An Open Letter to the Women’s Clothing Industry

Dear Women’s Clothing Industry,

Go to hell.

No, seriously. Go to hell. I’m not sure if you’re aware of the torturous emotional war you’re waging against your own market, your own demographic you’re trying to sell products to, but if you are aware (and unless you live in a black hole of ignorance, you are) then please do us all a favor and go burn for all eternity.

What are you thinking? I recently went clothing shopping with my wife. She had always expressed reluctance whenever it came to clothes shopping. She said that it made her feel fat, that it made her feel inadequate, that it made her feel ugly. I will admit, I thought she was exaggerating, that she was being an overly sensitive female. I feel like a jerk for thinking this now, but I am nowhere close to being as mean spirited as you.

Throughout the entire shopping experience, I felt like an abusive ex-boyfriend continued to belittle my wife the entire time. My wife is not ugly. In her prime when she worked out every day, she had the same measurements as Marilyn Monroe (no joke). She’s gained a little weight since then but nowhere near the clinically obese the media parades everyday as social pariahs. No, she’s a healthy weight with great hips and a bust most girls are jealous of. So how come she can’t find any clothes for her? Apparently, the curvy standard of said Marilyn Monroe is out – the new look that is “in” seems to be that of Auschwitz. That, or little girls who haven’t hit puberty yet. What kind of terrible double standard do you set, where you applaud women with large breasts and yet promote a body type that naturally prohibits it? Why do you promote such terrible insanity?

We eventually found a hoodie for her. It’s incredibly cute and I love it. It fits perfectly, a beautiful brown color to compliment her hair and eyes, with a long, tapered feel that clings to her very nicely. But guess what? The size is XXL. What in all that is good and holy is that all about? Are you trying to imply my wife can’t get around on her own unless she’s propelling herself with a motorized chair? Because she is a very beautiful woman, much more beautiful than your models who you could switch out with the kids on those charities asking for money for starving African children and the only thing different is their skin color. It still bugs her to this day.

Like I said, I love the hoodie. I compliment her when she wears it at least five to ten times a day. But every single time, she mutters, “Yeah, I look great in an XXL hoodie.” When we started shopping, she said bitterly that the sizes should be renamed as Too Small, Still Too Small, and Small. I laughed, but my heart sank as the day drew on. Her comment hit the target perfectly. She wasn’t being sarcastic; she had simply endured one too many embarrassing, demoralizing shopping trips.

How do you get away with this? How are you the only industry that runs on maintaining a cruel war of divide-and-conquer on the entire female population in this country, of turning one sister against another simply because of body type? How are you the only industry that can continue this slash-and-burn insult against all women everywhere? How is it that people continue to buy your products that you purposely design to humiliate them? You promote a false sense of beauty that you surely acknowledge as naturally impossible, driving women to starving themselves, slicing themselves up, destroying their original, beautiful identities into false masks, terrible, twisted caricatures of people once unique and charming and quirky without any help from you.

So you know what? Go to hell.

Go to hell for the millions of women whose confidence you have shattered through your dubious practices and malicious marketing.

Go to hell for the millions of women you’ve driven to starving their bodies to fit your artificial, sickening ideal of beauty.

Go to hell for the millions of women who feel compelled to cut up their breasts as if it was sushi, inject chemicals into their faces, shave off their bones with instruments no more sophisticated than the power tools in my father’s garage.

Go to hell for the women who’ve taken their own lives, who drudge through lives of abuse, physical, emotional, and sexual, because they feel they deserve no better, for inspiring an entire generation of men to expect the impossible from those who would do anything just to feel attractive in their presence.

Go to hell for the millions of women who despise themselves, who translate your veiled attacks on their physique as critiques on their personalities as a whole.

Go to hell for all that you’ve done, for destroying the self-confidence of my wife who, despite the fact is the most beautiful girl on the planet, cannot realize this because you and your drone lackeys have told her repeatedly that no man will love her unless she loses forty pounds, dyes her hair, and have breasts so large it would be almost comical if it wasn’t so depressingly sad. You’ve subsisted for far too long as a parasite on our better halves, preying on their insecurities to line your pockets, stoking the fires of self-loathing for your own profit. And for that, dear Women’s Clothing Industry, go to hell. May you pay the price for every tear you’ve battered out of women everywhere, for every stab and twist in their heart, for every thought of hatred directed towards themselves because of your lies and influence until you’ve fulfilled your debt in full.

Sincerely, Ted Lee



Filed under life stories, wordsmithing

7 responses to “An Open Letter to the Women’s Clothing Industry

  1. I’ll sign my name to that.

    I am glad you went shopping with your wife so you could see what it’s really like.

    Dantzel is by far much more shapely and physically attractive than I am (don’t bother with the no-she’s-not’s–I’m not being self-depricating. She is closer to the female ideal than I am). As an overweight woman, I know the woes of clothes shopping (don’t even get me started on swim suit shopping). I had to tell myself over and over that it was okay to shop at Torrid (a plus-size store). I still have to convince myself to carry a bag from there around the mall with pride.

    Don’t even get me started on sizes. If Dantzel is wearing an XXL, then the whole thing is just one big clustercuss. I wouldn’t even fit in anything from whatever store she bought that from. Probably not even in the men’s styles either, since it’s now trendy to wear your 12-year-old brother’s jeans. I was in Aeropostale once and tried on a women’s XL polo shirt. Staring at myself in the mirror with that thing on, I couldn’t help but laugh. I had a hard time getting it off without ripping it in half.

