Inclusivity in the Plus Size Community

The call for inclusivity has been an ongoing process for some time now on social media. It has grown to the point that now we have influencers that have really taken it on as their personal quest by devoting their time and space to get these brands of plus size clothing to really hear what we want as a fat community. Their focus and passion for seeing a change is inspiring! Even though our leaders are strong, do we as a community know what we want? What is it that keeps us from standing as one community?

I totally support influencers that have a passion to push their platforms to the forefront and display a clear vision of what they want. It takes a lot of devotion to take on a debated topic that in the past kept fizzling out or never really became more than a wish. 

What is inclusivity? Inclusivity in plus size fashion means the clothing that a brand is producing does not stop at size 24. Outside of that small definition there is more meaning, or at least there should be! Inclusivity, according to the Oxford dictionary, means “the practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those having physical or mental disabilities or belonging to other minority groups”. 

Look closely at that word marginalized and what it means. “Marginalized means (a person, group, or concept) treated as insignificant or peripheral!” Today that can mean: “humans of color, status, size, age, disabilities, and gender/ sex.” Recently one of our fearless leaders on the call for inclusivity amongst the plus size brands made a list of companies that may or may not say they are inclusive, but they do all however claim to be for the plus size community! By these plus size companies not being true to who they say they are, they may be seen as marginalizing a whole group of community members. Again, it is all up to interpretation. 

I suppose this is where we try to define plus size, which is something that can vary depending on who you ask. The definition of plus size is: “denoting or relating to clothes of a size larger than those found in standard ranges.” What plus size means to me:

  • Plus size xl -3x 
  • Plus size-extended sizes 4x-6x 
  • Plus size inclusive – xl-10x and/or special made for your inches

How I decipher in my mind between plus size brands may not be on track with how you decipher them. This made me start wondering about thin people and how they decipher their stores? Upon asking others, this is the answer I received about “straight sizes”:

  • x-Small to Large
  • XX-Small to X-Large
  • Small to XXL

Well look there, even thin people have store categories around size. Ok so let’s think about this: If thin sizes also have certain stores that size differently and they consider that normal, maybe the plus size community should accept it as well? 

Do we have more in common with the thin folks than we thought? Questioning our fight I also considered is this a thin vs fat issue?  Is it a fat vs fat issue? What is the real fight?  Is it wanting the plus size brands to understand or attempt to understand what the word inclusive means? 

For me the fight isn’t with making all stores carry small to 10x, it’s about making stores learn the right language to use and not promising us something they can’t carry through on. One example is calling it a size 6 and it’s fitting a size 40 in the hip area! What thin and fat humans alike need is across the board sizing- if “Store A” opens and they have sizes small to 3x then they should fit the same measurements as “Store B” for those sizes! For thin and fat alike that is the only true way for stores to be policed.

What we as a fat community are asking for is the wrong things around the term “inclusive” to be righted. It’s going to be extremely hard to get all plus size brands to extend their sizes right away. I think as a start, a better call for inclusivity is to get the treatment of all minorities (disabilities, sex, religion, ages, status) to a better standard. 

As a community, let’s stop with name calling and sabotage. For companies – stop using the word inclusive if you’re not willing to go up to size 10X and or provide customs fit. 

As a creator/influencer, it’s so miserable to get a load of clothes that someone assured would fit as they proudly say they are “inclusive”, and then I go to put the clothes on and nothing fits. Then comes that embarrassing call/email where you have to tell an “inclusive” brand you’re too big for their clothes. 

We all have our own viewpoints on what we feel is right or just, and how we want companies to treat us and provide their services. Now that you’ve read the definitions and heard my story, what do YOU think is the right call to action around inclusivity? What does it look like for you?

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