Today I went after-Christmas shopping at the Gap. I needed new jeans. I hoped to find a good deal.
I did find some killer bargains: A cute bra for $4. A sweater for $15. A dress shirt for my son for $15 (he’ll never wear it but I felt like a good mom for buying it).
I wasn’t happy about buying these items, though. Instead I sat fuming in the parking lot. I considered taking my purchases back, as a political statement. I wanted to do this, I really did. But in the end I simply put the car in drive and headed home over the very icy Alaska roads.
This was not my finest moment. If I were the person I wish I were, the person I would like to be, I would have marched my ass back inside the Gap, returned my purchases and written a very firm letter to corporate office, complaining about the size discrepancies.
The reason for my anger? According to the Gap, I’m a Size 2.
This is total bullshit. My old jeans, bought over seven years ago, are a comfy Size 6. Which brings me to the whole point: I am NOT a Size 2. I am a middle-aged woman. I’ve had a son. I ate a whole bag (a one-pound bag, I might add) of pretzels Christmas Eve. I’ve been known to finish off a jar of peanut butter in one weekend.
And yeah, I do run marathons and I do work out, but I’m no waif of a woman. I’m muscular and strong. Plus, I have hips. I have padding around my hips. I have nicely padded thighs, too (the better for sitting on, my dear).
I cannot tell you how much it burns me that stores have been steadily fashioning sizes bigger yet marking them smaller. WTF? What purpose does this serve? Am I a better or happier person simply because I can fit into a smaller size?
Listen, when I was in college I ran competitively and was in top shape. I was also nineteen years old, for Christ’s sake. I was tiny. I had no hips. My thighs were like toothpicks. And guess what size I wore? Not a 2. I don’t think they even had 2s back then. I was a perfect Size 5. I was always a Size 5. I could walk into any store, pick out pants and not even have to try them on because back then, all sizes were within a particular range.
Yet here I am, oh-so-many years later. I weigh at least ten pounds more than I did in high school (10 my ass! More like 15!) and my body has reshaped itself. I don’t look like a teenaged girl. I don’t want to look like a teenaged girl. I’m a woman, and I expect to wear a women’s size, not a teeny little number. Hell, they even have double and triple Size 0s now, how sick is that?
Sorry to rant. I know that according to popular culture, I’m supposed to feel proud that I can fit into a Size 2, as if this were some type of accomplishment. As if I’ve finally “made it.” Mostly I just feel angry, and confused. I feel slighted, as if someone is playing a sick joke on all of us women and instead of protesting, we simply keep buying and buying as our sizing scales go down lower and lower.
Which pauses me to wonder: Would men buy a Size 0? I doubt it. Probably it would be an affront to their masculinity. Probably they would be insulted. Probably they would run from a clothing rack with any mention of a Size 0 or even a Size 2 or 4.
So Gap, if you or any other retailers are reading this, please note: Not everyone wants to be smaller. Some of us want to be bigger. We want to expand ourselves and our world. We want to be seen and heard and really, it’s hard to be powerful when you’re wearing a size that reminds you of a toddler’s growth chart.
Please, please cut it out and give me back my regular Size 6 jeans. Hell, there’s no way I could fit into a “real” Size 6, not according to my old high school standards. I’m sure I’ve skipped up two, and maybe three, sizes by now.
So why in the hell am I wearing a smaller size now that I’m bigger when I used to wear a larger size when I was much, much smaller?