The “plus size” label in the fashion industry humiliates women to meet unhealthy standards


This first-person article is the experience of Montreal doctor Laura Sang.For more information about CBC’s first-person story, see common problemContent warning: This article discusses eating disorders and Suicidal ideation.

After more than a year of pandemic, I finally had enough courage to take the risk of buying new clothes. I know that most of us have experienced “COVID 15” to some extent, and I am no exception.

Quebec has imposed a curfew for several months, and no amount of regular exercise can offset the stress, long hours of work and occasional lack of access to healthy food. I cannot deny that I have gained a few pounds and most of my pants have become uncomfortable. It’s time to upgrade yourself.

I went to the local thrift store and found that the size of my pants had changed. again. When I read the hangers full of last year’s “out-of-season” pants, the same waist/hip circumference on the designer pants was marked as extra large instead of large. When I tried on one piece of clothing after another, it didn’t fit until I started trying on the pants in the “plus size” section.

For the first time in my life, even though my height is only 10 pounds above the upper limit of a healthy body mass index, I am now forced to shop in a separate area. I am now labeled as a “plus size” woman and can no longer shop in many trendy mainstream stores because their products do not fit my size.

I was shocked, angry, and immediately realized that I was uncomfortable.

Recalling my pediatric-centered rotation in the past few years, I have talked with dozens of adolescent girls and boys suffering from eating disorders. They cried in front of me, saying that they are too fat, their thighs are too big, and that they “do not lose weight well enough.”

Although their ribs are prominent, their blood pressure is unstable and menstrual/adolescent development stops, many of these teenagers develop suicidal ideation because they cannot meet their “weight-loss standards”.

The rate of adolescent eating disorders is already high, and it has soared significantly throughout the pandemic. Sadly, unless hospitalization is required, the waiting time for help is staggeringly long. Although not everyone is like this, many teenagers can tell me the causes of their eating disorders: from being unable to put on clothes, to comments from physical education teachers, such as “you are too big for pull-ups.”

Stop using zero as the standard

As a doctor, I cannot deny that being overweight or obese is a risk factor for a series of diseases. Regular physical exercise, healthy eating, and good habits are important for feeling good and living a happy and healthy life. However, we need to stop misunderstanding what a healthy body looks like, and stop humiliating people for not meeting this unachievable, unhealthy, zero-size standard.

This is especially true for women. Ten years ago, I remember asking the staff about my specific dress size, but was told, “I’m sorry, we don’t provide your size clothes.” A friend of mine has trouble finding clothes that fit because the size is not less than XS. By providing these cute clothes only to people of a certain body shape, the company cleverly tells us that anyone outside that range is not so valuable and not worthy of being beautiful.

Don’t let zero size become the standard of health and beauty, because it is not. All women are beautiful, whether they wear XXS or 15X and above. All women can engage in physical activity (within their limits, be aware of any injuries). All women, and people for that matter, should feel comfortable and beautiful in the clothes they wear.This means providing the same clothes to women from different countries All sizes And will not humiliate anyone because of the number on the label of their clothes.

In the end, I found a few comfortable and well-fitting clothes in the “large size” section. As soon as I got home, I cut off the label and threw it in the trash can. During the global pandemic, my body was affected by being a medical worker. My body is different. I don’t need my pants to make me feel sad.

The views expressed here are only my views based on anecdotal experience. If you have suicidal thoughts or eating disorders, please contact your local crisis hotline or health care department.


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