    Every year for Christmas my grandma buys each of her grandkids a Sunday outfit for church. And every year since I was 12, I am a nervous wreck about how much longer it will take me to find something that fits than my sisters. Some years, I even went to the mall early to get a few hours head start. I was sitting outside the dressing room with my grandma during this year’s outing. (Since I’ve come to terms with shopping in a plus-size store, I tend to find something a little quicker than usual.) My grandma told me about a time when she used to work in a clothing department store. She said one evening a woman came in and asked her about some larger-sized clothes for her daughter. My grandma said this mother was practically in tears over it. Tears…because her daughter needed a larger size.

    Anyway, I should have been born during the time period where pasty white and plump was sexy because it meant you were rich and could afford to sit inside and eat all day while poor people do all your hard work for you.

  2. Man, Ted, I loved this one, too! Especially the bit comparing breast augmentation to making sushi; it had me in stitches.

    I was a size 8 before I had my son. Now I’m a size 12, slowly working my way back to size 10. (Thanksgiving did not help.) I kind of miss my old clothes, and my abdomen is riddled with stretch marks (I like to call them my “tiger stripes”), but I’m more or less at peace with my body. What most women don’t realize is that you NEED that extra weight in order to nourish your child. It’s the culture that is toxic, not our
    bodies. It all comes back to the negative perceptions our culture has about childbearing – the attitude that women’s bodies are meant to be aesthetic, not functional. “Pregnancy is SOOO hard. I threw up allll the time. You’ll never get your figure back.” As if your figure was more important than bringing a child into this world.

    Case in point, I have sister-in-law who is on a freaking diet while she is freaking pregnant because she’s afraid of gaining too much weight. Never mind the fact that she is six feet tall, so of course she’ll put on a few more pounds than those of us who are 5’4″ like little ol’ me.

    • Ted

      I would tell your sister that recent studies have found that dieting during your pregnancy actually increases the risk of obesity in the unborn child:

      “There is extremely disturbing evidence that one contributor to actual obesity is low maternal weight – the goal of so many women today… Yet there may be a hidden danger in promoting low weight in pregnancy. At the end of the Second World War, the Dutch suffered an extraordinary famine. Women who were exposed to the famine in the first six months of their pregnancies had underweight children who became obese as adults. Those experiencing starvation for the first time in the last trimester did not. Epidemiologists reviewing these results are now beginning to think that low maternal weight in the first six months of pregnancy primes a baby to act as a famine victim and that low-weight babies are more likely to become diabetic.”

      From Bodies, by Susie Orbach, 2009

      Of course, this information is not to be snarky or right, but just as a warning for women who grow up in such a diet frenzied world. I feel sorry for girls a lot. : /

  3. Yes. Just yes. That was so well written and I always love having a man on board! Makes me feel like I’m not so crazy after all.

  4. YES. THANK YOU. Remember the good old days when you’d go in to buy a suit or dress and they’d take your measurements and tailor something to fit you in all the places where it mattered? Yeah, me neither, because those days have been replaced by a guessing-game system that is terrible at doing it’s job. As most of girls I’m sure will tell you, if you try on 10 things in a store, you might love the way one of them fits you. If you’re lucky, you won’t hate the style. LESS THAN TEN PERCENT IS NOT VERY GOOD ODDS, all things considered, and often it’s worse, especially if you don’t have the same body-type as the one the designers had in mind. Flat-chested stick girls is generally the one they’ve been thinking of the most for several years.

    Girls have breast, waist, hip, and arm measurements (to name just a few).Two girls – even those with similar body types – are not going to share all of these sizes in the exact same proportions. A 10% increase in chest size doesn’t mean a 10% all around increase. IT DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY. S-M-L-XL-XXL is an oversimplified, terribly reductionist method of doing things. Girls like your wife who happen to be well endowed in certain areas get herded into the XL-XXL fence, and even with excessive dieting and exercise would probably only move slightly down the chain. Way to bring those natural knock-outs down a peg, clothing industry. They were getting way too uppity!

    Even men’s clothes do better by providing actual inch measurements most of the time (not to mention the fact that the male body is much easier to guess at [and truthfully, most of us slightly resent you because of it]).

  5. Sarah LaRue

    I agree with you, wholeheartedly and have cried many times in a clothing store dressing room. It is important to remember, however, that the size on the tag DOES NOT MATTER! There are 3 different sizing methods for American womens clothing and the actual measurements vary VASTLY from manufacter to manufacter and also by cut of the particular garment. It would be great if sizing became standardized, but until then, when trying on clothes, take in the size you think you are and also the next 2 sizes up. For the love of God, don’t let something silly like a number on a tag determine your self-esteem and self-worth. When you get it home, cut it off and you’ll never have to look at that XXL again!

  6. Yay! Yay for sensibility! My body type is the kind that fits into the clothes sold, but I hate shopping with my friends. I hate the way that my body type demoralizes them further. I have a naturally high metabolism, and a teeny tiny appetite. They are beautiful, curvy women, and I am so jealous of their figures! My gosh, my friends are gorgeous! So why doesn’t the fashion industry make them feel that way? I suggest your wife check out some fashion blogs. They give great ideas for dressing real bodies (and there are even LDS ones, for modesty).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s