If you have ever seen Pretty Woman, you know that one of the iconic scenes is when Julia Roberts gets turned away from a boutique on Rodeo Drive, only to return the following day to get even.
You work on commission right? Big mistake, big, huge. I have to go shopping now.
Click here for the Pretty Woman Shopping Scene.
You never really expect to have such a satisfying moment in real life, but my mom actually got to get her Pretty Woman moment – protecting me.
In addition to the litany of -isms out there – racism, sexism, etc. – sizism is something very real and present. Personally, I can think of two standout experiences I’ve had that confirmed this. One was a disastrous visit with an ENT specialist who literally told me there was no reason to worry about my deviated septum since I had a fat face. The other was the situation that lead to my mother channeling Ms. Roberts.
It was several months prior to my wedding and I was looking for a second reception dress. My first dress was gorgeous, but more traditional than I thought I would go. Also, I knew that my husband and I were getting an amazing DJ and would be dancing the night away. Our nuptials had a peacock theme, so I loved the idea of wearing a short white dress with a feather skirt, as a not so subtle nod to the fun décor.
My wedding planner found a perfect dress at a fashionable nationwide store that caters more towards trendier clothes. Knowing that they might not have a larger size in the store, and not wanting to waste a trip to the mall, I called ahead to see what they had in stock. After asking if they had my size, I was rudely advised that they would never carry such a large size in the store. Then the employee hung up before I could even get her name.
I was resigned to chalking up this experience to another challenge of being a plus size girl, but my mother would not let it rest. She, being a gorgeous and slim woman, never had experienced such blatant sizism, but was horrified that her little girl went through that. So she dressed up in her finest clothes and jewelry, and headed out to the mall.
My mom, in no uncertain terms, advised the manager – in full earshot of other customers – that they had made a big mistake. As an attorney with many professional friends, I could buy and sell the contents of the store many times over. (This most certainly was an exaggeration, but she was on a roll.) She let them know that they had forever lost us as customers and should be ashamed of how they treated me.
My mom said all the things I wish I could say for myself, and in the process demonstrated yet another reason why she is one of my heroes. Although not personally a plus size woman, she would not stand by and allow another human be degraded for something they could not even control. While she only set out to protect her little girl, in the process my mom taught me some important life lessons:
- There will always be critics. Even after having lost over 60 pounds, I am still not going to be skinny enough for some people. But, what I have to remember is that the only person I need to answer to is myself.
- I also learned that sometimes you need to speak up for others when they are either unable or unwilling to do so for themselves. They are worth taking a stand for.
- Most of all, however, this experience taught me that we have to stand up for ourselves. Whether it be sizism, racism, bullying, or just the negative thoughts in our own heads, we can’t allow ourselves to be made to feel less.
Although I am ferociously protective of my family and friends, I admittedly have always had difficulty standing up for myself. But after taking control of my situation, I feel stronger than ever. And the next time something like this comes along, I know exactly how I’m going to handle it: with strength, dignity and the knowledge that I’m on the right track.
xo – SavvySleever