I have belonged to a separate category, according to the fashion industry, since elementary school. As young as 10 years old, I remember searching stores for the section that had clothes for girls like me. My wide blue eyes would take in all the pink and sequins and glitter that make up the girls’ clothing sections and fall sad as I checked the tags, seeing sizes that my round tummy and chubby legs wouldn’t fit into.
More often than not, finding those sizes meant I had to find a different part of the store and read signs until I found one reading “Girls Plus” or something else insanely demeaning. To this day, as a grown woman, I am forced into back corners to find the three or four racks of clothing that are made for women like me.
It’s still disheartening, but because I am a grown up I understand that larger sizes do not mean less worth as a human being, no matter how many times per day messaging like that is pushed towards me like an unappetizing meal I’m supposed to eat out of politeness. For young girls though, like the one that I was not too long ago, such realizations do not come easily.
Girls plus should not be a section.
Girls with belly rolls and full cheeks should never have to feel sad about their bodies. Girls who have attained hips a little sooner and a little bigger than their friends should not feel that they are different, should not have to look for special signs and special sizes and their clothes should not be more expensive.
We are young and naive and frightened that people who see us buying girls plus clothes see us as strange. We think that it’s strange that we have to look for special signs and special sizes and that our mothers have to pay more than other mothers do.
Girls who walk into stores looking for their back to school outfit should never sit in a dressing room crying because the biggest skirt they had wouldn’t fit their waist. Think about all these girls, looking for the girls plus, and their self-esteem. There is so much waste, so many wasted tears and frustrations and steps to separate sections.
We grow into young women who avoid mirrors and photos and don’t smile at our reflections. And it takes years to remember what it’s like to not care about the number on our tags and we’re still confused about why our clothes cost three times as much. We believe that there is an “us” and a “them” and the them is girls who have never had to worry about finding the girls plus and have never cried in dressing rooms.
Those sections told all the girls that there is a “them” versus “us”. We get used to back corners, separate sections, and feeling like there is too much to us. That our bodies are too big and that they are wrong, and that the store had to go to all this trouble of making a separate section just for us.
We are not girls plus, they are not girls plus, they are just girls. Therefore, there should be no plus section.