Perhaps it’s going through the entire backlog of this blog and fixing links is what’s getting me fired up. Perhaps it’s latent resentment at walking around the entire floor of the Roseville Mall Macy’s only to find the plus-size section consigned to a corner the second floor. Either way, my sense of mischief is firing up.
At this point, almost every major department store has a plus-size section. Oh, it’s still shoved off in a corner, hidden, or in the case of Forever21, a tacky, hard-to-shop shambles identified only by a bright yellow paint that’s almost impossible for a store visitor to see. But any store that tries to be any kind of one stop shop will have something for plus-size women to cover themselves. They’re even bringing in new and better designers, and there has been a significant surge in new plus-size designers since this blog started five years ago.
Even so, shoving Big Brassy Baby in a corner continues.
While it’s entirely possible that this is because the people hired to do the shop showcasing aren’t sure what to do – most plus clothing is completely separate from main floor clothing – it’s also possible that it’s still just some general bad behavior/lazy thinking on the part of marketing and management.
And this is the age of the flash mob. We fat women for the most part don’t hang our heads in shame because our bodies are so impolite as to be physically noticeable. Not anymore. So there are a few bratty, funny, legal ways to bring attention to the segregated plus-size customer. Here are some of my ideas. Please note that I ONLY advocate what’s legal and harms no one. If anyone comes to bodily harm, is prevented from shopping when they just want to mind their own business, or is in a burning building type situation, DON’T DO IT. Remember, the customer service people at these stores are not paid nearly enough to put up with this, so be nice to them, and make it clear that this is not about them, it’s about management.
Acts of Protest about the location of plus-size clothing sections:
- Write letters and emails to the investor relations section of the company. Remind them that no matter who they are, 46% of their female customers shop the plus-size section, and it’s in poor taste to behave as if those people are something to be ashamed of.
- Put Post-It Notes on the clothing racks, saying “Move me to the main floor!” and “We’re big, not invisible!” Also, tying a string to a clothing rack in the plus size section with a note that says, “So the other 46% of your customers can find the plus-size section next time.”
- Put up helpful signs at the entry way, simply stating where the plus-size clothing section is actually located. Use double-sided tape or 3M mounting strips, and be prepared to have to put up new signs.
- Start flash mobs in the plus-size section. It can’t do damage to merchandise, but whatever draws attention to the plus size section.
- Picket, 1920s suffragist style.
- Have a sewing circle in the middle of the clothing section or floor. Do this if the plus-size section is especially difficult to find.
- Most retail stores aren’t doing so well today. Present it to them with signs of “save the economy or the fat people go naked!” Point out the 17 billion dollar untapped plus size clothing market, versus the latest report on how the store is doing.
This is about drawing attention and making a point. This is also based on the idea that not only is aspirational marketing poison, it’s actually killed people and is killing the global economy. I do not endorse doing anything illegal or immoral and I do not accept liability if you do try any of this stuff yourself. It’s just stuff I want to try.
Knowing me, I’ll probably go with writing investor relations at Macy’s. But I’d participate in any flash mob as long as I could make the rehearsals.
- New and Boring Plus Size Clothing Offerings From Gemma Collins (fullfigureplus.com)
- 10 Reasons Your Clothes Don’t Fit Right (fullfigureplus.com)
- Popularity of plus size clothing (savingmoneynow.com)
- Plus size clothing: A growing market (savingsavvy.com)