Can You See Me Now?
Recently while scrolling through Facebook, I came across a photo of this display featuring a plus size mannequin sporting Nike workout gear.
I actually got excited! “She looks like she could be me! Looka there!” But before my excitement could fully take root, I read the caption that accompanied the photo. The person who posted it wondered how people would feel to see this mannequin on display - would they be offended?
I was grateful to read the comments and see that no one who responded would be offended, but by that time I was offended. What offended me?
I couldn’t understand why seeing a representation of a real size woman in active wear on display would cause ANYONE to be offended. I take that back. I understand that all too well. As a matter of fact, it triggered old feelings I had about wanting to get healthy and lose weight but not feeling comfortable going to the gym. I felt like people would be offended by me. I felt like people would look at me - laugh at me - maybe even point at me. I can’t tell you how long those thoughts and fears kept me from doing what I knew I needed to do to get healthy. There was a long period where I just dieted and didn’t work out because I felt I needed to lose some weight BEFORE I could go to the gym to lose some weight. Yeah, I know…insanity. But that’s where I was at that time in my life. And the discussion surrounding this Nike plus size campaign has taken me back there. Almost.
Let me go back to what I stated earlier - plus size women are real size women. Now, please understand. I do not mean that all women are large. We all know better than that. We come in all the sizes that you can imagine, and even more than that. According to a Plunkett Research study, more than 67% of adult American women wear a size 14 or larger. Sixty-seven percent.
So it behooves Nike, and virtually all companies, to be size inclusive. If the majority of female consumers can’t fit your clothing…what? I applaud them and other companies that embrace us.
Take Dia & Co. for example. It’s no secret that they hold a special place in my heart. Dia & Co. is a personalized styling service that serves the plus size population. Being a Dia customer for a few years now has changed my perspectives in so many ways. Getting clothes selected by me for a stylist each month has helped to expand my style and boost my confidence. And since the launch of their active boxes, my comfort level at the gym has multiplied. Of course, stylish active wear isn’t the sole factor in feeling comfortable at the gym, but it sure does help. I shared my style and wellness journey in detail in this blog post on Dia’s website.
So, thank you, Dia & Co. and other plus size clothing companies, for not being offended by us. Thank you for recognizing that plus size does not mean lazy, immobile, or devoid of fashion sense. Thank you for acknowledging that we are visible - even in mannequin form. Thank you, Nike, for “highlighting a full range of athlete figures” with your latest campaign and plus size athletic wear. Thank you for reaffirming what I am learning to say to myself and realize as truth; I am beautiful right here and now - in this plus size body.