Screw you and your bootlegs too

It’s time for a rant, kids. Strap yourselves in so the dash stops beeping.
So today I walked into a little boutique because I saw a pair of amazing dusky pink corduroy cross-back overalls in the window and was dying to try a pair on. The largest size said “29”, which meant nothing to my untraveled eye, so I asked the shop assistant what size it was in my world. “12”, she said. “Do they make them any bigger?” I asked. “No, I don’t think so”, she said, “they don’t make things in larger sizes.”
I refrained from gagging and asked if they had ANYTHING AT ALL in the shop larger than 29, and she said that they have some 30s, which is like a 12 and a half.
So let me get this straight. They had so many sizes they did a 12 and a half. But there was no 16 or 18 to be seen. And apparently nor would there ever be.
I should say, this wasn’t the first shop. It was the third this week.
Naturally, I wanted to tell them all to GF themselves. I wanted to grab them by the collar, look them in the eye and say “What is so wrong with me that you don’t think I am worthy of wearing your soon-to-be-dated overpriced overalls, which happen to match my new favourite sneakers?” I wanted to say to them “Do you know that I’ve got a couple of girls and I’d be absolutely thrilled if I can show them that you can be healthy, happy and punk-ass gorgeous NO MATTER WHAT SIZE YOU ARE?”
Instead, I said nothing, because I felt embarrassed. I felt, again, that same feeling that makes me avoid boutiques like this and feel awkward at beaches and which I fight so that I can go to the pool, get in the fast lane and kick the arse of a kilometre purely because I love swimming.
Even though I was angry, I felt like if I said anything, they would think what everyone thinks: “Well, why don’t you lose some weight?” As if they know what the hell they’re talking about. As if I’m somehow morally corrupt and unworthy of the pink overalls because I’m clearly lying around on my couch eating doughnuts binge-watching The Bridge and expecting someone to crane me out when I’m done.
I have a large body but the thing is, I really don’t mind! I worked out early that a) it doesn’t seem to change no matter what I throw at it (including weight watchers, gym memberships and a bout of bulimia which now costs a bomb in dental bills), and b) hating it is therefore a short road to hell. It does everything it needs to, with few exceptions. It rides me to work and back, it walks the dog, it enjoys a bit of hanky panky, it pitches a campsite several times a year, and balances me on the back of a couch on a hill dancing to the Avalanches. Hell, it produced two entire humans who now talk back to me (and probably would have told off the woman in the shop). 
I’m the woman in the village who is built to feed the babies when the famine hits. I’m the one who would survive a long march out of harm's way with potatoes stuffed in my apron. I’m great for a cuddle when you're sick.
What hurts me about my body is what society thinks of it. And it hurts all of us on the larger side of average (which, by the way, is a 16).
The two ways that being fat has ever really affected my health has been by a) making me ashamed to get help, and b) when I get help, a doctor telling me that the problem is solely weight-related.
This is why I suffered for a number of years with fibromyalgia - random joint pain triggered by stress - without it being properly diagnosed. It’s why I gave up on my last doctor, who told me that a minor condition could only be stopped if I "just lose weight", when there is plenty of evidence that reducing refined carbs is more appropriate and effective.
I’m all for looking after my health. I like feeling good and being able to do stuff and there are people in the world who want me to feel good and do stuff with them. But my size has nothing to do with it - it has barely changed for 20 years, while my health - physical and mental - has ebbed and flowed.
Body stigma is everywhere, and it’s insidious, and I’m fucking sick of it, and I’m really sick of it from our local inner-city hipster fashion industry. With the notable and life-saving exceptions of Finki and Cat’s Meow, almost nobody makes their funky little clothes to fit the entire larger half of the female population.
Telling large-bodied women that they can’t have clothes because they’re not demonstrating an ability to perpetually starve themselves is not entirely unlike like telling LGBTIQ kids they can’t have clothes until they try to be straight. 
The impact is real. I have had beautiful friends nearly die from anorexia nervous. I have some of the most lovable individuals I know feel suicidal over their weight. I once had a boyfriend who said to me he couldn’t stick around because he couldn’t bear the idea of me getting any fatter. He wasn’t worried about me becoming unhealthy (which was my frustration with him, being a smoker with asthma). It was that my body made him feel disgusted. And don't get me started on the online dating scene.
So, designers, makers, sellers and everyone else out there, it is not ok to wholesale refuse to make clothes for us. It affects our physical and mental health, and that of our children. It gets in the way of us being ourselves, because I for one would rather eat hot screenings than dress like an ad for Fella Hamilton.
If there is one thing I would love to see us get in our heads, it’s that the link that everyone makes between body size, health, and moral rectitude is extremely shady. At best.
So I'm now not going to buy ANYTHING from shops which purport to sell clothes but only sell a selection that make a bunch of us feel completely excluded and frowned upon. And I walked straight out the door, without the awesome earrings made out of recycled aircraft tyres.
Because that there is integrity.
And I challenge you all to do the same, whether you're little or not. Because rewarding these ninnies is the thing that none of us should be doing.


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