“Plus” what, exactly?

ImageThe woman to the far right is Jennie Runk, pictured here in a Glamour spread circa 2009. The intarwebs have been a-buzz because she’s H&M’s new “plus size” swimwear model.

Let’s take another look. Here she is in H&M’s new swimwear shots:

ImageYes, apparently this size 12 woman is “plus-sized.” Excuse me? She looks HEALTHY. AND NORMAL. And pardon me, but I believe one finds size 12 in the “misses” (that is, the NOT plus-sized) section. Since when is this plus-sized? Certainly it’s not the size 0 we normally see, but should we really be calling this “plus”? Plus what? A normal amount of body fat and muscle?

As two women who are not size zeroes, we object. We object first because calling this woman anything other than normal is a gross misstatement. To imply that this woman is somehow heavier than she should be is nonsense. She looks beautiful as-is. I don’t just say this because when I look at most retailers’ models, I want to feed them giant Katz deli sandwiches by the fistful, but because this is the same kind of nonsensical distortion we get with the size zero model. Girls who are Ms. Runk’s size and one higher (14) are shopping in the section that advertises with size zeroes. Women who are size 16 and over are shopping for the clothes Ms. Runk is modeling. Isn’t it time we have just a bit of truth in advertising? If you’re going to sell “plus size” clothing, you need to use a plus size model. A model, that is, who wears size 16 or higher.

Additionally, there needs to be some parity across sizing. I give you the following anecdote: In December, I went looking for a New Year’s Eve dress. I headed to the predictable spots: Forever 21, H&M, etc. H&M was my first stop. My dress size, 95% of the time, is a 6 or 8. I do have a bit of trouble finding dresses that fit because I’ve got a lot of booty and not a lot of booby. But, I digress. I went looking for a black sequin number I saw on the website, and found they only had a size 4 left. I thought to myself, I might as well try this on. It’s realistically only one–maybe two–sizes below me. Maybe it will fit.

And what do you think happened?

Not only did this “dress” not fit over my ass, it hardly fit over my boobs! My tiny boobs! Most women who are my size or a bit smaller have bigger boobs than me! And, on top of that, the notion that this thing was a dress was a joke. Even if I had gotten it to begin fitting over my hips, it wouldn’t have made it much farther because there just wasn’t any more fabric! The damn thing was shirt for a 10 year old being passed off as a dress.

My call, therefore, is for parity in sizing as well as in advertising. I should be looking at models smack dab in the middle of the spectrum of “misses” (that’s a size six, by the way) and smack dab in the middle of “women’s.” And I should be able to reasonably enter a store and try on one or two sizes of clothing and find items that are at least close to fitting. I shouldn’t have to shop at store A as an 8 and then go over to store B and have to buy a 13/14. If we could actually get some real sense of what size we were and stick to it, and saw real humans modeling the clothes we’re buying, we’d significantly reduce the amount of body-hating that goes on.

File This Under “Things That Make Me Hate the World/Want to Cry”

This is terrifying because this person bought a 50,000 euro (that’s $61,780 USD) bottle of champagne, but I also have to laugh because they paid 10 euro for Coca Cola. Middle-American upbringing FTW.

This exists. Okay, not so much that this exists, but that there’s enough material for something like this to exist; and not just exist but flourish. “Rich Kids of Instagram” is a Tumblr site on which the author posts pictures of young people of outrageous familial wealth showcasing their moral bankruptcy and total disregard for reality on their Instagram accounts. Oh, and like any good Millennial, their expertise at bragging. Go figure. This makes me kind of terrified, or as the kids would say,

#omgfearthefuture

Just… yuck.

10 Ways to Test Your Relationship

Relationships are hard, weird, and hopefully great.  Every relationship will be tested naturally, but if you’re looking for ways to see just how strong, or good, or whatever your relationship is, here are some ideas.

