Tuesday, February 14, 2012

From 6 to 16

I've been writing this post for months now - never quite sure when it would be finished, but knowing that I had to write it.

Recently I read a tweet by Lucretia Pruitt that shared Margaret Cho's eloquent rant to Karl Lagerfeld. I agree with Lucretia that Margaret's message should be to the whole industry.

To get you up to speed -  Karl is in hot water because of his ugly comment regarding the phenomenal Grammy Winning singer Adele being "a little bit fat."

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Adele backstage at the 54th annual Grammy Awards

I can't tell you how amazing it was to read Margaret Cho's article . . . she was saying everything I have felt about an industry that convinces women they are not beautiful unless they are a size 0. And Adele's response to his cutting remarks was spot on.

Why is it that some people insist on making a woman's dress size relevant to her accomplishments? 

Some of you may be wondering why I am so passionate about this . . . well, this should help you understand a bit more. . .

Most of my life I have been tall and lanky. At 5'10" I have spent most of my life at about 130-135lbs. And full disclosure - I have more bins of clothes in my attic that are a size 6 than any other size. Call me crazy - but I'm with Margaret - I just cant get rid of them. I am still thinking that one day I'll fit into my favorite Calvin Klein suit or slip on that silk Ralph Lauren gown again.

Some people have suggested that I just go out and buy new "favorite" pieces - and to that I say - you obviously have not tried to find anything for a younger woman in a size 16.

Me at Size 6
You see, it wasn't until I quit smoking nearly 3 years ago that I started to gain weight. Add to that getting married, starting a new business, a few family health scares and deaths and, well . . . let's just say I did not make much time for me.

Thankfully I have a husband who tells me everyday how beautiful I am.

But to be realistic about the obstacles I have to overcome to believe him - as a woman I am conditioned at a young age that I am never good enough as I am.

My hair needs more bounce, my freckles need to be covered up, my skin tone needs evened out, my teeth aren't straight enough . . . I could keep going.

The fashion industry and magazines constantly tell me that I should be thin and young looking for as long as I can pay a doctor to cut, snip, inject and enlarge or starve myself into a designer suit.

For the love of all things sane . . . teenagers and young women that barely eat - are trotted down runways and used by design houses to convince 30+ year old women they need to buy their products.

The next time you go to a grocery store, take a minute to look at the rag mags on the end caps and tell me if you met ANY of those people in person that they would look the way they are 'packaged' to sell a fake ideal. (Some of you may remember the Ralph Lauren model, Filippa Hamilton used in this horribly photoshopped ad that got fired for being too fat at 120lbs. You heard me. 120lbs.)

Me at a size 16
Hell, gain a little weight and the first thing people say is "When are you due" (yes that happened to me.) And no a half hearted apology won't cut it.

So, like Adele, I have no time for people who are so consumed by mean vanity that they use weight gain to try and embarrass people publicly. Petty remarks tell more about the person who says them than the person they are trying to hurt. 

Will I ever be a size 6 again? Maybe, Maybe not . . . but I can guarantee you that my happiness is not dependent on my dress size and neither is my success.

As I am discovering and growing into my authentic self, I see that the people I surround myself with love me just the way I am - whether I am a 6 or a 16.


Thank you Margaret for taking the time to share your frustration and outrage with a clenched jaw and justified disgust.

Thank you Adele for being a role model for all women who fight every day to maintain a positive self image and for standing up to the people who try to politely destroy it. Your beauty and strength is just what this world needs.

Thank you Lucretia for sharing the post and pointing out that we do indeed have an industry of "not good enough" that should be ignored.