“Plus” is a four-letter word – and “plus-size” is twice as bad

I think Queen Latifah is on to something.

As she’s preparing to release her new line of clothing and accessories, the “Queen Collection,” on Home Shopping Network she’s taking advantage of a publicity opportunity and coming out against bad language.

What bad language, you ask?

For many of us, it’s worse than any four-letter word that caused many mouths to be washed out with soap. Oh, no – this is worse because it’s the combination of two four-letter words.


“(Plus-size) is a word we need to bury at this point,” Latifah said in a recent interview. Her line will be for women of all sizes, she said. She particularly took issue with the way stores treat “larger girls,” sending them to their own section of the store to find what they need.

Wait – I said “sending them.” What I meant was, “sending us.”

If you’re reading this blog you likely either know me or have at least seen a picture – and you know, then, that “petite” is not something that has ever been used to describe me. I am – and always have been – among “the large girls.” I don’t consider myself “obese” or “huge” and I get in trouble when I use the three-letter F-word (“fat”) in the presence of many of my friends and family. But the fact remains, I’m not small. I stand just under 6 feet tall and have shoulders broad enough to make many high school linebackers jealous. I have big feet and my hands are the right size to palm a basketball (and if the muscle coordination were there, I could do it!).

There have been times I’ve been quite thin – but was always, still, “a large girl.”

So I’m right there with Queen Latifah in lobbying against the continued use of “plus-size” when it comes to clothing. Why can’t all women’s clothing be in the same area? If I go shopping with my friends-of-a-smaller-size, why must we split up? The same is true at the other end – why are petites relegated to their own section, usually right in the middle of it all?

We want to do so much to get rid of body image issues – Dove has for several years had an ad campaign highlighting “real women” – and yet these types of issues still exist. I’ve gotten to where I don’t even like to go shopping for clothes because before I even look at the first rack I’m already isolated as a “big girl.”

And as though having our own section wasn’t enough, have you ever paid attention to where that section is? You would be hard-pressed to find a size 16 pair of jeans in the front of the store. You want those, you’re going to the back – often just past the maternity clothes.

Yes, there are specialty stores designed for large girls, small girls, young girls, social girls and the like – but you know what you’re getting when you go in. When I go to a retailer that serves everyone, I think we should all be treated the same.

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