Friday, February 13, 2009

In Whose Opinion?

OK, folks, this is me. Well, at least part of me. After literally years of not putting images of myself on the Internet, I had a change of opinion this year. Why? It's thanks to Oprah--May I call you Oprah, Miss Winfrey?

Yep, Oprah. As many of you know, I have delusions of becoming as successful as Oprah. I don't necessarily want to become a cultural icon; successful will do. But, when she went Tom Cruise-like about her weight gain over the past years, well, I was, shall we say, annoyed. She said she couldn't understand how she let it happen. She felt like a failure. Well, Oprah, welcome to the world of being human. Many--if not all--weight loss experts will tell you that it is common for people to regain lost weight--and more. Why were you surprised? Don't you listen to the experts on your own TV show or radio network?

Maybe it's just me, but her "self-flagellation" about her weight gain sent this message: "I'm fat, so what I say or do shouldn't mean anything."

Balderdash. There, I said it: balderdash. And yes, I'm fat. Oh, I could say (and have said) that I'm fluffy, plus-sized, and many other euphemisms. But what it boils down to is that I weigh more than the "average" individual. I've dealt with it. It doesn't mean that I'm stupid, without valid opinions, lazy, or unambitious. It doesn't even mean that I have serious health issues. My weight is only part of who I am. If someone can't deal with that, then they can't deal with me. Their loss. At least one good thing has come from this, however. Well, at least for me. I'm not hiding my photo anymore.

Now there's at least one knitting pattern designer who is professing to tell me what I should and should not knit if I'm planning to wear it myself. As it is, finding large-sized and smaller-sized patterns can be difficult. Even patterns that are labeled plus-sized can be misleading. Imagine my shock when I found a size 2X pattern in a magazine and found that it went only to a size 42.

The designer of whom I write indicates that some of her patterns do not lend themselves to larger sizes, and it would be a disservice to provide them in those sizes. I'm sure she's write. In fact, I daresay I know she's right. I would look ridiculous in the crop-style tops that have been gracing knitting magazines. But, should it be up to the designer to make that decision for me? Short people might not be flattered by long knitted coats. But again, should it be up to the designer to limit their selections? Designers of all clothing should give individuals credit for knowing what they look best wearing.

Now, this designer is definitely not the only one who feels this way. Take a look at how many patterns are offered only to a large or perhaps extra large size. The difference is subtlety. She has said what many apparently believe.

So what can be done about it? Buy designs by those who realize not all of the world is a size 6 (or even 12) and stands 5'8". Let designers, pattern companies, and even your LYS know that you want a wider range of available pattern sizes. Be active and advocate. Avoid pity parties. Remember the squeaky wheel concept. Become that wheel.

And yarn companies: Hello? Are you out there? Larger sizes, including longer lengths, require more yarn, ergo, more sales. Duh. Encourage those who design for you to include larger sizes.

Thank you, Oprah, for getting me off my butt and make a stand. To stop hiding behind photos of cats. To come out in the open.


Daniele said...

*Clapping Loudly* Well done, Ida. Well done!

Jessica said...

I'm "fluffy" also and have some issues with weight loss because of what you wrote about how when you lose weight, you gain it back *& then some*... it's the "and then some" part that I totally hate. If we keep ourselves in decent physical shape, the extra pounds shouldn't hurt THAT horribly much!

In fact, when I had some bloodwork done the fall of 2007, after swimming a couple times a week or more during the summer, the doctor (also fluffy) said that my bloodwork looked BETTER than his! Hmmmm... during winter, I try to walk, but can't always convince myself to... (if I lived where you are, I'd go cross country skiing every so often.. I used to LOVE that when I lived in New Paltz...)

evilcostumelady said...

The commercial sewing pattern companies have been making the "size" decision for the customer for at least the past 50 years, in deciding to offer (or not) patterns for certain styles outside the "Misses 8-16" range. Fortunately, grading is not difficult. ;)

It's not the *size* of the body that determines whether a style will be flattering, the shape (A, V, hourglass, etc) and posture make a big difference. Especially posture.