A Required Uniform Should Fit

Second Class CitizenA feminist-identified group put out a shirt for sale on Facebook in response to Trump’s horrific comments glorifying sexual assault. It was a great shirt that they referred to as a “REQUIRED UNIFORM FOR NOV. 8 VOTING” I clicked to buy the shirt only to find that they only had sizes from XS to XL.  So I guess it’s only a “required uniform” for those people who wear size XL and lower.

I commented to let them know that I don’t think “No Fat Chicks” is a feminist ideal.  (I was not the first, several people had commented before me, none of us received a reply.) I also posted about it on my Facebook page, and a number of other people also took the time to point out the company’s mistake.

As often happens in situations like this there were those who jumped in with attempts to justify the exclusion of fat people – they are a small group, maybe they just took the stock that was available, and hey, once a whole bunch of people complained they said that they would work on it, why isn’t that good enough?

Ultimately, they added a 2XL option and called it a day. Immediately people suggested that I should be happy with that.  And yet my joy is less than full – far less. First because they could have added many more sizes and made their feminist work much more inclusive (as a 3X I’m still not able to wear this “required uniform.”)

Also because I’m not willing to celebrate being an afterthought, a second class citizen, the inspiration for  V8 moment wherein people slap their foreheads and say “I coulda included fat people!”  Fuck that.

They knew that fat people existed when they decided to create and market this shirt, and there are plenty of vendors that would have provided a wider range of shirts had they actually made their feminism inclusive of fat people.  But they didn’t.  And the way I know that is that fat people had to do the work of reminding them that we exist and that we would like to be included in feminist work. And after we did, they added exactly one size.

So just a reminder that you deserve to have organizations consider you in their primary planning – whether it’s shirts, or chairs, or something else – and not just as an afterthought following a bunch of complaints.  Speaking of complaints, you can always choose to do the work (and the courtesy) of letting people know that they’ve failed at inclusion and that they can do better.  You are, of course, never obligated to do this, and any response you choose is valid.

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Published in: on October 15, 2016 at 12:55 pm  Comments (33)  

33 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. One of the reasons I buy menswear is so that the shirts fit. XL means XL.

  2. Well, you know, women are all supposed to be dainty.😛

    I have a couple XXL shirts that a friend got me from scifi cons that I can’t wear because women are a smaller XXL than men. *rolls eyes*

    • Yeah, “lady tees” sizes are ridiculous. Hubby ordered me one in L “because you have tees in L, right?” Yeah. Normal tees. For a “lady” one, I’d need like a 5XL or something. o.O

  3. I find it ironic that the shirt’s logo is about being treated like a second class citizen and then they treat people of size with little to no regard. Wait?! Does this make me a third class citizen?!
    On a unsarcastic note, I am actually battling this at work right now. They want to switch from a tasteful dress code to shitty t-shirts with a giant logo on the front. Sizes do not include me. But perhaps this it’s a good thing. My boobs aren’t for promoting company branding, anyway.

    • If they require you to wear a particular shirt, and you don’t fit the sizes they provide, will they fire you? Or give you a waiver? Or actually order a size you can wear?

      Or will they fight the discrimination charge by saying, “We gave her two week’s warning to lose the weight and get into an appropriate size. She was just too lazy to drop three size in two weeks, so we have every right to fire her for being too big for her britches and our uniform, and it’s not discrimination, at all! Honest!”

      Seriously, I have encountered plenty of people who seem to actually believe that as soon as you start a diet, you will reach your goal, and if you have not yet reached your goal weight, it doesn’t matter where you started, or how much you intended to lose, you obviously weren’t really trying at all. “Suuure, you’ve been dieting for six months. I totally believe you. NOT! You’re not thin, yet, so you must be lying!”

      This is the reasoning behind people on the street yelling at fat joggers to “just diet and exercise, already!” or “get off your fat ass and lose that weight!” While they are actively exercising and taking weight-loss meds that will do them actual harm, just to please a bunch of bigoted nincompoops with no concept of reality or biology.

