Monday, May 27, 2013

Weighing In

Well greetings ya'll, I hope you are all enjoying the long weekend and that no one has lit themselves on fire with a barbecue yet (I only say these things because I care... and because if you did light yourself on fire I want pictures).

I want to remind all of you who will be in Spokane that I will be having a book signing for Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus at Monkeyboy Books from 1 to 3 pm on June 8th. So, if you are anywhere in the near vicinity, feel free to stop by and say hello!

I had someone recently ask me about my opinion on the comment that Abercrombie and Fitch's CEO, Mike Jeffries, made to the media. I decided that instead of going into a red-faced rant of little Scottish woman rage in their presence, I would alternatively sit down, have a cup of tea and put my thoughts here.

If you haven't heard the inflammatory remark made by Mike Jeffries that has lit up the internet like a 10,000 watt string of Christmas lights in the past couple of weeks, here it is again for you, “In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. Candidly, we go after the cool kids…. A lot of people don’t belong in our clothes, and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely."

However, if you look at Abercrombie and Fail's advertising it's apparent even the "cool kids" don't belong in their clothing either, because none of their models ever appear to be wearing any of it.

I mean, for a clothing and fashion store you'd think that you'd want at least one full article of clothing in the ad. If I were to guess, purely off of their advertisements, what Abercrombie and Fitch is selling, I would assume depression or constipated models (I'm pretty sure this guy's expression is, "What I wouldn't give for a pizza right now.").

The fact is, I am definitely not Abercrombie and Fitch material. I'm a weightlifter, boxer and cardio enthusiast, and I'm pretty sure that there is no way on this carbon laden planet that I could ever squeeze my shoulders into any of their women's shirts. I'm not entirely sure I'd even fit into their guys shirts without having this effect:

In a single weight lifting session I lift a combined weight of anywhere from a half to a full ton of weight, and because of that this man believes I am too ugly and unpopular to shop in his stores.

I'm going to let that sink in for a second, the living California Cabbage Patch Doll thinks I am too ugly to shop in his stores.

It greatly saddens me that we live in a time where "beauty" is not equatable to "health," and I'm not just talking about women. In our society there is such an expectation for both men and women to look like a certain kind of person. The fact is that aside for the .01% that do, most of us are incapable of looking like the models we so aspire to be.

The average female American model is over 5'8" tall and weighs somewhere between 108 and 125 pounds. I, personally, bench press more than that as a warm-up weight. Now, some women are naturally that thin and that is their version of healthy. The average American woman over 20 years of age, however, is between 5'4" and 5'6" and weighs around 165 pounds, and that doesn't take into account differences in genetic background whatsoever.

The average male American model is made entirely of steak, sunless tanner and hair gel (o.k. that might not be scientific, but I got tired of looking up statistics).

Do you want to know the trick to being permanently model thin? Have two equally thin parents, and don't eat your Wheaties (or any carbs, sugar or dense air for that matter).

The point I want to make is that allowing the fashion industry to railroad us into what we consider beautiful not only destroys our views of healthy body image, but it also limits us in who we find attractive.

I may not have long legs, perfect nails or the ability to squeeze myself into a dress that looks like it was made for a pipe-cleaner doll, but I have fantastic skin, dramatic curves and usable muscle that I have worked my butt off to get. I'm certain there are those who do not find me attractive, and that is fine by me, but I don't want to be limited by someone simply because they are comparing me to a A&F model.

Every person on this planet has things that make them uniquely attractive to someone else, and by setting the "gold and tan" standard we limit those we can find attractive and dull our abilities to find people we genuinely can build a relationship with.

Guys, really, it's ok if your abs don't look like you're smuggling pythons under your shirt.

Girls, really, you can be beautiful without living off of a diet of celery and water.

Healthy is far more attractive than steroid enhanced or skeletal any day of the week. Thin, big, short, tall, pale, dark, muscular, tattooed, freckled, scarred... doesn't matter, they are all beautiful and appealing to someone in some way. And if Ambercrombie and Flop can't see the beauty of each and every potential customer that walks through their doors, then they don't deserve even the "exclusive" clientele they wish to reach.

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