“Maternity” and “Plus Size” are often made out to be an ambiguous term. The picture is even grimmer when one steps out as a plus size woman to shop for maternity wear. The plus size industry might have come a long way in matters of clothes and their availability but the discrimination of plus size people still exist. Plus size women can’t just walk into a store and walk away with something because most stores do not keep clothing beyond a certain size number. It is sad but true that even today many plus size women are directed to the maternity section of a store because they cannot find their proper fit. And to top it there is always the disregard of plus size people.
Maternity Wear and Plus Sizes are not one and single thing. They are different. A pregnant woman is not necessarily plus size or requires plus size clothes. And neither is a pregnant plus size woman undeserving of clothes or any other plus size women for that matter. To clump the two as one is just disrespectful to expecting mothers as well as the plus size community as a whole. The real issue lies in the fact that retailers and brands are not ready to put more energy or money into creating clothes that would fit all. This discrimination also boils down into our the society which view plus sizes as undeserving of anything good. As for those who consider that pregnant women are ‘fat’ clearly are unaware of the fact that expecting women are growing a human being inside them. This is sad given our claims of being progressive when we are so judgmental towards fellow human beings.
To be directed toward the maternity section in a store when you were just shopping for basic tees or being handed formless clothes when you just want something that hugs your figure right is disheartening and depressing. Also being pregnant and having to settle for shapeless clothes should be a thing of the past. But it isn’t. And with all the hullabaloo that goes on around the achievements of the plus size industry, this is what really goes down for many women. The plus size industry in the West may be taking leaps forward but still they lag behind in many of these aspects. While here in India, the maternity section does not exist in most stores and also the plus size section is still amiss in major stores. The rare few stores that do might not always serve the needs of everyone. This apparent fat-shaming attitude is very much the reality and no amount of protests and movements have really been able to shake it off people’s minds. This social construct coming down through ages is what gets reflected when it comes to the stores and their selection of garments. And not to forget often people get discriminated and shamed for their size even by the store helps and staff.
The only need is to educate ourselves of the fact that human beings come in different shapes and sizes and discriminating one size over another is not justified. If we were to look “thin, slim and beautiful”, we would all be made from a single mould. But just because we aren’t do not mean that we should judge others around us for being their size. Pregnant women gain weight not because they are fat or lazy but because they have a new life growing in them and their bodies adjust accordingly. As for plus size women not everyone is lazy or sit about doing nothing. Most have an active life and deserve to look just as great. Perhaps it’s time we look beyond all these labels ‘plus size’, ‘petite’, ‘tall’, ‘fat’, etc and just accept people as they are.