>Back in July at the BlogHer conference, my delightful friend Suebob of Red Stapler gave me this hilarious red stapler t-shirtin pink. She had ordered it from Cafepress and when it arrived, it seemed to be in a girl’s size rather than a woman’s. The nice people at Cafepress refunded her money without asking her to send it back, and she brought it to BlogHer anyway. Upon seeing me and my non-existent torso, which results in me being the approximate height of a young woman in junior high school, she very generously gave the shirt to me.
I wore this shirt recently and realized something scary: it actually is a woman’s shirt. The shirt (but not the design) is manufactured by American Apparel, the controversial clothing manufacturer based in Los Angeles. On one hand (the positive one), American Apparel is made in the good old US of A and actually pays workers a very decent wage, in addition to providing health insurance. Very good! On the other hand (the negative one), American Apparel’s CEO, Dov Charney is a repulsive lecher and creates a work environment rife with sexual harassment. He also is leading the pack in pretending that grown women are the size of girls in junior high and thus making clothes on that scale.
True, there are a lot of women who like wearing tiny fitted tees. They look cute in them. There is only a problem when manufacturers and designers only produce clothing to fit this one particular body type. Last week, I wrote about the brouhaha that ensued at BlogHer upon the discovery that the free Elexa t-shirts only came in a size small. Yet even if they were available to the wide variety of BlogHer attendees in a wide variety of sizes, it still would not have solved the problem that they still look like they are made for girls, just slightly longer or shorter depending on the size. These fitted t-shirts are the same width pretty much regardless of size and meant to fit like a damn glove. Meaning: a large is meant for a tall skinny woman, and a small is for a short skinny woman. Any other size woman deviates from this thin norm. While some regular women wear them anyway, not all of us want to be flaunting our curves. (Let’s just say I am fine as long as I am standing up, but my lap gut is not well hidden in a t-shirt that fits like a second layer of skin. I wear my few fitted tees anyway ‘cause I like the message on the shirts, but I would far prefer regular tees.)
The point is that whether we are told that we should shave our snatches (to look like pre-teens) to be in style or being wedged into a teeny-but-hip t-shirts, once again “fashion” is forcing women to be like girls. And don’t even get me started about the re-emergence of bubble skirts, the more insidious design of the late ‘80s. (Yes, worse than shoulder pads!)