  1. Ask about porn.  When you do this, make sure to ask about the frequency, type, subject, and any other details you can imagine.  The more you push for details, the more of a test it really will be.  Once you’ve completed asking about this wonderful subject, make  certain you share your interests and preferences just as openly.
  2. Road Trip!  Being trapped in a car for hours and hours and hours is a sure-fire way to see if you secretly hate each other.  Plus, if your partner doesn’t shoot you when you scream and startle them upon seeing a spider…  You’re golden.
  3. Fart in front of your partner while maintaining eye contact.  I haven’t tried this, but it seems like it would work.
  4. Have a really awful day.  Then, hang out.  While it’s hot.  And you’re tired.  Experiment away!
  5. Go hiking.  You will quickly learn if you or your partner are whiny, lazy, weepy, weak, annoying, or cool.
  6. Debate who is weirder.  This will get ugly fast.  You will see what your partner finds odd and possibly annoying about you.  If you can withstand this, you’ll be alright.
  7. Have weird sex.  I don’t care if it’s role play, bondage, blindfolded, exhibitionist, group, or just different – try something a little out of your comfort zone together.  When you do this, you will either build trust and see that you already have a great deal.  OR it will be an awkward mess and perhaps a sign that you should avoid each other forever.  OR maybe it’s bad, but you can both laugh.  It’s a test.  You be the judge.
  8. Meet the parents.  What could be more telling than that?  Do you hate your partner’s parents?  Do they hate yours?  Are they creepy together?  Do you feel judged?  It will be awkward, but you can do it… and if you can’t, maybe you’ve failed.
  9. Meet the friends.  You will be judged so damn hard.  Get ready.  Get set.  Get to impressing.  Friends will tell it like it is.  You have to impress each other’s friends, or you will ruin each other’s lives.
  10. Throw up on your partner’s bedroom floor.  Trust me, this will test you both. Big time.  If your partner simply begins to take care of you, cleans your barf, and then refuses to sleep to maintain surveillance of you and your illness for the night, then they are awesome, and they deserve major rewards.  If they get mad at you and tell you to clean it up, they might be a real dick.  The lover that holds your hair deserve high praise and hella love.

Your Bra Size Is NOT My Concern

Sometimes, I am a loud-mouth.  Still, I have self-control, and an awareness of myself whilst in public places.  A young lady I encountered today was lacking in the whole control area, but she was clearly an expert in loud-mouthery.  Man, oh, man…  She could talk.  LOUD.  She struck me as the kind of person who updates her facebook status at least twice a day; likely about half of those statuses are vague and emotional so that people will ask what’s wrong.  Basically, I’m saying she was really darn annoying.

We were all trapped trying on clothes in the Salvation Army, when some loud-mouthed teen decided to declare her cup-size to us all.  I was not amused.  Here are a few things she exclaimed:

  • “I’M ONLY 5’1″ AND MY BOOBS ARE D-CUPS!  D-CUPS, I TELL YOU [and everyone else].”
  • “OH MY GOD, STACY.  YOU HAVE TO COME SEE HOW HILARIOUS I LOOK.  MY TITS ARE SPILLING OUT ALL OVER THE PLACE.  IT’S RIDICULOUS.”
  • “DEFINITELY WHEN I’M DONE LOSING WEIGHT, I’LL BE ABLE TO FIT IN THIS… OF COURSE, THAT’S ONLY IF MY D-CUPS SHRINK! HAHA!  THEY’RE SO BIG!”
  • “UGH! I HATE MY D-CUPS!”
  • “MY BOOBS ARE SO HUGE.  IT’S SO AWFUL HAVING BOOBS THIS BIG.”
  • “BIG BOOBS ARE THE WORST.”
  • “NO ONE MAKES CLOTHES FOR BOOBS THIS BIG!”

I have a lot of issues with this.  First of all, don’t scream about your boobies in the middle of a store.  It’s one thing to say to your companion, “This won’t fit over my boobs,” or, “Haha! Look at this.”  It’s very different to share your cup-size like a news announcement.   I promise, no one cares as much as you do.  You can share the moment with your friend, but you don’t need to share it with everyone else.  There are kids around, and old folks, and folks who just have normal levels of privacy…  They don’t care.

