It’s taken over twenty years, but American Apparel has finally finally begun offering clothes in size XL. Up until just recently, anything over a “Large” was just plain “not our demographic,” according to American Apparel reps. It may seem strange that the popular clothing outlet has never provided anything over a size 11, but who here is truly surprised to hear that Don “I’m A Sleazeball And I’m Okay With That” Charney’s company caters exclusively to slender women?
New sizes apparently mean new models to display them, so American Apparel has started a plus-sized model search/contest looking for “booty-ful” women to fill out the new XLs. Women submit photos to American Apparel’s website, where they are then numerically ranked by readers based on their perceived attractiveness.
Anyone who has ever been to a model search can tell you that, despite the abundance of beautiful people, it’s a horribly ugly affair. Hundreds of women dying to be the next Kathy Ireland (remember her?) line up while bored and disinterested judges pour over their features and pick out whatever minute flaws they can find. Out of hundreds, fewer than ten will get a callback. Sometimes no one does. Dreams are shattered, hearts are broken and sexual favors are offered.
Not surprisingly, the feminist website Jezebel has taken issue with the plus sized model contest. It’s not difficult to see why; while claiming that women of all shapes and sizes are beautiful, the contest literature nevertheless takes every opportunity to remind everyone that the contestants are, in a word, fat. Cutesy puns abound. One reader, though, has decided to play along so that she may subtly (or not so subtly) mock the whole contest. Nancy Upton explains in an email to Jezebel:
I immediately thought, based on the way it was written, “Wow, they really have zero respect for plus-sized women. They’re going to line them up like cattle and make puns about them until they’re blue in the face.” And then, as corny as it sounds, it just occurred to me that based on their “Hey, come on, fatties, we want you to play, too” tone, wouldn’t it be kind of brilliant to respond in a, “Thanks for letting me play, just let me try put down the pizza, first” similar mocking tone. From there, I realized I knew a great photographer, I had a free couple of hours on Sunday and a little extra money in my pocket to drop on some ranch dressing and a chicken
With this in mind, Upton “had her friend, Shannon Skloss, take pictures of her — bathing in ranch dressing, pouring chocolate sauce directly into her mouth, gorging on chicken.”
As the article points out, Nancy Upton doesn’t really look “fat”. She looks fairly average for an American woman. I realize that compared with the rest of the world that’s actually quite a bit heavier than average, but nevertheless let’s hope her pictures, some of which can be found on the Jezebel article, take her to the top.