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Why is the High Street Hiding From Plus Sized Customers?

The Victoria’s Secret fashion show has just taken place again this year. While I myself don’t follow it avidly, I am at least aware of some of the names/ faces of the models. I am also aware of one model whose name is never on the list of performers, Ashley Graham the famous plus sized model.  She has recently tweeted an image of herself with photshopped wings in an attempt to draw attention to the fact that Victoria’s Secret, along with thousands of other retailers, seems to have a problem with the plus sized body.

Shopping, for plus sized girls, is a total nightmare. Places like ASOS and Boohoo do great affordable plus sized clothing but, as they are online, that means we can’t try before we buy. We do have some places like Simply Be opening high street stores which is great if you are alone, but slightly difficult if you are a teen in a group of more petite girls. I certainly would feel awkward going in with a group when they cannot shop with you, not to mention the fear of mockery at going into these places.

High street shops are continually opening plus sized sections, which is absolutely a step in the right direction but, as with my local New Look, we are often exiled upstairs, away from your friends shopping in the main section. Even this is better than places like River Island which has a wonderful plus sized section but it is only available in 11 shops in the UK and Ireland, whereas you can find their petite ranges in seemingly most of their stores.

I just don’t understand. Retailers are being applauded for having plus size ranges on top of the increased profits of us buying from them, why not stock it in stores? And when they do why must we be separated upstairs or in the basement corner (as is the case in the Regent Street H&M) rather than on the main floor of the shop? Our sections look just as nice on the rack as the main collection so there is no need to worry you’d lose custom at the door if a ‘normal’ sized woman looked inside and saw our products as well as hers. You advertise your plus sized sections on the websites, why not on the streets?

My final thought is that the CEOs and Managers of these places should put themselves into the shoes of a plus sized teen girl, why shouldn’t she watch someone of her size kill it on the Victoria’s Secret catwalk? Why shouldn’t this girl feel comfortable shopping with her friends in the same shops and on the same floors? What is wrong with having her see the plus sized sections in these shops proudly displayed and for her to think that she is beautiful and is accepted, even just for a moment, when the rest of the world is screaming at her to diet more and exercise harder? Why shouldn’t she grow up in a world where her body and her health is her choice and not a public issue, where she isn’t shamed for how she is naturally?

And also, wouldn’t Ashley Graham look hot as all hell walking down the catwalk wearing her wings? 

Hi, I am a second year English student at King's College London focusing mainly on Medieval Literature. I'm also a massive theatre fan, occassional singer, and constant annoyance to my long-suffering flatmate.
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