Also, they do make clothes for big boobs.  As a lady with boobs EVEN BIGGER than yours, I can assure you that I wear clothing that I do not make.  Therefore, some clothing has to fit over boobs of that stature.  Yes, it is harder to find button-ups, bathing suits, dresses, and tanktops, but you learn to deal.  Big boobs happen.  Big shirts happen too.  You just have to accept that you can’t fit into anything and everything… You know, like everyone else.

Another thing, most people don’t want to hear complaints about big boobs.  Big boobs get a lot of press and a lot of love.  Maybe don’t whine in front of all the A-Cups and B-Cups of the world.  They’re hatred of you and your D-Cups could penetrate your skull and crush you at any moment.  Stop complaining.  You’ll be fine.

Maybe I’m just a cranky old lady, but I just don’t want to hear about a stranger’s boobs from across the store.

Do you think Christina Hendricks screams, “HOW WILL I FIT MY CRAZY-HUGE TITTAYS IN THIS OUTFIT?!” every time she tries to buy a tanktop?  No.  She does not.  Christina Aguilera doesn’t either.  Some ladies have big boobies.  Every single person who sees a lady with big boobies will, with a doubt, notice that she has them.  Big boobs are kind of hard to miss.  Therefore, they don’t need to be announced in the Salvation Army dressing rooms.


Thighs of Glory (Read: Beyonce’s Thighs)

(Amendment at end.)

Today, I learned that I have thighs of glory.  This does not mean my thighs are skinny, because they are not and they never will be.  Skinny thighs give me the creeps.  A “gentleman” walking about downtown Ann Arbor exclaimed upon seeing my pasty, glorious thighs, that they were, in fact, “Sweet and juicy.”  My first reaction, as always, was to get incredibly angry.  I generally get hypermasculine, start swearing, and calling people dudes when I am approached in this manner.  As you might imagine, I do not like being approached by random men who want to comment on my specific body parts and their potential “uses.”  Instead, I simply laughed at these strange and utterly creepy proclamations of my thigh’s awesomeness.

I thought to myself, “Here I am, a slightly-less-fat-than-average person with well-developed leg muscles (mostly the calves), pasty skin, a partial sunburn on my forehead, jiggly thighs, and fairly low self-esteem.  Yet, this possibly drunk man has enjoyed the show (by show, I mean that I walked by in longer-than-apparently-average shorts).  Maybe, I will just laugh at this and be thankful that someone out there still understands that thighs are meant to be thick, strong, and fleshy.  Thighs should look like thighs.”

I would much rather have Beyonce’s thighs of glory (however pastier, less toned, and altogether less glorious), than skinny thighs (ahem, LeAnn Rhimes, Victoria Beckham, Kiera Knightly, almost every model, and Miley Cyrus).  I would rather look like Serena Williams than a 12-year-old.  Skinny thighs are for children.  Thick thighs are for women.

Beyonce looks amazing. Her thighs are made of glory, sunshine, dance skills, and squats.

Seriously, how great does Beyonce look?  This lady helped bring back the popularity of thicker thighs, and I am thankful.  The ladies who write this blog are fans of curves.  Curves are normal.  Beyonce is clearly above average in all ways, but I think we need to remember the glory of “sweet and juicy thighs.”

This picture is so intimidating and amazing. Serena Williams could jump over a skyscraper with those legs. She could crush anything. They are glorious.

Serena Williams could destroy us all with her thighs.  I feel pretty good about that.  She is strong and sexy; her presence in pop culture is good for women with curves.

I know that this post may seem a bit strange.  *After all, I did get inspiration from a drunken cat call.*  However, it is somewhat comforting that people are appreciating pale, fleshy thighs.  That’s all.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Amendment:

After reading some comments, I realize that this post needs clarification.  Thin thighs are not “unacceptable,” “horrible,” nor are they somehow inherently “bad.”  It is not bad to be a thin person.  No one is a villain simply having thin thighs.

What is bad and scary, then?

