Mind the Gap
Fall into The Gap. If you read those words and in your mind you heard a baritone singing them then you remember the old commercial jingle for The Gap. And for years I did my share of falling into The Gap and Old Navy with relatively little trauma. But things are different now. For what ever reason the powers that be have decided that I am too short and too fat to “fall into” The Gap and Old Navy in my neighborhood (or any other hood) and purchase jeans in my size. I have to purchase them on line which means i can’t try them on with other items and piece together an outfit. Now before I continue any further, I have to acknowledge that I know this is a first world problem. I am lucky to have access to clothing and to a computer so I can at least work my way around the sizeist speed bumps between me and my denim dreams; but it doesn’t change the fact that my size is considered an outlier in the world of The Gap jean sizing. If I were taller it wouldn’t be a problem. If I we’re thinner but still short it wouldn’t be a problem. But this specific combination of height and weight banishes me from shopping at The Gap. So I mind the gap…I mind the gap big time.
For those of you who have spent time in the UK, you will recognize the phrase, mind the gap from the metro or the underground. It is a cautionary message written on the platform calling your attention to the space, aka gap, between the platform and the train doors. This is a gap that no one wants you to fall into and so you are reminded of its existence visually and via frequent announcements. It is very sweet of the transit system to care so much about their customers and so NOT New York! In New York if you are stupid (or drunk) enough to step into the space between the platform and the subway door, then you deserve to pay the consequences; whether it be a twisted ankle or dealing with the now inconvenienced and disgruntled commuters behind you. Don’t get me wrong, I am not dissing New York, I grew up there. It’s just a different milieu and they save their underground signage for yelling commands like, “NO SPITTING” leaving it completely up to you to remember to mind the freaking gap or you are an idiot.
But I digress, I was talking about the size discrimination issues I have with The Gap and it doesn’t end with my not being able to shop at their brick and mortar stores. You see even if I choose to shop for my size on line I have to pay a penalty for being too short, too fat, and too female. Yes you read that correctly. I am not only “wrong” for being a short fat person, but I am even “more wrong” for being a short fat woman! And this is where being an activist is important. It is one thing to work on body acceptance in terms of my own personal feelings about my body. But when I go out into the world, feeling grand about my bod and collide with rampant discrimination and unequal treatment it becomes evident that things also need to change in the world around me. I have the responsibility to get
politically active in what ever way possible. So here is a shout out to Renee Posey who wrote a petition on change.org that I just signed and want to share with all of you. The opening of the petition is as follows:
“Every woman knows how hard it is to find a good pair of jeans: a pair that is the right fit at the right price. That’s why I was shocked when, during a recent visit to Old Navy’s website, I noticed that they were charging $12-$15 more for plus-sized womens jeans — but not up-charging jeans for “big” men. If they are charging plus-sized women more to cover the cost of the fabric being used, then why aren’t they doing the same for men?”
The letter to The Gap that we are being asked to sign is:
“To: Gap Inc. I respectfully ask that you stop charging plus-sized women more for clothing than you do straight-sized women and men and “big” sized men. This overtly discriminatory pricing policy indicates sexism and sizeism on the part of Old Navy that is unfair to women of size and unacceptable to me as a consumer of Old Navy’s products. Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.”
Click on this link if you feel like adding your name.
And while you are at it, here are two other recent articles about sizing for women that have been making the headlines lately. One is Calvin Klein’s recent foray into the world of plus sizes…and yes, size 10 is a plus size and the photo you are looking at below is a plus sized Calvin Klein model. CLICK HERE to read more about this.
And Victoria’s Secret perfect body campaign is also riling people up.
So please take the time and advocate for a saner more accepting world in whatever way you can. A world where size diversity is celebrated and not penalized. A more inclusive world where it is the norm to help some of us remember to “mind the gap.”
Til next time,
P.S. I am so honored to be presenting at The Renfrew Foundation Conference on November 15, 2014 in Philly. Click here for more information about the conference.
PPS. Next post I will be writing (finally) about the incredible work being done in the UK (other than the kindness shown in the underground) by Fatima Parker and Angela Meadows!