Thursday, December 11, 2014

There is no Plus Size Department for Men

[Content note: Body shaming, fatphobia, misogyny]

I read something a few weeks ago that has stuck in my brain. I can't remember if it was a tweet or a tumblr post, but it was something along the lines of, "Did you ever notice there is no men's plus size department? Bigger men can just shop where smaller men shop." (I hate that I can't properly attribute this, but despite some Google searching; I can't find the source, bear with me.)

Of course, there actually are upper size limits to the men's department and not everyone can comfortably fit in the men's clothes that are typically available. But that aside, the stark contrast between this approach to men's and women's clothing, in general, is very telling.*

Basically, I can't see it as anything but the intersection between fatphobia and misogyny.

Since this concept stuck in my brain so thoroughly, I though I'd spot check it and see how true this is. I went to Target's website and found that you can buy men's jeans from a 28" to a 50" waist on the same page, no problem, whereas women's jeans are definitely divided out into standard and plus size, (for the over size 18 crowd.) Don't even get me started on the totally arbitrary and widely varying topic of women's clothes sizes. But for the sake of a comparison, a 50" waist would equate to approximately a women's size 30, which is not even an available pants size on Target's my knowledge.

I don't have much else to say, except this is bullshit. There's really no reason that plus size departments need to exist (and for them to drop off at a max of a size 24, for that matter) ya know? Men's clothing dictates as much. The division in women's sizing, at the end of the day, just feels othering to me.

I'll end on a tweet I saw lately which amused me and I was actually quick enough to capture a citation for:
*ETA: I had someone ask why I didn't account for "Big & Tall" stores for men, as if this refutes my thesis. I am specifically NOT talking about specialty size shops; I'm talking about general clothing retailers who have divided sections for women's sizes but who have a very large size range for men all together. I thought that was pretty clear (since I don't mention anything like Lane Bryant, etc.) but apparently I need to state that explicitly.

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