I am speaking, of course, of the July issue of Crochet! magazine. Y’know ’em, they’re the ones “defining crochet.” I’ve made fun of their new starving supermodel motif in this space before, but it is unusually apparent in this issue. Enough so that I actually wrote a letter-to-the editor.
You see, it all started out so hopefully. Today is payday, and there’s a book out with novellas from Kelley Armstrong & Kim Harrison, two of my favorite authors (and I highly recommend them to anyone who used to be an Anita Blake fan but ran screaming from Ms Hamilton’s novels when they turned into poorly-written soft porn). So after leaving Wal-Mart–where, by the way, I scored some great new baby yarn–we went to Borders so I could look for Dates from Hell and, of course, dig for new crochet magazines.
This was the only one. And I was so very excited when I saw it. Because this dress was on the cover:
Isn’t it gorgeous? Très mod, no? It’s got an übercool ’70s vibe to it. I so wanted to make it. I mean, I was gonna come home and hop on the internet and find the yarns to make it. I’ve got a strapless bra, I’m fearless. I’d wear it to church, even (we’ve got a very laid-back church here).
And then, I got to the pattern. And to this little tidbit:
Instructions given fit 28-30 inch bust (x-small); for 32-34 inch bust (small) and 36 – 38 inch bust (medium), change hook size.
Um, OK. Extra small, small, and medium. Most American women are a size 14 or above. In other words, not extra small, small, or medium. WTF? Seriously, have these women looked at actual crocheters lately? Come on, this thing is published in Texas! TEXAS! I’m from there, I know what we look like. And we do not look like “extra small.” Not by any stretch of the imagination.
There are several really cute things in there I’d love to make…Oddly, though, all the ones I truly want to make stop short at size medium.
I’m not a size medium. I don’t want to be a size medium. I weigh 185 and I wear a size 18. Back in high school when I was eating like one meal a day and walking probably five or six miles a day, I was a size 14. Send me off to Bergen-Belsen for a few months and I might come back a medium, but don’t bet on it.
I’m used to this silly attitude towards plus size women from the fashion world in general. We’re supposed to wear sackcloth and ashes while we nosh on our celery sticks in a concerted effort to become the new ideal of a size 4. (Once upon a time, the ideal was a size 8. Size 8 is the size off which all other sizes are based, in theory. But now a size 8 would be considered too big.) Certainly, we’re not supposed to want to dress attractively.
Know what, though? We do. Oh, not everyone. But take a look in a Lane Bryant or a Torrid or an Ashley Stewart the next time you’re in a mall. Even those of us whose sizes are firmly in the double digits like to wear attractive things.
Those first two are the same top, by the way. A front view, and then a back view.
Cute, aren’t they?
Not any more firmly rooted in reality, though. I don’t know any women, no matter their bust measurement, who are willing to go out in public bra-less. And you really can’t wear a brasseire with either of those tops. (They weren’t the only offenders in this area, by the way, just the most obvious.)
That first one, the one with the tie back, goes up to a 46-inch bust. I assume this to be an over-the-bust measurement. OK, boys and girls, this is me. I could wear that top if I made it in the largest size. Click that link, look at my photo, and then ask yourself if you really want that to happen. (Not that I think I am ugly, but me without a bra is only a good idea for the nurslings.)
Again, both of those are beautiful pieces, but horrendously impractical & unrealistic for most crocheters.
But again, all is not lost! If I want to use that magazine to crochet a top that is a) in my size and b) can be worn with a bra, I still get to make this:
That sound you hear is me whimpering in pain and submission.