It is bad and scary to push a body to extremes.  It is bad to glorify thinness above all else.  It is bad to glorify unhealthy habits that push people into unhealthy weights.  Just as a person can be too fat, a person can be too thin.  Both are bad.  The thing, not a lot of people are striving to be fat.  A lot of people are spending their days and nights obsessing over being thin at any price.  A lot of people have blogs and tumblrs devoted to “thinspo” with all kinds of ways to get skinny.  There are too many little girls and women out there who hurt themselves to achieve a level of thin that is not healthy for them.

That said, making thin women the villain is wrong.

Thin women just so happen to be thin.  Many people want to be thin, and that’s okay.  But wanting to be thin, or wanting to have Beyonce’s thighs, at any cost… that’s scary.

Also, Beyonce is amazing.

When did the grocery store become so weird?

I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point the grocery store became a magnet for weirdos and really strange behavior. In high school, I worked in a small grocery store, so I knew that weirdos, like everyone else, go to the grocery store. But I also thought that it was only because I was working eight hour shifts four days a week that I happened to see a few of them every week. And granted, we had our resident weirdos. But as a customer, I used to go to the grocery store pretty much without incident. The past few weeks have changed that.

Why is a small child pop-, lock-, and dropping-it on my cart?

I turned away only for one, brief moment. ONE MOMENT, and there’s a small child booty dancing in the one-foot space between my cart and the shelf of cookies. WHAT ARE YOU DOING? You’re six years old, and you’re acting like this is the club. It’s the cookie aisle for crying out loud! That’s not a shelf of liquor at a bar, it’s a stack of Keeblers. AND YOU’RE SIX. What is going on?!?

Since when is ass crack an acceptable fashion statement?

That’s called plumber’s crack for a reason. Not appealing. Especially when you’re a woman in her late twenties behind me in the check-out line. The worst part was that this lady was wearing a belt with her jeans, which means that she has purposely slung them so low that her butt is peeking out of the back, not just that her pants slid down while she was walking around–still not acceptable, but, you know, perhaps slightly more understandable?

I don’t need to hear your life stories while you scan my food.

When I was a cashier, I smiled, I asked people how their day was going, and I’d sometimes comment on the weather. There are acceptable topics of conversation between customer and cashier. Talking about your lunatic brother-in-law or your aunt who just got brain surgery don’t fall into that “acceptable” category. It’s especially unacceptable when you expect the customer to share some highly personal information with you as a result of your own over-sharing, and then to get irritated when they act uncomfortable or simply refuse to share similar information. Come off it, ya weirdo.

You’re a friggin’ grocery store; how can you not have heavy whipping cream?

You call yourselves a grocery store? You, sirs and madams, have utterly failed.

Why does everyone in the parking lot act like a jackass?

When I have my blinker on, that means I’m taking the space. It doesn’t mean you’re entitled to it after you see I have my blinker on because you’re in the “lane” closer to it. On another note, if I make a move you don’t like, give me the finger, roll down your window and yell an obscenity at me, but don’t purposefully park behind my car and wait for me to get out so you can fight me, and, when I don’t get out fast enough, slowly circle the parking lot as you lie in wait for me. You creep! That’s stalking!

 

I mourn the loss of days when I could go to the grocery store without being accosted by weirdness and weirdos.

Keep Your Tongue In Your Own Mouth.

You realize you’re in a grocery store, right? I get that the melons get your motor runnin’, but good lord, there are children here! I don’t understand why making your way through one aisle of cereal necessitates a match of tonsil hockey. There are totally acceptable times to smooch. One of them is not on  Sunday morning in every aisle of the grocery store when I unfortunately happen to be following your trajectory through the store. Especially when you’re still vaguely hungover and smell a bit like Ke$ha probably smells most days–a combination of Jack and vomit. I get that you’re, oh, I don’t know, newly in-love or something, but just cool it and quit groping each other. Does she really need a butt pinch near the Campbell’s Soup? Does he need an exaggerated arm squeeze by the ketchup? A butt pat by the baked beans? Next thing I know you’re gonna be motor boating her while stocking up on macaroni and cheese! Can’t you just put your arms around each other like a normal couple and be cute instead of acting like you’re filming some kind of fresh produce porno?

