Finding the Right Fit: Self-Acceptance, Purchasing Power and the Fat Bellydancer’s Eternal Search for Accessible Costumes (Or ”I am done trying to force my money into the cash registers of businesses who clearly don’t want it.”)
I -love- Joy’s message here. It was the first time I ever encountered anything NEAR the idea of body acceptance, and I cannot express how grateful I am to Ms. Nash for making these. Years ago (around 2009 I think..) I had no idea that when I came to Tumblr just over a year or so ago now, I’d travel even further down that path, and how much great stuff could come from it. ♥♥♥
Mind, I’m still no pro at it, but thanks to these 3 videos in the series I am further along on my journey of self acceptance that I never DREAMED could exist.. and for that I owe her (and all of you who’ve helped open my eyes and open my heart in this realm too) an ENORMOUS debt of gratitude. In many ways big & small, these videos changed my life. ..For example, these videos are part of what gave me the courage to go out and pursue my first real, full-course of bellydance. ;):)
And the reason why I’m blogging this now.. is because the scene where she’s in the store, talking about stores that only allow fat people to buy things like hair doddles and socks…? I’m starting to feel that way about a few places online. As it’s my most recently-encountered example; bellydance.com for starters. I am SICK of going to places and finding all of these -amazing- designs, and not even having a HOPE of getting into any of them. When their “plus sizes” go to a 36” hip, or their bras to a 36C, and the onnnly things they have in their “plus size” sections are hipscarves, veils and harem pants- yeah… I’m getting kinda Done.
Thankfully, yes, things ARE changing. People have fought and raised hell and slowly, bit-by-bit, some places are realizing what a market bigger people can be, and how jacked it is to keep them out of the fashion loop. But there’s still a looooong way to go. Bellydance.com DOES have 2 -very- neat bras in what I call their “fat chick section” that I would love, and granted, that -is- more than many places offer. But still, it is TWO KINDS OF BRAS. Meanwhile the whole rest of the site is -covered- with beautiful, ornate sh*t that I will -never- likely be able to own (unless I get an operation, or copy these designs & get them handmade- which would likely cost twice to four times what the site offers), and that pisses me off.
Moreover, many places charge MORE for larger sizes, even when they DON’T up-charge for sizes from small to medium, medium to large, etc. Sure larger sizes cost more to make, but if you’re not charging more per size, It’s fat discrimination, plain and simple. (And that’s IF they have sizes beyond an XL. :P)
And BD.C is not the only place that does it, btw. There are LOTS of places that talk about carrying “plus sizes,” but when you get right down to it, they’d fit maybe.. oh.. a size 14-16, and on a good day, maybe an 18 tops. And this is -exactly- why so many plus size dancers are absolutely -clamoring- for good, curvygirl costumes, practice gear, and accoutrements. Heaven forbid we should be able to go to a web site that features designs we love, and be able to buy more than a headband. :P
So ladies (and gents, and anyone beyond), whether you’re in the mall scouting for daytime duds or surfing the interwebs scouting for bd gear, remember; YOU have the power here. YOU tell retailers how you feel by what you do and do not purchase. We need to speak to them using the power of our wallets. In an artform (and now fitness genre) where bodies of EVERY size are accepted and welcomed, there is absolutely NO EXCUSE for big retailers NOT to cater to us too. So don’t patronize places that won’t carry those gorgeous designs in your size. Don’t frequent places that only allow you to buy wristbands and necklaces, veils and footwear, when they offer countless other items for people of OTHER sizes.
It’s not acceptable. And we need to tell them so w/the loudest voices we have. A; by spreading the word, B; by sending them notes and comments and letters on all their contact forms, Facebook pages and media outlets, and C; by forcing them to hear the one sound that’ll get through to them the most:
The closing of our purses and the snapping shut of our wallets.