Tuesday, October 23, 2007

When I was a teenager, I hated the mall and I hated shopping for clothes. Trying to find dresses for special occasions that didn't make me look like a bag lady or a tent was impossible. Seeing manniquins in the windows of what I called "skinny girl stores" made me feel like I would never be able to view clothing as something enjoyable or fun. I was 50 lbs overweight. I had no desire to draw more attention to my body. I hid underneath baggy jeans and extra large t shirts.

Now, of course, years later, I thoroughly enjoy shopping. The Limited, which was then to me the quintessential skinny girl store, is now where I spend most of my clothing budget. I don't think too often about all the times when I would cry in the dressing room after a fruitless day of shopping or how I felt everyone was staring at me when I would walk into The Limited or the Gap. They were staring at me. Now when I walk in, they catagorize me as a likely spender, not some poor, lost nerd trying to kid herself.

Yesterday I went into Victoria's Secret. I don't have a staggering collection of lingerie the way I have, say, a staggering collection of black shirts. But Dan thought it would be fun to buy some together. I looked through racks and racks of overpriced "specialty" bras with lace and sparkles and embroidery. There was not a single D cup to be seen. Now, I would think that a store that specializes in lingerie would carry D cups, seeing as how it's a common size and Victoria's Secret markets to the masses, not to girls who look like eleven year old boys. I began to feel discouraged. Then I felt angry. We left. Dan convinced me I must be wrong and to ask a salesperson. She says that they do carry my size--but only bras that aren't "specialty bras" (i.e. the pretty ones). So obviously Victoria's Secret HAS heard that there are women who wear D cups--they just obviously don't feel that they deserve to look sexy. I felt myself starting to get upset and wanted to cry. I wasn't sure why I reacted so strongly. On the way home I realized that all of the emotions I felt when I was a teenager were coming back. It wasn't that I felt fat... but I did feel descriminated against. I don't understand why our society seems to be on a mission to make all women feel like they're freaks.

When I got home, I went online and looked at bras on their website, hoping I would be able to order something. I was horrified when I realized they actually had the gull to charge MORE for D cup sizes! Like they aren't overpriced enough anyway... but seriously... to treat D cups as if they're some sort of "plus size" is bull shit. A 36D is completely within the universally accepted normal range of sizes. I have no problem finding my size anywhere else. That's like if I went into the Limited and they told me they didn't carry a size 8, unless I wanted to purchase some unattractive yet practical elastic stretch pants. A store that specializes in bras should maybe take a moment to educate themselves about them.

I suppose I've lost sight of how our culture catagorizes, glorifies, demonizes, and demeans women while capitilizing off of their subsequent insecurities. I may be able to have mostly pleasant and comfortable shopping experiences, but not everyone can. That's unfair. Every woman has the right to feel sexy, beautiful and confident, and none of us need to be told that we're too much or too little of anything.

More reasonsto hate Victoria's Secret.