Tag Archives: Halloween

Fatshioning a Better Relationship with Clothing Companies

Plus-size model? Most of the world doesn’t seem to think so.

I was reviewing my email when this article from Digiday entitled “For brands,  marketing ‘plus-size’ is a tricky line to walk” showed up.  The article talked about the recent uproar about Calvin Klein model Myla Dalbesio’s interview in Elle Magazine where she referred to herself as a ‘Plus Sized Model’.  Social media outlets erupted in anger as many people rightly pointed out that as a very tall woman who is size 10 at most, she is considerably thinner than the average American woman.  And while she might qualify as “plus-sized” in modeling terminology (which can apply to any woman over size 6 according to the article in Elle) she certainly doesn’t qualify as plus-sized in the way that most of us understand it.  To be fair, I think it’s important to note that Calvin Klein did not label her as plus-sized.  It simply put her in a group of models of varying sizes to promote their new Perfectly Fit line of underwear.  Myla described herself as plus-sized.

But this pesky question of labeling has come up since the early days of the “husky” department and most retailers still don’t seem to get it right.  We had the kerfluffle earlier this year when some online catalog pages identified Wal-mart Halloween Costumes “Fat Girl Costumes”.  Many people took exception to this labeling as extremely rude, while at the same time, many people in the Fat Acceptance community who identify themselves with the word “Fat” thought it was just fine.  As a woman who calls herself “The Fat Chick” I wasn’t offended.  But many people were.

Walmart’s Halloween section before the site got changed and the company apologized.

Add to this, Dillard’s debacle which Ragen Chastain blogged about today and you have to wonder, who the hell is doing this marketing stuff anyways?  Who at Dillard’s thought it would be okay to put a sign that says “Dear Santa, This year give me a fat bank account and a slim body.  Please don’t mix them up like you did last year.”  Do they do any market research?  Do they understand how this will be perceived in the marketplace?  Or do they see it as clickbait with the idea that all attention is good attention as long as they get the URL right?

And then we have Old Navy, catching online flak for making their plus-sized clothing more expensive than the exact same garment in a smaller size.  There is now a national petition circulating on Change.org asking Old Navy to unify pricing for women’s clothing of all sizes.

What in the name of all that is retail is going on here?  How can these companies with so much money and such big advertising budgets and so much access to sophisticated market research continue to get this so wrong?  I don’t claim to have all the answers, but it seems to me that a few simple tips are in order:

1.  Lose the labels.

Why do you have to call these clothes anything at all?  Why do you need a plus-size department?  Or a women’s department?  That label always made no sense to me anyway.  Does that mean that all the other smaller dresses in the store are not for women?  Are they for dancing poodles or space aliens?  Why can’t we just say that we have clothing sizes 00-30 and call it a day?  If you are talking about tags for a search engine, then fine.  Tag away.  But you don’t need to call these clothes out in a special heading.  Because you are also following step two which is:

2.  Have more than a few token items in a variety of sizes.

The sad truth is that larger sizes are often relegated to their own department because such a small percentage of the store’s stock comes in any thing over a size 12. Larger people get really tired of flipping through cute and gorgeous things that don’t come in their size.  If most things on the rack had a size 14 through a size 30 or 32 or 40 on them, we wouldn’t need to go to the “plus-sized” department or the “women’s department” we would go to the clothes department.  The special sizes departments are just to keep us from hanging ourselves with a pair of stripy tights because we’ve looked at 85 fabulous things that only come in a size 4.

3.  Don’t charge a premium for larger sizes

You don’t charge more for a size 10 than a size 0.  So there is no reason to charge more for a size 16 than a size 10.  Just average the prices down the line and charge accordingly.  See?  That was easy!

4.  Treat all of your customers with respect

Treat your customers of all sizes, just the way you would like to be treated.  Do you want to see a sign suggesting that Santa bring you better judgement, more kindness and some freaking common sense?  No?  Then don’t put out a sign suggesting that Santa bring your women customers or your young girl customers a new body.  There!  Done!

I think everybody should be able to approach the holidays in some fabulous clothing that makes them feel comfortable and happy.  So retailers, listen up!  There are lots of people who aren’t size 4 or even 14 and have lots of money.  So if you really want to start the day after Thanksgiving “in the black”, get it together.  I think that is something for which we could all feel truly grateful.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S.  Want me to come talk to your organization about “plus-sized” clothing and fashion for folks of all sizes?  Click HERE to see some video, learn about my speeches and book me!

