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double standard evil fat fatties

I’m now an official expert on women’s fashion

By David Futrelle

Last week, there was a little dustup on Twitter over one online clothing store’s rather limited selection of sizes, and their goofy names.

Rabbit Goh Co sells women’s clothing that is, in the words of one journalist, “understated, classically tailored and slightly twee.” Trouble is, they only sell clothes in three sizes, which for some reason they’ve decided to call “dainty,” “fair,” and “grand.” Making matters worse, the “grand” size isn’t very grand — it’s only a US size 6.

To be honest, I’m not exactly sure how grand or not grand that really is, given that I’m not actually an expert on women’s fashion at all. But according to legit fashion expert Cora Harrington, who got the controversy going with a tweet complaining about the “cutsey” names for the sizes, it’s not very. As an assortment of women on Twitter confirmed:

I'm size chonk
I guess my size would be oh lawd she comin

All this is covered in somewhat more detail in a post on the controversy on the entertainment/fashion site Her, from which I borrowed these tweets and the description of Rabbit Goh Co’s style I quoted above.

And, oh yeah, the reason for my headline? Well, the post on Her also quoted a tweet by noted fashionista me.

David Futrelle
@DavidFutrelle
Replying to @lingerie_addict
I'm a big fat dude but I am dainty as fuck, dammit

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go drink some tea with my motherfucking pinky out.

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Catalpa
Catalpa
3 years ago

@Jone

A good rule of thumb for not dehumanizing folks is to not describe people using adjectives as nouns. So, don’t talk about “a female” or “a black” or “an asian”, etc.

Bakunin
Bakunin
3 years ago

Yeah, as someone who has ordered a few things from Asian clothing sites, the sizes sound right, though I haven’t seen a site that only had three options. I’m 5’8″, size 2-4, and I have to order large according to their charts.

I did hit a snag when looking for some Valentine’s gifts for my girlfriend. If something is categorised as “plus-size”, maybe go higher than a freaking 4X. And Wal-Mart just screwed around with their sizes, shrinking all the XLs by one. So the 5X t shirt she sent me for the other day day was too small. Thanks for rubbing that one in, jerks.

Bananananana dakry: Short-Haired, Fat, and Deranged
Bananananana dakry: Short-Haired, Fat, and Deranged
3 years ago

Fweaking hell, I feel this. I’m long-torsoed and short-limbed and five-three/ five-four and on top of this I’m somewhere in Megachonk stage these days. I remember vividly being in middle school, thirtysome years and hundredsomething pounds ago, and my mom having to hem every damned pair of jeans she got for me because the legs on the ones that actually fit my butt and waist were too damned long. *scream* Even then I knew that whatever clothing manufacturers figured an average teenaged girl was in configuration, it wasn’t me.

Let’s not even get into the fact that my short arms mean that non-petite stuff that fits my uh, generous bosomage has the sleeves dangle off halfway to Alpha Centauri, and most petite sizes with correct sleeve lengths tourniquet my torso and make things like bending, moving, and breathing non-starters. Plus sized petites? May as well be candy-farting unicorns. It’s stuff like this that makes me glad my job’s dress code is of the jeans and polos variety.

I’ve also worked in a department store in suits and in intimates, and the vanity sizing drives me nuts. Never mind that what one lingerie manufacturer considers a 36C bra has nothing in common with another manufacturer’s idea of a 36C, the fact clothing manufacturers think our egos are so fragile they have to BS to us about what size we are in order for us to buy their shit grinds my gears. The assumption of society that women are supposed to somehow contort our bodies into fitting clothing instead of the other way around says quite a lot about how it values women, or rather doesn’t.

Standardized sizing as with men’s clothing, decent quality long-wearing stuff, and pockets; why the hell is that too much to ask?

BradMoonRising
BradMoonRising
3 years ago

Last week, there was a little dustup on Twitter..