      Good luck, Anita Norman, and I hope you can at the very least convince your employers to provide uniforms that actually fit their employees, rather than trying to force the employees to fit the uniforms. Changing a uniform is MUCH easier, and in fact possible, than trying to force (fully trained, already!) personnel to change their bodies. Cloth is way more forgiving than flesh, after all. It’s just logical to change the cloth, instead. And cheaper, too.

      Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have rolled my eyes so far, they disappeared under the sofa. Gotta go feel around for them.

      • I don’t think that they will attemt to force me. Thankfully, I have an excellent boss how stands up for her employee’s rights. And really, they can only force me, if I let them. And I won’t. They may figure out, however, that they can use a different company that offers more sizes. Personally, I just don’t think that t-shirts are professional for my job title.

        • I’m glad you have a good, supportive boss. Good luck!

  4. Yeah, I can relate in more ways than one. But a recent incident stands out. Company shirts. My company is in the habit of promoting “team-building” comeplete with team-building exercises, one of which was designing our own team’s logo and designing team shirts for an upcoming function. Of course, the ladies 2X was likely a size18-20 so I was stuck having to order from the men’s side which wasn’t much better. The men’s 3X was the largest size and these cheap shirts were also rather short in length. I am rather busty so, after the shirt shrunk up a bit from washing, it fit me kind of like one of those midriff-baring short shirts. I swear, from the front, it did not come down to the waste of my slacks. Needless to say, I did not wear it. Instead, I chose to wear a casual shirt that was close to the same color as our team shirts. I did throw the team shirt into the car that morning, just in case, because I knew the boss over all our team managers was going to push the issue. And he did. And it was humiliating. So, I got the shirt from the car, went into a female manager’s office, and I put on the shirt to show her why I was not wearing it. The I put my own shirt back on, in tears of course, while she went to tell him just to leave me alone. Thank God we got transferred out from under him the next year.

    One Size Does Not Fit All.

    • And the sad thing was that, after chosing shirts that basically excluded me from being on *The Team*, they then considered me *NOT a Team Player*…😥 …I’m not kidding about the feeling of abject humiliation… the kind that makes you want to crawl under a rock and die.

      • Not a team player? I feel like Inigo Montoya. “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

        These people need a dictionary.

        So sorry you had to go through that nonsense and pain.

    • I’ve had a couple of incidents where company shirt orders were fucked up. A company I worked for several years ago decided that we needed to have logo shirts instead of wearing our own shirts to work, so my boss asked my size. I’m short, fat, and large-breasted, so there is not a single men’s/unisex shirt that will fit me. By the time a shirt sized for men is large enough to go around my boobs and belly, the shoulder seam is halfway down my upper arms, the “short” sleeve hits me below the elbow, and the length is so long that I could practically wear it as a dress. Button-downs aren’t much better (and usually even more ridiculous in length. They absolutely refused to look into women’s size items for me and insisted that I pick a size from the men’s garments. So they spent money on clothes that were so ill-fitting that they agreed I didn’t have to wear them because it looked unprofessional.

      The most recent was with another company that did a lot of group charity events. They wanted matching t-shirts for them to promote the “team” look. Even though they had the ability to get people’s sizes in advance, they didn’t. They just ordered what the committee thought would work, and it was woefully inadequate. They ordered men’s/unisex only (for a company that was almost half women). They did go up to 3X but only ordered a few of those. This company had a lot of size diversity. There were a few women who were so tiny that the men’s medium shirts (smallest size ordered) were baggy on them. There were plenty of people who needed a 3X, and a couple who probably needed a 4X. This apparently happened all the time with this company. I supported an off-site team and went to pick up shirts for us. One guy said, “3X if they have them. If not, I’ll take a 2X and give it to my kid.” So much for team building.

    • A similar thing happened to me. We were supposed to wear polos with the company logo on them while working at remote sites, but the largest size they had was so tight I could barely pull it on. The thing was, this company had like 12 employees total and they all knew what I looked like!

