Thursday, April 14, 2011

Plus Size Clothing Swap

In early March of this year, two friends and I headed west to the bay area for a sneak preview of a documentary that was being hosted by Beyond Hunger as a fundraiser event. The documentary is titled: America The Beautiful, Health for Sale - a film by Darryl Roberts, due out in August of 2011. We were so excited to be able to attend such an event, we purchased VIP tickets for the silent auction and Meet & Greet with the film maker after the viewing. It was amazing. The movie was powerful, truthful, hurtful and inspiring. At the auction that night, I purchased my "YAY" scale. All the numbers are removed and in their place are positive affirmations. (more on the movie and the significance of the scale in future posts)

During our round trip drive to San Rafeal, my friends and I had a heated and passionate discussion about being a plus size women, the challenges and stereotypes we face, the obstacles we climb and most importantly FASHION. Or actually as the case may be... the very lack of FASHIONABLE options for curvy gals. We lamented about how often we change sizes, how hard it is to find things that fit and look good, having a hard time shopping for affordable or second hand clothes. That Wednesday night, cruising along highway 80, we came up with the idea to host our own, plus size clothing swap!

We've all been swapping clothes from garages and closets over the years. Why not make it official. Open it up to the public? Make it a fundraiser? Get the word out! We found a niche and filled it. If even only for ourselves or our closest friends!

These were not just day dreams. When you have that much passion and women full of ambition and drive...this turned into a PLAN. The very next day, we were hot on the trail. A location was booked, a flier was made and we started putting the word out. All volunteer, all for our favorite charities: Beyond Hunger, CASH and WEAVE, and all for fun and fashion for fat chicks! Finally, something for us. A panacea of clothing to dig through and try on and play dress up with my girls!

While spreading the word I've been thrilled with the responses of women saying "Finally!" "this is awesome" "darn wish I could make it, I would love to go"! There has been a down side however...Along the way while promoting this event, I've encountered a curious predicament.... when I asked people to spread the word or if they knew anyone to give the flier to...some balked. It's almost as if they were thinking "I might as well call my friend fat... here fatso, a place just for you". Husbands were not thrilled about advising their wives...the recipient of this notice might be... gasp... offended!?!?!?!

I guess this crossed my mind as I was including friends on my email blast and creating the event invite on Facebook... I even put a little tag line "this is not targeted, just spreading the word". I didn't want to comb through my friends list taking a mental inventory of every ones body size. I work to hard not to compare and to respect individual beauty. This has been a tough one to approach.

But this is what we truly believe and what our mission is. I hope that women of all sizes can see this and appreciate it.

The event was created to celebrate and promote positive body image. No matter what your size. We want to feel special. Included. An event for us where we don't have to worry if they'll even have my size. We don't want to feel self conscious about other shoppers or being the biggest girl in the room. We want to shop freely and cheaply. As one friend refers to is as "the movement". Coming out of the shadows and taking up space. Not feeling like you have to WAIT until you lose weight and get to your ideal size to enjoy clothes and take part of such events.

We have also run into the question about why it's only limited to just Plus Size. The suggestion was brought up, by a well respected leader of positive body image, that we might have an Every Size swap in the future. Still promoting the same positive body image and sharing the message of being Healthy At Every Size.  We decided we will consider it in the future. Plus Size only is not meant to exclude but rather promote and include a missed demographic that needs some serious TLC. These events are something we'd like to see be a seasonal standard in our area. A reason to save your clothes and have something to look forward to. They are all volunteer planned and coordinated and will always benefit a worthy charity and will soothe our souls and warm our hearts.

Peace. Love. Music. Fashion. For all my friends!

Please share your thoughts, opinions and feedback on the topic.
Have we been so brainwashed by a society and culture that obsesses about beauty and thinness, that we feel offensive if we are suggesting someone might be plus size?

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