Shopping is a pain for most plus-sized women, and even more so for plus-sized young girls. We automatically have our defenses up when it comes to shopping, because we feel like most stores will not have anything cute in our sizes.
Most of us are afraid to try stuff on, let alone come out of the dreaded fitting room, so our friends can judge not only our fashion sense, but our body size, too. Most trendy styles we want are not in our size, and the fashion world’s only solution is for us to lose weight.
A Rue21 district manager told HLN affiliate KEZI the company is looking into the situation and does not tolerate discrimination.
I wish I could say I was surprised to hear this story, but I was not. Store clerks are known for giving their unwanted “helpful” advice. I’ve been in plenty of stores where the clerks asked me rude questions like, “Are you sure you’re in the right store?” or “We only go up to size large -- you know that, right?” or “Are you shopping for someone else?” Not to mention the not-so-whisper voices of laughter about my size, and how they can’t believe I’m in the store picking up different items to try on.
Shelby, you did the right thing by voicing your experience. I am inspired by your courage to stand up for yourself. Too often, we go to different stores and are mistreated by employees who feel it is their appointed duty to let us know that a woman larger than a size 6 doesn’t belong in their store. We are ignored by some employees when we ask for help and are made to hate our bodies by their snickering and laughing.
Every business should treat their customers with respect. The larger woman’s dollars matter just as much as those of your straight-sized customers. A young girl’s only worry while shopping should be if her clothes match or if it’s the perfect outfit for the dance. She shouldn’t have to be concerned about whether or not she’ll even be allowed to shop in the store.
Retail store employees, please realize that when you stare, laugh and ignore these young girls, you are only adding to their body issues. Many of these young girls are still growing, and your words are affecting them. Also, it reflects badly on you and speaks volumes about your character that you would see fit to belittle a young woman in the first place.
Young girls, do not allow the media’s -- or anyone else’s -- unattainable standards of beauty affect your self-esteem. Hang around friends who appreciate you as a person, as well as your outward appearance.
To all of the retail companies, take note: You can no longer disrespect us and have us remain silent. We matter, and we will be heard!