. Fuck the people who spread that bullshit. Fuck me for listening to it for so many years. Fuck all those years I looked at accessories while my friends who were smaller tried on a mountain of cute clothes. Fuck all those stores that don’t carry a size larger than a 14.

Shame will never ever make a person thin. Just more miserable.

I have a lot more to say about this but am going to break it up into a series of posts.

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33 thoughts on “The Product of Being Plus Sized

  1. I wish you would tell the name of the site so that I won’t shop there. As a lady who was once plus sized (and still sometimes needs to buy plus size to fit my top) I never want to shop at a site that doesn’t understand that not everyone is a skinny minnie.

  2. I have yet to receive a single offer to review a product that hasn’t been a load of crap, and I get at least one offer a month. I have to wonder if the people in charge of these campaigns even know what a blog is?

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  4. You have that problem with the cute clothes, which is exactly the same problem i have. I wanted to find a cute dress for a wedding and I looked EVERYWHERE and the plus sized dresses were just hideous.
    My other problem being the fact I dont have big boobs so a 16W dress won’t fit me because my boobs are not big enough to fit the ‘standard’ 16W model.
    So, in short, I’m so with you in this phrase “Fuck all those stores that don’t carry a size larger than a 14”.

  5. I think there are a lot of groups who feel marginalized. They often have very valid reasons for feeling slighted. However, they don’t very often come up with solutions to make things better or different. I’m glad you came up with workable solutions for this clothing company, even though they didn’t take the bait. I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts and how things need to change in order to make things better.

  6. How annoying, to say the least. I am surprised you went as far as you did to look into other options on their site. I cannot say I’d have done the same.

  7. I’m so with you on that. If you think it’s bad in the US – it’s worse in Canada. We’re not allowed to be fat, or if we are, the only thing we’re allowed to wear is old-lady polyester outfits, or track suits. And even at my top-most plus sizedness, I still looked a good 50lbs heavier in anything I tried on at our three plus sized stores. Plus sized Old Navy doesn’t exist – not even online, and they even got rid of the size 20s in the stores.

    The problems is that fashion designers don’t understand how a plus body is shaped, so they compensate by adding length or extra ruffles. If I could draw, my only goal in life would be to become a designer to design clothes for women with curves.

    But good for you for saying no to this company. I always wonder about bloggers who do a giveaway for things that they’d normally not be able to get, either by size limitations, or geographical ones… it feels just a little not right.

  8. I am clapping for this post LOUDLY inside my head. (I’m at work! :D) I’ve written about this kind of stuff before, too. And I think that if we keep up with it, and more women join in, eventually, maybe the fashion industry will actually start to listen.

    I hope.

    ::sigh::

    You know what pisses me off? Things like Banana republic having a “Big & Tall” section in their men’s clothing. (At least online, they do.) But all I can fit into from them is a cardigan that’s not meant to be closed, or a scarf. Gee…thanks.

  9. Your post is spot on — thanks for writing it. I have my own issues with finding clothes that fit me because I’m short and have a big ol’ butt with a small waist. I often wonder who exactly are the clothing companies making clothes for, because none of my friends are stick thin with no boobs or butt.

    Anyway, it is a shame that normal sized women are called plus size in the first place, and that larger than stick-thin women have to hunt for clothes to fit them.

    Side note: have you seen the previews for that show “Shedding for the Wedding?” Why do the couples have to lose weight to earn their dream wedding? What if, instead, the prize went to the couple who raised the most money for a charity? I don’t get why losing weight is rewarded the way it is.

  10. YES. I’m SO glad you wrote about this, because when you told me about this exchange I immediately thought (this company was ridiculous, yes definitely, and) the whole situation lends itself to a really great and multifaceted discussion.

    Our society’s standards of beauty are so painstakingly overwrought with size over health (or under health, as it were), and it will never stop upsetting me. I seriously can’t even handle Urban Outfitters’ (or American Apparel’s) advertising anymore. And what’s crazy is that I can wear their clothes! But you would never know it if I wasn’t brave enough to walk in there and see for myself (Which I verily agree: You should be able to do EVERYWHERE, instead of being relegated to shopping online and guessing if something is going to fit/look right), ignoring the models in the catalogs and store-fronts who look like they eat one Triscuit a day.

    Also: “Shame will never ever make a person thin. Just more miserable.” AMEN.

    I hope you never feel an ounce of shame about your physical appearance, friend. Because you are gorgeous. On the outside, yes, but so much so on the inside too that it radiates outward.

  11. I, too, have become very discouraged about buying new clothes. It seems that everything I look at seems to be more akin to nurse smocks.. not anything that is fashionable and flattering. It doesn’t help that I am not very good at clothes shopping. I haven’t had too much problem with Old Navy, but I have noticed that Target lumps theirs in with the maternity, and (as you mentioned), the maternity section has tons of cute stuff, but just plain, uncomfortable stuff in the plus-size section. It seems to be that trend everywhere.

    I’ve tried to shop online, but it never fails that when I recieve the item, it doesn’t fit right, and it’s too much hassle to keep returning and reordering trying to find that right one.

    And I cannot believe they have dresses for “give-away” but not review. Seems like a pretty shoddy business tactic to me.

  12. I struggled with this when I was bigger, and still struggle with it now. One because my body image is screwed up, and two because everything is marketed towards the very thin. I feel like I shouldn’t even be looking at clothes b/c how in the world could I ever be able to fit into them.
    My other clothes-related issue is that a lot of styles today are more for teens or for seniors. Neither of those can be the largest clothes-buying population, so where are the stylish, well-made, affordable clothes for the 30-something? Ok, yes, I’m sure they’re out there, but dammit I’m tired of having to look so hard!

  13. This is the exact same experience I have trying to buy a bra (although in the other direction). It makes me feel guilty and bad and wrong and not good enough, etc. which is definitely not something I need reinforced, especially over something that shouldn’t even matter.

    I don’t understand them being able to give one away but not for review. That doesn’t make any sense and seems like a sure way to get them bad press. A person with less tact than you might have named the company and told everyone the name to avoid. I bet they wouldn’t like that too much. Maybe they should think about these kinds of things before sending a review request? I have gotten to the point that I delete a lot of review requests without even responding because they make no sense and are obviously not someone who has any idea what I write about. I’m sorry this didn’t work out for you, and even more sorry that it has to be like this in the first place!

  14. I am a total sucker and just did the giveaway like 30 minutes ago I hit publish but I love your thoughts and support you 100%. I’ll be more considerate next time. Thanks for making me think more deeply about the issue.

  15. I want to be a Nintendo reviewer. Sniffle.

    That is pretty ridiculous about something being available for giveaway but not review. I’ll never understand some companies.

  16. Love this post. And totally agree. Shopping gives me nightmares because pants rarely fit me. And the whole giveaway but not review thing is ridiculous. I have had people contact me like that too – they act like they read your blog, blah blah blah – it’s just bizarre!

  17. So here’s what I think: You have an amazing sense of style. Ah. Mazing. You should start a clothing line with your wonderful styles in all shapes and sizes.

  18. You should shop in the UK, there’s loads of clothes for plus-size women. They have them in most stores and there are a lot of catalgoues that sell super cute items. I wonder why it isn’t the same in America?

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