Sunday, November 4, 2007

Shopping. Part 1

So the teacher in me has spent some time formulating the big question. "Do fat women get less pleasure out of shopping? Why or why not. Don't forget to give evidence to back up your answer." (Yep, that took 4 years of undergrad and a teacher's degree to come up with!)

Lets put aside for a moment the whole "stores are made for skinny people" thing and the frustration of never being able to find things that make us feel great. Lets take a trip into the land of make believe and imagine a store that carries every size from a 2 to a 52. It has every item in every size. Each piece of clothing is the same price as every other on just like it regardless of size.

The store is well advertized, well priced, easy to get to, and easy to navigate. Change rooms are large and functional with lots of mirrors, a chair, and a small table to hold your purse. The sales people are plesant, non pushy, and not paid on commission. They just want to see you happy, and have had sensagtivity training and really are just there to help. (See, we really are in fantasy land).

Antonio Banderes (in his Evita look) compliments every item of clothing personally and hands you a red rose with each purchase (hey, my fantasy land, my rules!)

I would be willing to bet that the store would still be mostly filled with women under a size 16.

Why is that?

Getting rid of all the other factors that we use as excuses to say we hate brick and morter shopping, we get right into the heart of the matter. Why is it that even in the setup I described, I would still feel people were staring at me and be embarrassed to reach in to the middle of the rack to find my size?

Even in stores that do cater to our needs we often still feel as if we are being judged.

It seems that we are conditioned to think of ourselves as somehow less worthy of having new things. Descartes is know to have said "I think, therefore I am". Are we taught to say "I eat, therefore I am not"?

Of course, up here in Toronto this is all a moot point. I can count the number of stores that service women like myself on one hand. I wonder if I am taking my life view from retailers who seem to be telling me that I am less worthy of having new things. "Sorry, we do not carry things for your kind here". Sure, that will make anyone feel great.

Fat women get less pleasure out of shopping because we feel like it is not something we are entitled to be doing based on the limited number of places that will actually cater to our needs.

OK, so we have now wandered the total length and breadth of the store and have actually managed to find a number of things that we want to try on. The friendly and helpful sales assistant helps get all the stuff the roomy, comfortable, well lit, mirrored fitting room.

Now comes the real fight. Does this skirt make me look "normal". Shit! You can still see that stupid bulge above my waist. Damn! This shirt make me look like that three breasted women from Star Wars (ok, that might make some men pant with envy, but it is never really the look I go for). Never mind what I hear of the search for the perfect jeans or pants!

Seems that one of the things people want from their clothes is that they hide their flaws. Guess what? Fat ain't hidable. You put on the most beautiful sweater in the known world and you are still just a fat chick in the sweater. We can not hide who we are and I think that is the final nail in the coffin. No matter what we wear or how we wear it, we are still just fat chicks in new clothes.

So the answer to the question I started with is "Yes fat women get less pleasure out of shopping." However, the caveat to that is that if we stop thinking of ourselves at "fat women" and start thinking of ourselves as plain old women who accept themselves for who and what they are (and who happen to be damn gorgeous women to boot!) most of our reasons for not shopping disappear.

So lets go out and celebrate the findings of this not so scientific study by shopping to our hearts content!

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