size-ism (n)

Yesterday, as I was shopping for a some new jeans, I came across a quite appalling situation. I was at Forever 21, in Downtown Toronto – a city more physically diverse than many others – and couldn’t find a single pair of pants that fit me.

Let me give you a little bit of background. I’m almost 5’9 and a regular weightlifter. In addition, I weigh a good 64-66 kg (although those numbers don’t mean much in the grand scheme of things). What’s important is, I’m only slightly taller and of regular build, in comparison to other women in this city.

Here’s the issue. At Forever 21, a worldwide brand, the largest ‘regular’ size I could find, was around 28. The largest pant-size I could find, in the plus-size section, was size 29. Who does that make sense to? While my hips are 29 inches, my thicker thighs require a size 30-31 – which I was unable to find anywhere.

Why does this need to be brought to people’s attention?

I acknowledge that some of you will react by saying: just go to another store and find yourself some pants. Granted. I did exactly that. But what’s more important is that: Forever 21 is a brand that, like many others, is core to majority of the youth’s pop culture. Their ads, clothing and seasonal styles, are highly influential. Today, I’m older (and wiser) and so I’m barely bothered by their lack of sizes. Instead, I attribute the blame to the brand’s inability or lack of desire to cater to the masses. However, this issue is bound to leave impressions on the youth, and ultimately contribute to their lack of body confidence in the long run. When you’re young, and struggling with your body image on a daily basis, factors like this only solidify the idea in your head that you have to look a certain way. & that’s exactly the kind of societal influence that has to be eradicated.

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