Should we be worried about plus size children’s clothes?

Should we be worried about plus size children's clothes?

When articles are written about weight, you can tell what the person writing it really thinks from the first word they use to describe the people in question. 

Politely saying ‘plus size’ implies low-level respect for the topic, or perhaps a sense of discomfort. ‘Overweight’ is safe territory because it feels medical but it also come with a hefty lug of judgement (‘I’m just worried about your health’ style).

And then there are those who call a spade a spade and go with fat – ironically it’s the word used by both the nasty end of the spectrum and by many leading body positivity bloggers.

But whatever the words used, there are some unavoidable truths about fatness. It always comes with issues of judgement, and it always has the potential to hurt someone.

Fatness is sort of unique in that respect. I’ve suggested before that we are judgemental about fatness in the same way that we’re judgemental about homelessness.

We make snarky comments about ‘just being concerned’ about a person’s weight for the same reason that we decline to give a homeless person a quid ‘in case they spend it on booze’ – it’s dressing a negative sentiment up as something noble, and people do it because deep down they’re afraid. They know that it’s entirely possible for it to happen to any of us. So we judge.

Should we be worried about plus size children's clothes?

That judgement has been in full flourish this week, following the news that Next are making plus sized children’s clothing. It was kind of Next to do this because it meant that people who were bored of judging fat adults could now start making sly digs at overweight children.

Plus size school uniforms have been on the market for many years, because there have always been bigger children and those children have always needed to go to school neatly dressed. I know this from personal experience because in 2013 the only place I could find a grey kilt (aged 22) was the plus size children’s department at Marks and Spencer.

There can be no debate that plus size children’s clothing is a good thing, because no-one wants bigger children to have to go naked or wear adult sized clothing with the legs rolled up.

No-one is cruel enough to think that because you’ve gained weight and can’t get into clothing aimed at kids your size, you should be relegated to shopping in adult stores.

If you genuinely think that kids shouldn’t be able to buy clothes because they are plus sized, I would suggest that you need an injection of empathy.

Should we be worried about plus size children's clothes?
(Picture: Getty)

One argument I’ve heard bandied around is that by creating plus size clothing you encourage fat people. A truly ridiculous suggestion. How many 11 year old girls do you know who are suddenly going to be delighted by being bigger than their friends because there’s a small sliver of a department store which houses clothing to fit them?

Being a child who looks different is hard. Whether it’s being tall, prematurely developed or overweight, it makes you stand out at a time in your life when you want to fit in, and that sucks.

Take it from a girl who was a 30C cup at the age of 11. Suggesting that making adequate clothing provision for these children is going to relegate them to a lifetime of fatness is enormously short sighted.

While I wore straight sized children’s clothes, I can say without any doubt that it would have been nice to be able to buy a bra in a design that was geared towards children of my age, rather than having to pick between sexy lingerie or beige granny bras. It would have made me feel like less of a freak.

People don’t lose weight through shame. They lose weight through feeling that they are worthy of nourishment. If you make a child ashamed of their size they’re a lot more likely to take refuge in secret eating than they are to develop a stealth aerobics habit.

Should we be worried about plus size children's clothes?
(Picture: Getty)

There can be no debate that plus size children’s clothing is a good thing, because no-one wants bigger children to have to go naked or wear adult sized clothing with the legs rolled up.

No-one is cruel enough to think that because you’ve gained weight and can’t get into clothing aimed at kids your size, you should be relegated to shopping in adult stores.

If you genuinely think that kids shouldn’t be able to buy clothes because they are plus sized, I would suggest that you need an injection of empathy.

Should children be plus size? Probably not.

In an ideal world all children would grow up slim. They’d all be fit and athletic and slide easily into being fit, slim adults. Food wouldn’t be a battle ground, bike riding and running would be fun family activities and buying clothes would be as simple as pulling the relevant aged garment off the shelf.

That’s not the case.

Feeding your children healthy, nutritionally balanced meals every single day is hard work. It takes money, education, time and the emotional bandwidth to argue with your kid about eating their broccoli. Not everyone has those things.

Should we be worried about plus size children's clothes?
(Picture: Getty)

Yes, there are time-poor parents who haven’t got much money but have managed to make it work. That’s fantastic. But there are also people who can eat a full McDonalds for lunch every day and not gain any weight. When it comes to weight and size, there is no blanket rule. If only there were.

It’s so easy to suck your teeth and make a judgemental face about plus size children, especially if you’re childless or have thin children. But parenting is hard and there are a laundry list of ways in which you can screw things up. If it’s not their relationship with food it might just as easily be their work ethic or inherited prejudice.

There is nothing wrong with choosing fatness in adulthood, but fat adults are not victims. They are people who have made their own choices (which should be respected). Children, however, do not choose their own food. Very rarely to they do their own cooking. So fatness is not a choice.

Read more: http://metro.co.uk/2017/09/19/should-we-be-worried-about-plus-size-childrens-clothes-6938707/#ixzz4tD5QtWM0