I’ve been thinking about the strong reaction that comedienne Amy Schumer had to having her image published in a “plus size” edition of Glamour magazine. I’ve been thinking about it because I honestly have a whole LOT of reactions to the whole issue.
Number 1: Who the hell needs to buy a magazine called Glamour anyway? Most of us are living in the burbs, trying to keep the laundry done, the dogs fed, the bills paid and the fridge stocked. Glamour? No one I know has the slightest idea of what that word even means.
Number 2: What the F* is “Plus sized”? Plus what? Like, “You are a woman, with extra”. Extra depth? Extra personality? Extra cellulite? What?
Number 3: Amy Schumer is fabulous. Smart, funny, articulate, warm, open and beautiful. In every way.
This whole thing just strikes a real nerve in this old Nonni. I will tell you a story to explain my anger at this entire pile of bullshit.
When my oldest child, my daughter Kate, was 14 years old, she won an award for a piece of art that she had created. She was invited to the Massachusetts State house for a special reception with other award winning young artists. I was so proud of her!
In preparation for the big event, I took my Kate shopping for a dressy pair of pants. We went to the mall, and into a popular store for young people. The salesgirl met us, asked a couple of questions and took some measurements. “Ooooooh,” she sighed to Kate, “Wow! You’re a size 00!”
That means “double zero”.
Kate looked at me, unsure of how to respond. My mama bear self reared up right then. I sure as hell did know how to respond.
“Excuse me?” I asked in my frostiest voice. “Are you telling my daughter that she is less than zero?”
The young salesgirl blinked at me. “Um. Yes. She’s so slim. She’s in a size double zero.”
Now here’s the thing. My Kate was barely pubescent. She had always been thin, but that was party because she’d had some health problems.
I absolutely hated the fact that at the very cusp of womanhood, my beautiful, tender daughter was told that the smaller and skinnier she was, the more admired she would be. Even more than that, though, I was completely appalled that the smallest size pants in that store were telling a woman “You are even less than nothing!” And: “We love that!”
I blew off a little steam at the poor salesgirl, and hauled my young artist out of there. I stood her in atrium of the mall, my hands on her shoulders. I looked into her big brown eyes. “Kate,” I said, “You are young. Young women are often thin. You are lovely. You are going to get bigger and even more beautiful.” She nodded. I’m pretty sure she had no idea of what had pissed me off so much.
So we went to Sears, where the sizes ran in actual numbers. We got the pants, and a nice white blouse. We went to the ceremony in Boston, and we had a lovely time.
But here’s the point: Sizes need to run in normal, predictable ordinal numerals. You know, the smallest would be “1”, the next would be “2” and so on. No “Double zero”. No “Zero”. No “Plus”.
Women should be able to buy a pair of jeans without being told how the people who buy a magazine called “Glamour” choose to to rate us.
Amy Schumer, you are a goddess.
And so is my still slim daughter.