      They sent me a company name tag instead…

      • Instead? Not “and”? Shouldn’t the employees have had both?

        Or are thin people nameless in this company? You don’t get a shirt, but you get a name and all the thin people get is a shirt, so they blend?

        Something wrong here.

        No, seriously, EVERYONE should have gotten both. It’s not that complicated, especially with only a dozen people involved.


  5. It sounds like a form of divide and conquer. Size 1XL shirts are available but really may not fit, but anyone larger is left out. It’s rank discrimination by bigots who I am sure knew exactly what they were doing.This of course results in agravation, shame, feelings of ostrasizm and endless perseveration. Unfortunately there are no laws in this country except in a couple of places to fight against this discrimination. Civil Rights laws are often evaded, but they do attempt to stop discrimination and sometimes are successful. Without them bigots can say and do almost anything they want against fat people, especially women, without any legal threat.

    • I think that the people who are flat-out “These people should not exist because I say so” are vastly outnumbered by the people who are ~just trying to help~ because providing clothes that actually fricking fit would be ~enabling an unhealthy lifestyle.~ And both groups together are probably hugely outnumbered by the people who don’t have a clue how fatness actually looks. The ones who have been indoctrinated all their lives with nonsense about how 300 pounds is too fat to breathe and 250 pounds is too fat to walk, therefore the obviously breathing walking person in the office down the hall can’t actually need plus sizes.

      • Oh, the people who don’t want to “enabled an unhealthy lifestyle,” so they deny us active-wear. Riiiiiight. That makes PERFECT sense!

        “We don’t want to enable your sedentary lifestyle, so we will make it more difficult for you to exercise!” Because fat=sedentary, naturally.

        And if we complain, they just look at us like we have lobsters coming out of our ears, and say, “Well, you’re so fat, obviously, you don’t WANT to exercise, so what’s your problem?”

        • This attitude is why I brought a detailed exercise schedule to my annual with the header, “This is the maximum amount of exercise I can do given my finances, available time, pain levels, and exercise space and surfaces. Do not recommend anything else to me. I have researched all local options.”

  6. But, isn’t XXL one of the most popular sizes (when it’s available)? Maybe not THE most popular size, but I’m pretty sure it sells like hotcakes, when it’s available, and I’d really like to know some actual statistics.

    Given the same shirt pattern/logo/picture, and a wide range of sizes, what is the size that is chosen most often? For menswear AND women’s wear, please.

    Anyone have any data on this?

    • I have anecdotal observations. I work in a clothing shop where we produce our own line on-site. They are small runs (6-8) of hand printed garments, so as cutter I always have to note what sizes we need before I cut them, so we can keep an even inventory. Our stock ranges from xxs-4x, and our sizing runs a bit generous. For ladies wear, the most popular sizes are M and L (but they fit more like a L and XL) and mens wear, the most popular sizes are XL and XXL (more true to size). Our hand printed mans tee shirts: XL and XXL, but we do a steady run of 3-4-5xl tees too. Least sold: XS for ladies, S for men.

    • I did some volunteering this summer, and part of the job was to hand out shirts for everyone. The largest piles were M and L. Next was S and XL, then 3X, and 2X was the smallest pile. Granted very few 2X’s people came (I think there were 20 shirts) it was the only pile that got used up. I used a XL, but could’ve used an L in a pinch. The S’s did get used quite a lot, since there were many children who came.

      • It was the smallest pile of shirts, but all of them were taken? Interesting. I wonder what would have been the result if all the sizes had the same number of shirts on offer.

  7. This reminds me of the Undress. I had forgotten all about it, after I donated to the Kickstarter, after they promised to include me and my size. Now I am seeing ads for it, and guess what?

    Not my size.

    Makes me angry, especially as they DID promise to include larger sizes.

    • I was wondering what happened to that.

