ST PETERSBURG, FL – AUGUST 13: Melissa McCarthy debuts first fashion collection, “Melissa McCarthy Seven” live at HSN Studios from 1pm to 3pm and 9pm to 11pm pm on August 13, 2015 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images for HSN)
News of actress Melissa McCarthy’s new clothing line
is all over my Facebook news feed right now. Her line Melissa McCarthy Seven7 will range in sizes from four to 28. She says that her reason for creating the line is that she’s tired of women’s retailers ignoring the fact that the majority of women wear a size 14 or larger. She doesn’t like the term “plus size” and doesn’t like the segregation that occurs in stores where the sizes are sectioned off if they’re larger.
I will say out loud right now that I currently wear a size 16 so I can speak as someone who wears a size in the category that she’s speaking about. I have worn larger sizes in my life as well. At my heaviest I was probably wearing a size 20. At my smallest, a size 10. Yes, it sucks to not be able to find cute clothes in larger sizes. I have long believed that companies who make clothing in these sizes just need to make larger versions of current fashion trends. Being bigger doesn’t mean we want to wear crazy prints, we just want to wear things that all women want to wear. I’m all for a woman being able to walk into a store and find cute clothes no matter what size she is. I agree with McCarthy in that women shouldn’t be made to feel that they’re not worthy just because they are heavy.
This whole “plus size” thing came up in some complaints about Old Navy recently. I don’t really get the outrage over the term, or even about the clothes being in a different part of the store. I don’t enjoy shopping, and I usually don’t have a lot of time to shop. I am plus sized, and I don’t let that label define me. But, I do like to be able to identify whether or not a store carries clothing in my size, and I like to be able to locate it in the store quickly. So, I really don’t care what a clothing line wants to call me, or where they put me in the store. Just make comfortable, cute clothes, and let me know where I can find them.
In reading comments on the stories about this clothing line, there are two issues I see popping up. One is that she only goes down to a size four. There are a lot of very small women out there who have just as much trouble finding clothes to fit them as larger women. Why not go down even smaller if your goal is to incorporate all women? I’m sure there are reasons not to, but it does seem a bit odd. The other issue is the price tag. From all reports these clothes are pricey. Your clothes can fit all women, but if they’re in a price rage that a majority can afford, it’s not really going to matter. Maybe more people can afford it than I think.
Here’s where I might lose you in this conversation. I am 100% in favor of women of all sizes being able to find clothes that fit them well, and make them feel beautiful. That is something we should all have. But I just can’t shake her statement in this story that 70% of women in the US wear a size 14 or larger. If that is accurate, and I suspect that it is, then we are in trouble. I want to feel good at a size 20 or a size 10, and I shouldn’t be shamed at either end, or anywhere in between. My worth is not defined by my weight, but there is a fine line between acceptance and denial. I can accept and love myself at my current size, while understanding that this size could kill me. So while I’m all about self love, I fear that we are also beginning to ignore the fact that we are killing ourselves with food while telling everyone that they need to change things to accommodate our dangerous habits.
So what do you think? Is the body acceptance movement doing more harm than good? Is it causing us to go into a state of denial about our health?