My dyslexic ass read that twice as “Last week, there was a little dubstep on Twitter…”

YV
YV
3 years ago

Women’s athletic clothing really irritates me. Flimsy see-through fabrics, spaghetti straps, pale colors, and teeny tiny sizes. Perfect for slightly built women who do yoga and jog along the beach at sunrise. Not so practical for basketball, tennis, inline skating, tall torsos, and muscular frames. 

This! So much! A few years ago I went looking for some shorts to wear for running, and all I could find were yoga pants! I’m sure some women prefer them, but I’d personally rather not go out and jog in something that gives me about the same coverage as a pair of tights. Eventually I just gave up and bought a pair of men’s basketball shorts.

Victorious Parasol
Victorious Parasol
3 years ago

Joining in on the cry for decent POCKETS. We want pockets! And not those silly “decorative” pockets that are only good for hooking your thumbs in so you can strike a catalog model pose. Forget THAT.

I’m an hourglass with a magnificent rack. I’ve pretty much given up on wearing jeans, because if they fit in the waist, they don’t fit in the hips; if they fit in the hips, they don’t fit in the waist unless the waist has elastic somewhere or I cinch it with a belt. It’s easier to just buy elastic-waist pants (with pockets). Most of my long-sleeved shirts are actually three-quarter sleeves because that’s an easy way to manage the chest size I need vs the sleeve length.

Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
3 years ago

Sounds like all designers of women’s clothing studied under the tutelage of Procrustes. :/

Rei Malebario
Rei Malebario
3 years ago

I needed to buy some running tights a while back and I was confused as to how I could tell the difference between the men’s models and the ladies’ models. I was informed that the ladies’ models had sizes in numbers that were objective measurements (waistline in cm) where the men’s models had sizes that were just arbitrary size codes: S, M, L, XL. I found myself wondering how the hell I was supposed to know what size any given running tights-maker thought I’d be (given I use underwear in anything from S to XL depending on the brand).

And now somebody has decided to use an even less practical sizing system for ladies’ clothes?

Can we please start just using numerical measurements for all clothes? I’ll not even bang on about metric vs imperial, if we do. If can just all agree on a fucking measurement system, I’ll be happy for it to be cubitsm hogsheads or fortnights or whatever else, as long as I can get some measuring tape with the units printed on it.

Weird (and tired of trumplings) Eddie
Weird (and tired of trumplings) Eddie
3 years ago

and in off-topic news….

https://splinternews.com/these-idiots-cant-even-do-a-coup-right-1832139578

THEY ARE SO STUPID!!!!

Newt
Newt
3 years ago

Can you think of any quick ways I can make the point that it’s racist, even though it sounds deceptively positive? […]

I have consulted with the google already, to no avail.

Did your search come across the term “benevolent racism” (or more generally, benevolent prejudice)? If not, that’d be a good place to start.

Cat Mara
Cat Mara
3 years ago

Some years ago, I worked for an ecommerce company that handled international fulfillment for big retail companies in the United States. Their elevator pitch to these retailers was that when an international customer clicked the “Buy” button on the company’s checkout page, they’d be redirected to the ecommerce company’s site (which would be styled to make the transition as seamless as possible), who would then handle all the sales taxes and tariffs and other minutiae that makes people who know the slightest thing about global logistics turn pale when they start thinking about Brexit, and the retailers themselves wouldn’t have to think about this stuff– they just collect their money, less the ecommerce company’s cut, of course.

Anyway, as part of this whole process, one of the things the retailers had to do was upload their inventory catalogues to the ecommerce company’s servers so their products could be assigned the correct tariff code¹ for the relevant market(s) they were being sold in. One of the more ambitious developers thought it might be useful to capture stuff like clothes sizes for clothing retailers. Hoo boy. That was a rabbit hole. You can see where it starts here. There are any number of national and international standards that have been revised over the years and none of which are paid the slightest attention by the various manufacturers– or if they have been, it is likely to have been to a version of the standard that’s now years or decades out of date. If any of these standards have any resemblance to a living human body, I’m sure it’s coincidental. I left the company for health reasons so I’m not sure if they persisted in trying to capture this information– I was pretty much of the opinion that it was futile and assumed too much of the retailers.

