fashion

'I walked into a shopping centre as a size 26. There was nothing for me to buy.'

This International Women’s Day, Mamamia is creating the world we wished we lived in via our website and socials. That’s why today on Mamamia, you’ll see headlines we wish existed. But we cannot write these stories. Instead, the story will reveal the reality of what the world really looks like for women in 2022. You can read more about our pledge to #BreakTheBias this IWD here.

This is the headline we wish we could write on International Women’s Day: Women of all sizes say they have absolutely no trouble finding clothes that fit at the local shopping centre.

But this is the reality for women in 2022: 

Shopping online as a fat woman is hard enough, and near impossible if you try your luck at any store.

Of course, if you're a woman who is plus-size, then chances are you're already very aware of just how hard it is to shop in store when most brands refuse to stock over a size 16. 

But let me set the scene, anyway.

You're a teen girl at the shops with your friends, who are no bigger than a size 10. You, on the other hand, are a 'whopping' size 18. 

You don't fit anything, except for the socks and the headbands, but your mates have all gotten brand new outfits. You've been dragged into every store. You don't try anything on. Instead, you wander around aimlessly while trying to avoid the pointed eyes of the shop attendant. 

Maybe they know what it's like to shop while fat, but chances are they have no idea that this situation is extremely daunting. 

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You hate that you're the friend who leaves after three gruelling hours of shopping, with just a pair of earrings and a pack of scrunchies. You're ashamed that the shirt your friends actually did manage to convince you to try on was too tight to fit over your belly. You wish you had never gone out, and you wish you didn't have to pretend like it didn't hurt to see your friends so happy and so wholly unaware of the anguish coursing through your body.

There's probably that burning question you might be dying to know, one that I've been asked hundreds of times at this point: "If you want to fit into the clothes at the shops, why don't you just lose weight?" 

It's one I've pondered on too. 

If I truly wanted to be included, why don't I just do my best to look like everyone else? 

Why don't I try harder to be smaller? 

Why couldn't I have been born to be a size 10? Why did I not do everything up until this point to prevent my ever getting fat? Why did I let this happen?

But it's just a surface level question to a very deep discussion - one we're not having in 2022, or any other time for that matter. 

Women deserve to feel comfortable, they deserve clothes that don't feel too snug, or pull too harshly, or threaten to bust open at any given moment. 

Women deserve clothing that makes them feel beautiful, clothes that allow them to express themselves, clothes that give them the support to do and be anything they want. 

Women deserve clothing. Women of all sizes and shapes. Women with small breasts and big bellies. Women with larger bums and slimmer waists. 

Skinny women. Built women. Fit women. Fat women.

Women everywhere don't just deserve clothes that fit; they need it.

And if the question begs "why can't an individual change their own body to fit into pieces of fabric constructed by major conglomerates", I dare to ask why the f**k should women have to change at all? Why can't these big businesses make clothes for big women? Why is this such a challenge in 2022? 

The question is simple, and the answer is obvious: because they don't want to.

And in 2022, that's just not good enough anymore. 

At Mamamia, every day is International Women’s Day. We fund the education of 300 girls in school every single day with our charity partner Room to Read, and our goal is to increase that number to 1,000. To help support girls’ education in developing countries, you can donate to Room to Read and contribute to a brighter future.