- July 8th, 2009
So I was perusing a Nordstrom catalog yesterday. I don't think I have ever been in a Nordstrom, so I'm not sure how I came to be on their mailing list. I should probably get them to stop sending it to me, since their sale prices are more than I can afford to spend. Anyway, I came across a brand of jeans called "Not Your Daughter's Jeans." They were being modeled on a "plus-size" woman, although closer scrutiny of the catalog copy and the NYDJ website revealed that the jeans actually run sizes 2-24. Also, even more annoying, their tag line is "The Original Tummy Tuck Jean."
Still, I think my original quibble with the brand name--as follows-- stands: my response to the name "Not Your Daughter's Jeans" is, "Why no, in point of fact, they are not my daughter's jeans. This is because I do not have a daughter (or a son, for that matter)." It sort of touched a nerve for me because, while fatness is not considered acceptable for anyone in mainstream US culture, I often see it framed as being "excusable" if one has given birth. Mind you, I know that the tabloid media is obsessed with celebrities' struggles to shed their post-baby-weight, and this has, without a doubt, placed increasing pressure on regular mothers to do the same. And I think this is bullshit. Yet, there have been multiple times when I have heard or read a person saying something to the effect of, "My body is this way (eg. not-thin, stretch-marked) because I brought a new person into this world, and I am proud of that." Ok, I can't argue with this. At all. If a woman is able to love her body because she connects it with the love she feels for her child, far be from me to minimize that or deny it or try to take it away from her. I am childfree by choice, but I think pregnancy has to be one of the most amazing things that happens in this world. Still, from my non-baby-having side of the fence, it's hard to hear a statement like this and not feel as if I'm being told that I have no right to have the body that I do, because I didn't get it by reproducing.
So seeing the name Not Your Daughter's Jeans made me bristle, particularly when I thought they only came in 14 and up (because only women who've had children need larger-sized clothes, obvy). However, after seeing the website, I have discovered that, actually, even women who wear a size 2 may have bodies so unacceptable that they would benefit from so-called "tummy tuck" jeans. The site also uses other typically offensive and condescending language, such as "real women" and "real curves." You know, thin women are not real. Srlsy. Figments of your imagination. My favorite usage of this terminology on the part of NYDJ is this: "Praised by celebrities and real women galore..." LOL. Apparently, "celebrities" are a separate class of lifeforms than "real women." And oh, how I love it when companies use faux-flattering language ("real" "curves," etc) to get women to buy products that seek to minimize or conceal the very parts that make them "real" and "curvy"!
Also? they proclaim that these jeans "allow you to wear one size smaller." One size smaller than what? Do they mean that the jeans themselves will be one size smaller than the size you regularly wear? Because I have news for NYDJ, due to the lack of standardization in the fashion industry, this will likely happen sometimes anyway. And, since these are jeans we're talking about, not, like, Spanx, I don't see how they could possibly allow you to wear one size smaller of anything else. Are you supposed to put one size smaller trousers on over NYSDJ?? Perplexing.
Anyway, I guess this ended in a slightly different place than where I started. In sum, I do take issue with the idea that my fat and be-stretchmarked body is extra-unacceptable because I've never cooked a bun in my oven. However, I take far greater issue with stupid companies that market "body-improving" bullshit, especially in the guise of "you go girl!" type ad copy. No matter what we do or what we look like, there is always going to be somebody telling us that we fail in some way--especially if they think they can sell us something.