¹ Every good that can be traded between countries or trading blocs is described by a 6-digit Harmonized System (HS) code. You can find a list of them online; it’s huge. You will look at the list and wonder why in the name of God and the baby Jesus anyone would want to trade half the things on the list but there’s a code for them if they ever do. Everyone takes this basic system and adds their own digits to it, to identify stuff like country of origin (e.g., so they can set tariffs for favoured trading partners independent of everyone else). The EU’s version of the HS system is called TARIC; you can access it online here. One of the things that brings people like me who have had even this minor exposure to the global supply chain out in a cold sweat over Brexit is that the UK is going to have to build its own version of TARIC from scratch once it leaves the EU and, as far as I can tell, hasn’t done so yet. With two months to go. ?

zesty
zesty
3 years ago

Funny, I don’t like pockets on clothes at all at all, except maybe on jackets. I don’t like to stuff things in my jeans. I’m also glad there are plenty of slim jeans available now made from elastic material that don’t lose their shape and start sagging down after you’ve worn them a few times.

ellesar
ellesar
3 years ago

Joining in on the cry for decent POCKETS. We want pockets! And not those silly “decorative” pockets that are only good for hooking your thumbs in so you can strike a catalog model pose. Forget THAT.

Women’s clothes will not have pockets because the handbag (American’s call them purses – yes?) industry loses their shit if there are actual functional pockets in women’s clothing.

Pie
Pie
3 years ago

I worked on a project a few years ago, that amongst other things tried to apply a veneer of consistency and sense to female clothing sizes. Just thinking back to it makes me angry; the whole business was just so stupid and awful. There’s bullshit like “vanity sizing” (because small numbers are desirable, but women tend a bit taller and boobier than they were 50 years ago) and asshole retailers who aren’t prepared to show how their clothes fit on average-sized models, because average-sized models are clearly too fat to be “on-brand”.

Turns out you need at least 4 size parameters (and ideally more like 6, but it becomes hard for customers to do the right kind of measurements…) to do a minimally good job of representing the size of american women. No-wonder a single size number is so useless for so many people, but no-one is going to manufacture and stock all those different variations because it would be too expensive. Maybe one day you’ll get on-demand robot tailoring or 3d printing, but until then everything will suck.

Also, regarding jeans… is it me, or do mens jeans get made out of more substantial fabric as well? Clearly women are too delicate to cope with nasty rough hard-wearing materials, and their delicate little lady legs can only survive flimsy garments that wear out quicker…

Brandy
Brandy
3 years ago

@Tosca

Buy a sewing machine, hit up YouTube, and learn how to sew. Smash this particular patrio-capitalist dystopia with direct action.

As an AMAB woman the problem is even more pronounced (and do not get me started on shoes). Is sewing really a skill that’s a few youtube videos away? I’m a smart gal, and have access to a good machine but I know literally nothing more than how to sew on a button. Is this truly a skill that can be self taught in this way?

I’ll be honest – the machine, with all of its settings and (apparent) complexity is quite intimidating.

Lakitha Tolbert
Lakitha Tolbert
3 years ago

BradMoonRising: Well, the thing is, Brad, you’re probably not at all wrong. There is most likely more than a little DUBSTEP on Twitter.

Lainy
Lainy
3 years ago

I’m 5″2 with an hourglass shape, a skinny waist but larger breast. clothes shopping is impossible for me because clothing companies don’t expect someone with my small of little waist to have as big as breast as I do. So everything I find is like putting my chest in a vice if I want it form fitting to my waist. If I get something lose it will feel like I’m wearing a sack. Pants are my mortal enemy. JCpenny stopped selling the shot bootcut jeans I always bought so I literally haven’t worn jeans in about 3 years because of it. I have found recent one pair that fit but then they to stopped selling my size.

my fiancé once got a real lesson in women’s clothing because he try to tell me he understood how hard finding clothes that fit were. He has a very board chest and shoulders but he’s not on the heavy side so finding shirts that look nice is a struggle for him but it is no way the same thing.