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Wicked Witch Hands Fat Kids Shame-Filled Letter instead of Candy

*Loud record scratch noise*

We interrupt our regularly scheduled blog to make this public service announcement.  Apparently a woman in North Dakota called into a local radio station saying that she will hand trick-or-treaters that she deems too fat a letter along with their candy.  The thin kids will just get candy.  After the interview, she emailed a copy of the letter she plans to send along to the radio station.

Want to know what the letter will say?  Here it is in all its glory:

Happy Halloween and Happy Holidays Neighbor! [Picture of a cute pumpkin]

You are probably wondering why your child has this note; have you ever heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child”?  I am disappointed in “the village” of Fargo Moorhead, West Fargo.

Your child is in my opinion moderately obese and should not be consuming sugar and treats to the extent of some children this Halloween season.

My hope is that you will step up as a parent and ration candy this Halloween and not allow your child to continue these unhealthy eating habits.

Thanks!

Yup,  apparently this woman called into a radio station (anonymously) and claimed she would be handing these letters out to the fat kids this year.  She won’t tell us her full name or where her house is.  There is no way for a parent to avoid this house with their kids because nobody [as yet] knows where she lives.  But she says she’s going to do this, because, “It takes a village, people!”.

I guess nobody told her that she’s been designated the village idiot and thus probably won’t be put in charge of the welfare of the village children this year.

This whole thing is so appalling, I frankly had a hard time figuring out where to start.  So I guess we’ll start at the beginning of this amazingly articulate missive.  *Insert eye roll here.*

It begins “Happy Halloween and Happy Holidays Neighbor”.  Because nothing says “happy holidays” quite like shaming your child in front of his peers and offering unsolicited and uninformed opinions on your parenting skills.  But that’s okay because I’ve got crappy clip art of a jack o’ lantern here, see?  And the jack o’ lantern is smiling so that means I’m being nice.

“You are probably wondering why you are receiving this note;”  Yes indeed.  I am wondering why you decided to send a judgmental and shame-filled letter home with any child.  Since we all know that shame doesn’t make kids healthier, happier or thinner, I would  really like to know why you thought it was okay to do that to a kid in front of her peers.  Given the fact that shaming kids tends to lead to unhealthy behaviors including binge eating, drug use, alcohol abuse, smoking and eating disorders, I would really like to know what made you think this was okay.

The letter goes on, “have you ever heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child?”  Yes I’ve heard this saying, but I’m pretty sure it means something different than you think it does.

Then the letter says, “I am disappointed in “the village” of Fargo Moorhead, West Fargo.”  To which I would respond.  Well I am too.  If the village contains judgmental people like you who think that, based solely on a child’s appearance you have the right to shame that kid in front of his friends and send an anonymous letter to the parents telling them that they don’t know how to raise him, I think our “village” has a problem.

Okay, this next line makes me incandescent with rage.  She says, “Your child is in my opinion moderately obese and should not be consuming sugar and treats to the extent of some children this Halloween season.”  O.M.G.  First of all, how exactly are you determining that the child tips the scales as “moderately obese”.  Are you measuring height and weight and calculating B.M.I. on the fly?  Are you pulling some skin calipers out of your “candy cauldron” and doing a little skin fold testing there on your front porch?   Or are you basing your calculations on which kids are chubby in a way that insults your delicate sensibilities?  Oh wait, I forgot.  It says it’s your opinion.  Did I ask your opinion?  Did anyone?  No?  That my dear villager is a sign you should Just. Shut. Up.

But the last sentence of the letter is the real kicker.  She closes by saying, “My hope is that you will step up as a parent and ration candy this Halloween and not allow your child to continue these unhealthy eating habits.”  It is unbelievable how many unsubstantiated assumptions this woman is able to cram into one little sentence.  It assumes that the parent is not doing their job.  It assumes that the child has unhealthy eating habits.  It assumes that the parents don’t ration candy.  It assumes that the parent is unaware that the child is chubby and is somehow negligent as a parent.   Does she know this because she knows the child and the family and the situation?  Does she have a crystal ball that shows definitively, in each particular situation what is happening in that child and family’s life?  Does she know if the kid is taking medications that make weight gain more likely?  Does she know if the kid has a metabolic disorder?  Does she know if the kid has just lost a parent or is coping with unbridled bullying at school? Or is she spewing hate all based on the fact that Tammy’s tutu is a little too tight?