  8. I have been missing out on the “required uniforms” – and sometimes the opportunities that require the uniforms, since about sophomore year in high school. I’m now 45 and about to deal with a choir dress uniform in the next couple of weeks that has me wanting to just quit choir. I can’t count how many times I either put in the effort and didn’t get the souvenir t-shirt OR decided not to pursue a job because it required a uniform I knew wouldn’t fit. Thanks SO MUCH for reminding me that I deserve to have something to wear if I contribute to the team.

    • This reminds me of a scene in an old show, “Good Neighbors,” where the neighbor comes over, wearing a HUGE dress, and asks her friend to take it in for her.

      The choir director only gave the seamstress one set of measurements “Hers, presumably,” and as a large woman, with glandular issues, the choir gowns were therefore also big and tall. However, at least everyone could get INTO the things.

      “How many feet do you want me to take it up?” was the question the woman doing the alterations asked.

      I just wish that the people who think One Size Fits All would consider that if the One Size is too small, a lot of people cannot even get it on their body, at all. But if the One Size is too big, at least everyone can be decently covered, and take it in, if necessary.

      Better to go too big than too small.

      But if you want to look professional, or put-together, than you need THE RIGHT SIZE for each individual! Why is this such a hard concept for people to grasp? I just don’t get it!

      Incidentally, J Flaming, the woman in the choir, in the show, was able to have a lot of pull and get the stuff she wanted from the choir, because she was the only alto able to hit an A below Middle C. If your singing ability is good enough, maybe they’ll actually WANT to work to keep you. Time to raise a squeaky noise now, before the uniforms are required, and let them know, if they don’t meet your needs, you won’t meet theirs.

      Good luck!

      • I’ve always called “one size fits all” as “one size fits nobody.”

    • This reminds me of my time at McD’s. 1999-2000. When I started I wore size 16, throughout the year I had a 50 lb gain, and went up in size. I requested them to order a size 18, as the 16 was getting tight, and creating a muffin top. While I was waiting for the new 18’s to arrive, I had to wear my own clothes (which fit fine). When the 18’s arrived about 6 months later, they were actually smaller and tighter than the 16’s. I had to wait 2-3 more months for the size 20’s which finally fight better.

      I have not worked at a place that had required uniforms since, so I don’t know if these places would have 28’s in stock (depending on brand, I’m 20-28 now).

      • What’s up with the wonky sizing? Did they change providers? I’ve seen that before, though, where the “larger” size is actually smaller, when worn by a real human being.

        My theory is that they changed the cut, and so although the measurements may be “larger,” the actual shape is smaller. Just a theory. Either that or there are some awful pranksters in the clothing industry.

  9. A game convention I was involved with in college and several years after had tshirts made with custom art each year. Staff and long time attendees were invited to pre-order shirts. One year after I was no longer local, the person ordering the shirts decided that the 4XLTs that a couple of the long time staff had ordered would look too weird with the art “so tiny” in the middle of the shirt. So she ordered 3XLs. *facepalm* This wasn’t found out until the first day of the convention when everyone arrived to pick up their orders. It was made quite clear to her that a 3X was not ‘just as good’ and that changing the order like that was unacceptable.

    • Because when it comes to artwork on a shirt, and the proper proportions of white space, the actual physics of the matter (physical mass taking up X amount of space, not X-1) simply do NOT apply. Riiiiiight.

      Also, people who have been ordering their shirts for years just don’t know their own sizes.

      Why is it so hard for thin people to believe that fat people are the best judges of their own experiences? Why is it that for the world to believe a story about a fat person, it needs to be a thin person telling it?

      Did you get your properly-sized shirts in time for the end of the convention, at least?

  10. I read all the time how the average size of women in this country is between a 14 and a 16, which means that saying people who wear a 2x or 3x or any other large size is a small number of people makes that a ludicrous statement. For the average to be 14-16 a whole bunch of people are larger sizes than that. They just don’t want to cater to us. They are stupid too, because if they did we would buy their stuff -as you tried to. I certainly hope that even if they had put out a size large enough for your needs that you would not have bought it since they really were just as bad as he was implying that fat people don’t matter, they don’t want our business. They have their own prejudices.

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