My best friend can’t even find jean shorts or jeans that work for her. She’s little but she has far thicker thighs then what jeans are made for, for her waist size. I tell her all the time they make the clothes for manikins and not actual women with bodies. You can be the super thin that the clothes say you should be and still have the hardest time finding clothes that fit properly.

YV
YV
3 years ago

@Brandy

Yes! It really is that easy! Figuring out a sewing machine can be intimidating, but honestly, as long as you can get a running stitch out of it, you’re good to go for most projects.

In sewing as in all crafts, there’s a sliding scale of difficulty. This depends on what you want to make, how “professional” you want your end result to look (by, for instance, adding a lining) and whether or not you want to buy patterns or draft them yourselves (I say, just buy them. They come with instructions.). But there’s such a wealth of information out there, nowadays, as well as tons of people on forums willing to help (or if you know any older women, they have a lot of knowledge, and are generally very excited to see someone from a younger generation picking up the craft). Becoming a self-taught seamstress has never been this easy. Just start with a nice, easy pattern, and work yourself up. You can learn as you go, you don’t have to know everything immediately. Circle skirts are a great beginner’s pattern. As the name suggests, they’re basically just a fabric circle with a hole cut out, making them the least intimidating project ever.

Of course, the more complicated garments will take some time and practice to get right, but don’t let that discourage you! Just think of it this way, just a generation ago, literally every woman knew how to sew from a pattern. If all of them could learn, why not you?

I’m sorry if I come across as a bit pushy, I just always get a little bit sad when people feel like a skill is so far out of their reach, they won’t even attempt it. A lot of people in my generation just don’t seem to have the confidence to even believe they could learn skills that only a few decades ago were commonplace. But they can! We all can.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Off topic, but if anyone wants to mock an incel, I’ve got a live one here and he’s a doozy. He’s got quite the plan to fight male celibacy.

https://twitter.com/weirwoodtreehug/status/1090229113636438016?s=19

Talonknife
Talonknife
3 years ago

I work in a secondhand clothing store (think similar to Goodwill) and I hate trying to deal with women’s clothes. T-shirts are usually alright since they come in the traditional S/M/L/XL, but trying to figure out what a number size equates to so I can shelve it in the right spot is a nightmare.

iknklast
iknklast
3 years ago

Joining in on the cry for decent POCKETS

I actually found a brand of women’s pants that have pockets, but I also found that very few places tell me whether the designs they are offering of that brand have pockets or not. I can get my pants only at J.C. Penney online, because they are the only place that tells me whether they have pockets.

Couple that with the fact that the last non-WalMart department store in our town just closed, and I struggle to find decent clothes, since I will not shop at WalMart. Of course, the last remaining department store (the one that just closed) did not sell any sizes large enough to fit most of the women in this town that are older than junior high age, I had moved my clothing shopping to online a long time ago…and garage sales.

The prejudice against any woman larger than a size 2 is worse than depressing. It borders on fatal. All women should be allowed to be whatever size works best for them. My husband, a large man (6’3″ and a little over his supposedly “ideal” weight) does not have the same problems. He can buy clothes to fit him in any department store he enters.

Victorious Parasol
Victorious Parasol
3 years ago

@ellesar

I’ve heard handbags referred to as purses as well as pocketbooks, and that’s without getting into the more precise terminology like “clutch.” The differences can be regional as well as generational.

Fishy Goat
Fishy Goat
3 years ago

@WWTH OMG, what a maroon. *shakes head*

AsAboveSoBelow
AsAboveSoBelow
3 years ago

@Tosca:

Buy a sewing machine, hit up YouTube, and learn how to sew. Smash this particular patrio-capitalist dystopia with direct action.

THIS! So much this. I love making my own clothes. Go slowly, have patience with yourself, and measure carefully. It can be done!

@YV: With circle skirts, the hem is my least favorite part.

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