Stop Comparing Me to Fruit

I’m sure by now, most women have heard of different classifications for body shapes. There’s the “hourglass” (think Marilyn Monroe and every pin up girl ever) and the “rectangle” (as in you don’t have a natural waist) and sometimes even varieties of triangle (standard and inverse, apparently). But all of this is weird. No one actually looks like a triangle or a rectangle. Hourglass, sure, I can see that. Then there’s the stupid food comparisons: apple, pear, and (this one was new to me) banana. I’m sorry but I definitely don’t look like a piece of fruit. This comparison is just weird and nonsensical.

In this case, the fruit doesn't even fit. And that does NOT look like a banana, damnit.

I’m sorry, but none of these shapes make any sense to my brain. I just don’t get it. Supposedly, because I’m small-chested and big-bootied (is that even a term?) I’m a “pear” shape. But I’m also supposed to have tiny, wimpy shoulders (which I don’t) and thick ankles (also don’t). I get the impetus for classifying body shapes–supposedly helping women dress to flatter their most “alluring” features–but it really needs to be rethought. On top of only being able to represent these so-called universal shapes that are supposed to fit all women on the planet in odd drawings without faces or  with creepy identical faces, when someone does try to represent these shapes in the real world, you wind up with ridiculously inaccurate representations. See, for example, figure three. All of these women, despite the fact that they’ve been classified as “different” shapes, all look the same to me. They all have chests of roughly the same size, they’re all fairly lean (though red bathing suit and black bathing suit have weirdly thin thighs that don’t touch), and they all have pretty defined waists. I’m also increasingly convinced that “inv” triangle and triangle are the same woman with a bit of photoshopping on the booty/thighs area. Alternative to the “models come in all shapes and varieties of anorexic!!!” photo above is the “all women look like worn out slobs and stand with their arms awkwardly lifted and suffering from an inexplicable case of bowleggedness” picture below. Kudos to the creator for using real women, but at the same time, it seems somewhat unfair to try to accurately represent body types when you’re using women whose ages vary from the fairly young (maybe 24, “lollipop”) to the fairly old (65? “column”), and whose relative body weight fluctuates from the very skinny to the verging on obese. And forgive me for asking, but what idiot came up with these horrible names. There’s the classic food items, but wtf is a cello body shape? Lollipop? Goblet? And can we all agree that “brick” is a terrible term for a woman’s body shape? As if you could be any less interested in making a woman feel beautiful–“Yes, dear, I believe you’d be classified as a ‘brick.'” C’mon!

This is not to say that using women of a variety of ages and weights is a bad thing, but it’s hard to get a sense of your body shape if you’re at the right weight but don’t look like Ms. Lollipop, Pear, or Cornet. What about women of average weight who are hourglass-shaped? Or heavy women who are column or goblet shaped? This system just sucks, to be honest.

Additionally, in my evening internet cruising, I keep seeing advice for pear and apple shaped women that encourages them to “hide” their big hips or busts, respectively, while telling hourglass ladies to just let it all hang out cause they have nothing to hide. What kind of message does that send? The only worthwhile, sexy shape is an hourglass one, I assume. Everyone else better try to wear dark colors or use ruffles to give the impression they actually have the hourglass shape instead of just embracing the great assets they do have, regardless of whether their top and bottom halves match.

I say, eff that. Whether you look like Barbie or you don’t, stop dressing to cover up what some people like to call “problem areas” (i.e. anything that’s not an hourglass), and just start wearing what you think looks good and gives you confidence.

We Get It, Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day needs to settle it down.  Seriously, why are we putting so much value in this little old day?  It shouldn’t make or break a relationship, it shouldn’t define us as people, and it shouldn’t depress us based on whatever relationship status we can use to describe ourselves on that day.  It just shouldn’t.  I’m actually not sad, lonely, or depressed (this year), but I still think Valentine’s Day is a little evil.  A person cannot escape hearts, red crap, shiny shit, lacy shit, feathered shit, champagne shit, chocolate shit, expensive shit, diamond shit, more heart-shit, etc.

