What is Normal?
With all this talk about size and shape, discussing whether I’m too fat to write a fashion blog and whether my weight makes me obese, I began questioning what is normal. As I look around at my friends and family, I see that I categorize them in one of two camps; to be blunt, fat and skinny. Naturally I put myself in the fat category even though I would never describe myself as fat, but I would never describe myself as normal.
Why wouldn’t I describe myself as normal? When I go shopping and looking at advertisements for clothing I see “normal” people parading around in beautiful clothes, and think how cute would that look on me? But then, once I get to the store, I discover that the very cute dress is actually not in my size and/or does not actually look that good on me. When shopping for clothes I find that I’m too “fat” for 70% of the regular-sized clothes, I’m too skinny for 90% of the plus size section.
Not only do I see myself thinking of myself as not normal, but I see how sales associates treat me as well. When shopping in regular sizes it’s suggested that I try bigger sizes even though I can fit into the majority of stuff in the department. When I wander over to the plus size section I’m treated like a skinny model, and suddenly the (typically plus sized) sales associate suddenly think I’m their doll to dress up.
As I look at my friends and family I see similar tales of size despair, except in the opposite direction. Two of my best friends, Dolly & Delaney, are very petite women. Just like I have issues finding clothes that fit, they are on the other end of the spectrum being too small for regular clothes, but sometimes too big for petites. I watch their frustrations with sizing grow just as mine does.
Why can’t we all just be considered normal? I’m not sure that I can fully answer this question in one short blog post, but for now my perspective is that the fashion industry has us segmented by short, skinny, fat, tall. They also think that you can only be short & fat or short & skinny, heaven forbid you’re tall & fat (me) because that makes it even more difficult to find clothing that fits. We continue to allow ourselves to be grouped into these various “departments” but for what purpose?