On October 28, Tim Gunn gave PBS Newshour his latest commentary on the American fashion industry's marginalization of plus-size women. (Click here to watch.) It's not the first time he has called out the industry on minimizing the legitimate needs of over half the women of our country--just read his piece for the Washington Post from September.
He gives an important message: There are over 80 MILLION women over a size 14 in our country. That is over half of the 157 million American women.
Strangely, however, we are left out of the fashion equation almost completely. (Thanks, Lane Bryant, for not forgetting most of us.) This is more than just whining about not be able to procure fashion-forward clothes--this is about being able to compete in a professional market that defines women largely on their looks (which absolutely needs to change). But you have to acknowledge that having the ability to dress well greatly matters, both personally and professionally.
I totally rock the sweatpants and t-shirt look when I'm at home. But when I need professional clothing, it's hard, particularly in my price range. It changes how people perceive me. When women of size are left out of the majority of the clothing market and are subsequently dressed less professionally than our thinner counterparts, if perpetuates the stigma that fat people---particularly women---are lazy, slouchy, drab, and just plain lazy. This is so far from the truth, but the myth persists.
Also, it needs to be said: Tim Gunn uses some language that needs to shift--looking taller and slimmer is not the goal of clothing. Being our human selves is the goal, and having clothes that are creatively and professionally made to fit us is necessary. As Tim says, it's a no-brainer from a financial standpoint--as a whole, we've got LOTS of money to spend. What is really keeping designers back? Anti-fat bias.
So, speak out. Share Tim's video. Share this post. Even if you have an abundant wardrobe. Consider in what other ways fat people are marginalized in our culture, and how that affects all of us. It's a part of doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God.