Why not just do something nice for the people you love?  Even if it’s not sexy, you’ll feel good.  If you are in a relationship, you’re expected to have a fancy dinner, eat chocolate, drink champagne, and then put on crazy lingerie and have the hottest sex of ever…  That’s unreasonable.  You will be bloated.  You will not feel like having sex with the lights on.  Just willing myself to get into a corset is enough to ruin a nice meal.  “I’ll have the side salad without dressing as my entree…”  The expectations are unrealistic.  Shouldn’t this be reserved for anniversaries?  What happens if a chick is unavailable for the supreme pleasures of Valentine’s Day doin’ it?  Ladies get this thing every month, and it complicates things?  I’m just saying: what if?  That’s a lot of pressure for a reproductive system to handle.

I’m also infuriated that the V-Day tropes are that dudes spend cash while ladies put out.  Blerg.

I just don’t want to see hearts everywhere.  I don’t like them.  I don’t want everything to be pink.  I don’t want my boyfriend to feel like he has to send me roses or I will kill him.  THAT’S STUPID.  No one is entitled to roses.  I’m certainly not.

Plus, dudes can’t handle all this pressure.  It makes ladies crazy, and guys can’t live up to the crazy expectations pushed into female minds by rom-coms and Hallmark commercials.  I think I’ve even seen a cat food commercial about human love recently.  What? How? Why? COME ON.

Ladies, settle it down.  If a dude doesn’t buy you flowers, it’s okay.  Maybe just take a moment to appreciate the people you love instead of buying everything in CVS?

If you’re single, Valentine’s Day is just gigantic reminder that you are not in a relationship, and that you will likely not be needing any lacy accessories.  Why should singles be tormented further by our weirdly couple-obsessed culture?  Being single kind of rules… because there are no rules!  Okay, not really, but still.   This can be such an awkward day.  We should just act normal.

Why are heart shapes so anatomically incorrect?  It really bothers me.

Friggin’ Valentine’s Day…

This week in UNACCEPTABLE: Axe for Women?

A couple of days ago, I was at the gym, doin’ my thang on the elliptical, when all of a sudden it hit me. No, really, it hit me: a giant wave of stench. It smelled vaguely like spicy rotting fruit. It was… AXE. You know, that stupid body spray that guys think will make you want to sleep with them but really just smells like they forgot to take a shower this morning? Yeah, that stuff. I proceded to gasp for fresh air, and, it being inside of a gym with no air movement, began to hack up a lung.

Seriously, though–Axe smells like the equivalent of perishable cologne. Manfume gone bad. Very bad. But dudes LOVE this stuff; especially big meaty dudes who hang out at the gym and apparently think showering is for pussies. Or something. The gym always reeks like this crap (and the smell of feet/dirty socks, but you know. It’s the gym.) I don’t understand where–other than their awful ad campaigns–guys got the idea that any self-respecting female actually likes the way this stuff smells. A shittier version of Old Spice doesn’t make me want to jump your bones. Sorry.

And just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, lo and behold, I was proven wrong while watching the Super Bowl.

Now women get to smell like spicy rotting fruit, too! Oh, joy. Actually it probably smells like the crappy cotton candy body spray everyone used in my middle school. I wouldn’t be surprised. I almost wished for a moment I had smell-o-vision so I could smell this strange new product. What’s the verdict? Weird rotten fruit or typical fourteen year old cotton candy smell?

More importantly, how will an ad campaign for women even work? Given that Axe’s big claim is, “Hey, AnyDude: use our stuff and hot models will come creeping out of the bushes to have sex with you all the time,” how would that work for women in a non-creepy way?

Funny or Die asked that same question, and here’s what they came up with.

Despite the crass ending to this commercial, they’ve got a point. Bottom line: Axe is unacceptable (or unacceptably bad-smelling) for dudes. It’s bound to be equally unacceptable for women, if not just plain weird.

Read more about “Axe Anarchy” in this New York Times article.