Some Small Sense

Shopping experiences and store reviews by a very petite woman. Indeed, it sucks. 4'10", 87 pounds, and full grown - is it a surprise I have trouble finding clothes?

May 22, 2007

Massachusetts Height & Weight Anti-Discrimination Laws

As reported by the Associated Press last Friday by Ken Maguire, Boston Representitive Byron Rushing is sponsoring a bill to add height and weight to the anti-discrimination laws. This would provide legal protection for individuals in the workplace as well as while undergoing real estate transactions. According to Rushing (who is black, slim and of average height), he proposed this out of a desire to defend civil rights.

While I'm perfectly clear about that I see that this discrimination occurs, it's equally clear most people don't really believe that the issue is anything serious. Some choice comments from the forums prove enlightening on public opinion:
  • I'm so sick of people using 'discrimination' as a tool to demand special services. The airlines have seats in the planes, there is NO discrimination, you're welcome to sit in it. IF you don't fit, who's fault is that? Discrimination is so abused. Everyone has the right to work, to be all that they can be and there is no finer country, but stop complaining, stop using excuses and stop looking outward, look inward and figure out ways to succeed, just the way our parents and grandparents all did. If you are too short to fly a jet plane, then get a different job don't expect a jet plane to be specially configured just for you....that's discrimination. You're getting something that no one else is.
  • So I looked up the exact definition of Discrimination: treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit. So would the 'group' that these people belong to be over-weight people? I believe the real reason discrimination acts were brought into effect were to protect sex, race and religious beliefs. Not to protect people who chow on fast food a little too much. If you're overweight and you think people treat you differently, go on a diet!
  • Except for the most extreme situations you are never going to stop discrimination with a law. People looking for work or housing are discriminated against every day because they are the wrong color, religion, sex, handicapped, fat, tall and you name it....Its a way of life and human nature so better get used to it.
Mixed in with the comments of denial, trivialization, and outright viciousness (check out the more vitriolic ones at the posting) are a few posts defending the proposal. What is interesting is that a lot of people feel that it's perfectly acceptable to punish people using employment opportunities for traits that have absolutely nothing to do with their work performance (or credit-worthiness in the case of real estate). Or it's also fine to pass moral judgements about their character (Napoleonic complex anyone?). Some individuals even try to better define the understanding of what constitutes acceptable levels of discrimination for "overweight," as if a more nuanced bit of discrimination would then be okay.

There is no justification for this. Unless a job requires some physical characteristic in order to perform the duties of the job (i.e., jockeys, models, etc.), there really is no reasonable justification to penalize an individual based on how he looks. All candidates should be given equal opportunity for employment or living accommodations. The reason that certain categories are protected under law, such as race or gender, is that they've been shown to be systematically treated at a disadvantage. Time and time again, it's been shown that the short are economically penalized for their height, all else being equal.

For race, this problem has even been shown to produce disadvantages that are generational because the effects (and wealth, or lack thereof) add up over time and are passed along to offspring. Arguably, height and weight could be considered genetically passed along as well. Could height and weight characteristics be another example?

I applaud Representative Rushing for his proposal. Can't Massachusetts do at least as well as Ontario, Michigan, San Francisco, Victoria (Australia), and Santa Cruz to protect our rights?

While most of the heated commenting has been in regards to weight, how do people feel about the proposed legislation?

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May 08, 2007

Belting Up

My brother typically pokes fun at me when I complain that I can't find any belts my size. 'What do you need a belt for? You're a girl, and you don't have to wear one!'

Ok, ok, fine, I'm not going to be frowned upon by the fashion police if I don't wear one when tucking in my dress shirt (you poor men), but what if I wanted to?? And what if, god forbid, I actually needed them to keep my trousers up (the original reason for a belt)? I would have a distinct problem!

I have trouble finding stuff that fits in most stores - so I wouldn't expect to have too much luck with a belt there either. But it just doesn't make sense that I have just as much trouble in stores that are (sort of) supposed to cater to my size! So, apologies to Banana Republic for picking on it, but think of it as a loving critique from a captivated (and captive) audience member. My other steady, Ann Taylor, has the same problem (but its store is father away...).

Because these stores are trying to get customers to purchase an entire Outfit Ensemble, it would make sense for them to make sure all their accessories and clothes can match up with each other in all sizes. Now, the smallest sized belt they carry is XS. Not XSP or XXP or XXSP. How frustrating!

With this in mind, I snagged a few XS belts from Banana Republic for a test drive. I already knew that I was never going to keep these, as they were too big. But that's precisely why I wanted to get a few shots up anyway!

First up - a black silver ring belt with no prong or holes. As you can see, it's rather loose around my waist and cannot be physically tightened any further. At the smallest, it's 28" - but clearly, it's meant to be looser, as the tongue of the belt is ridiculously long.

The three-strand woven belt was my next selection - and that proved to be equally problematic! At my natural waist, I can't even punch in more holes, because the metal prong is already in the woven leather (which, FYI, isn't dense enough to keep it there). When using the narrowest circumference, it's already 32"!

The densely woven belt seems to be the type of thing that actually goes around your real waist (not your hips) because it's so wide (2 1/2"). Here's the picture of me with it at 26 1/2" wide around my waist (measured from the end of the metal prong to where it enters the leather). It looks completely silly because the tongue just flops around without any means of securing it!

Now that Banana Republic and Ann Taylor have both dipped into the 00 and even XXS game, they should really increase the sizes for their belt selections too! I bet even those women that are size 0 or 2 could use the help!

With all this trouble in finding a (quasi-)functional belt, it's no big surprise that I never quite figured out how to use a belt to accessorize! (By the way, I'm wearing the jeans that I wrote about in my post regarding gaining weight for my pants!)

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May 02, 2007

I Spy a Height Site

I'm basically not a fan of these compilation sites, as they aren't really guides so much as nicely edited advertising pages with little to zero original content. (Perhaps I'm just annoyed I didn't think of this super minimal effort money-making scheme first....) But I admit that got a kick out of the fact that this guide to tallness was listed in the Google ad's sidebar "Related Pages" section, right next to my emailed conversations about being really short in the Netherlands. Way to go Google! Completely the opposite topic, but I guess you got me (and everyone else reading this) to click anyway, right?

The main site generally focuses on the typical 'helpful websites' that point towards clothing, tall advice, dating, etc. The short subsection, cheerfully reached by clicking on this snazzy graph, is mostly a somberer collection of support sites (sans clothing sites), advice, and dating tips. I guess it's a nice after-thought, but couldn't you guys have picked a better graphic???