And she closes with the word “Thanks”.  Yes, and let me also offer my thanks.

Thanks for shaming kids in front of their friends.  I’m sure that will make everything better.

Thanks for taking the one holiday of the year which is really about kids having fun and wrecking it for them.

Thanks for offering your completely unsolicited and unsubstantiated, bitchy and judgmental opinions on people’s parenting skills based on your personal prejudice.

Thanks for making kids cry.

Thanks for increasing the chances these kids will turn to drugs, alcohol, tobacco or an eating disorder, because everyone knows, a fun-sized Snickers bar is the worst thing in the world.

Thanks so much for staying anonymous while you are bullying kids.  Because nothing says, “It takes a village” quite like putting on a mask and lobbing fireballs at children from behind a wall at a safe distance.

The kicker has to be the moment in the radio interview when asked by the hosts of the show why she didn’t give out toys or stickers instead of candy.  Our protagonist, who identified herself only as Cheryl, said she didn’t want to be the “mean lady” in the neighborhood.

Um.  I’m sorry.  That’s not what you meant.

What you really meant is that you only wanted to be mean to the FAT kids, so that makes it okay.

Trick or Treat is supposed to mean give me a treat or I’ll play a trick on you.  All I can say, is that if this woman actually follows through and hands out these letters, she is likely to face some pretty staunch retribution. #theVillageTPdYourHouse.  I think she might find the village throwing eggs at her very fragile glass house.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie

AKA The Fat Chick

 

The Terror of a New Exercise Class

Signs that maybe that exercise class isn't quite right for you...

Signs that maybe that exercise class isn’t quite right for you…

It’s Halloween time so I thought I would talk about one particularly scary situation.  We’ve all experienced the trepidation of starting a new exercise class.  And many of us have experienced the gut roiling horror of finding ourselves locked into the exercise class from hell for 30 minutes, 60 minutes or an eternity depending on the severity of our crimes in some former lives.  Finding yourself “stuck” in a miserable, embarrassing or even dangerous exercise class can turn you away from exercise for a long, long time so I thought I’d share some tips for helping you to avoid this situation.

 

1.  Trust your instincts.  If your walk into a class feels like a jaunt into Dracula’s castle, listen to your gut.  I give you absolute permission to walk into a class and turn right around and walk back out.  If you walk into the classroom and some harpy screams at you for taking her “spot” and the students are speaking  in hushed tones about last week’s fatalities, and the teacher is sniffing you to decide whether or not to suck your blood, then for heaven’s sake, get OUT OF THERE!

Listen to Brenda. Don’t go in there! Uh uh!

2.  Ask to observe the class first.  This little tip can save you so much heartache.  How many times have we gotten ourselves into the middle of a class that just isn’t right for us, but felt to embarrassed to leave the workout floor and walk out in front of everybody?  So we keep on slogging through the exercise class from hell that seems to last  just fifteen minutes from forever?  Don’t do it!  If you ask to watch first, you’re making it clear to the instructor that you’re not sure that it is right for you.  If it looks super easy and fun, then join in!  If it like a nightmare from hell, just walk out.  It’s that easy!  Honestly!

3.  You don’t have to do everything the teacher says.  You should always free to modify moves or not do them at all.  If something hurts, don’t do it!  You can simply march in place or even sit down until you feel ready to join in again.

YOU decide when you've had enough!

YOU decide when you’ve had enough!

4.  Talk to the teacher first.  If you share your concerns with a teacher ahead of time,they can often steer you in the right direction.  They might advise you about the best way to cope with their class, or they may steer you towards a different class altogether.  In any case, communication is key.

5.  Keep your sense of humor.  Even exercise class disasters can be funny if you keep your sense of humor about the whole thing.  As long as you don’t allow yourself to get injured, you’ll simply have a great story to tell or at least something to blog about!

See a new exercise class doesn’t have to be so scary.  Just try these tips and have a ball!

 

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

 

 

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