Thursday, April 25, 2013

"Manatee gray"

There's a story making the rounds about two dresses sold online by Target.

The standard-sized one, in a gray color, was described as "charcoal."

The plus-sized one, identical in every way but size, was described as "manatee gray."

People were outraged. Target was attacked online, they took the description down with a mealy-mouthed, "Must have been a mistake; we have some seasonal items sold that are that color"

You know what? I can't be angry about this. Yes, I'm a bigger woman. Maybe not quite plus size these days (I am not sure how Target's sizing on this particular dress runs). But I'm far from being size 6.

And you know? I don't freakin' care if some intern somewhere wants to get his laughs off by referring to the colors of the clothes I would buy using terms to refer to large mammals. It's dumb, and it's juvenile, and it doesn't warrant me being bugged by. The fact that someone, somewhere, may have thought it was funny to refer to a plus-size dress as being the same color as a manatee tells me more about them than it tells me about the women who would wear that dress.

And at any rate: from everything I've read, manatees are pretty nice animals. They're slow moving and peaceable, they take good care of their offspring. They don't attack other animals.

Elephants, also: elephants are smart. They are excellent parents, and even the extended family gets involved. Elephants also appear to mourn their dead - suggesting they might have a higher level of emotional consciousness than the sort of people who think it's funny to compare a fat woman to an elephant.

So, I would just look at someone referring to me as a "manatee" or an "elephant" with a certain amount of pity, and think, "Really? That's the best you've got?"

What bugs me far more are the people who go all concern troll-y about heavy people. Here's a hint: We know we're overweight. You can't go to the doctor even to get a vaccination without them weighing you. And some doctors will deliver a lecture every time. (And it may become mandated that they do, under the new health-care laws: right before the talk about "Yeah, it's really okay for us to arrange to end your life for you if you get too old or too sick").

If weight loss were easy (and physiologically possible, in some cases - like that of people on long-term prednisone therapy), we'd lose weight. Just to shut your sorry asses up.

But it's not that simple.

But I'm not stupid. My carrying around an extra 20-50 pounds (depending on what standards you go by) does not short-circuit my brain. I don't need someone to tell me what I should and should not eat. I do not need someone to pretend to "care" about me when they really just want to control me.

I would allow my family to "concern troll" me, but they don't. They knew I try hard to eat a healthful diet and they know I exercise. And they also know that I come from a long line of heavyset people.

So if my family doesn't, strangers should not.

But anyway: I can't care about the dress I might buy bring "charcoal" or "manatee gray." Actually, "manatee gray" makes me think of the Florida Everglades, and it makes me think of the vacations I've taken there, and that makes me happy. It makes me think of going out for walks on the boardwalk and seeing roseate spoonbills and eating Key lime doesn't make me think, "Oh, someone is trying to demean me because of my weight." So yeah, whatever snarky little intern thought that might be a funny thing to do - meh, doesn't get my goat.

1 comment:

Joel said...

Truthfully, I didn't even think of the large-woman implication of "manatee" until you brought it up. (I'm a thin man myself, but my wife is of abundant construction, so I probably should have.) I saw "manatee" and though of endangered species. Sort of like advertising panda-fur gloves or something.