Oh yeah, I was an overweight little boy. So much so, that when my mother took me to buy clothes I went to what I thought was a special clothing store for boys like me, fat. Why did I think this? Because when I walked into the store, the opened tie, crossed arm, wrinkled shirt, cigarette smoking salesman, took one look at me from head to toe, looked at my mother, pointed to the back of the store and said, “Husky.” Gee did I feel special, until I discovered that the store I was in was one of the only stores around that sold clothes for fat kids. Sure, I said it, for fat kids, because that’s how I felt like a fat kid, and that’s how I was treated. Special stores for special kids who were fat. My skinny friends bought clothes from all kinds of stores; I was relegated to one store, and one style. I certainly was not one of the cool kids, and at times felt isolated and excluded.
My dad who was a baseball fan encouraged me to try out for little league. I remember during one game, I struck out, thought I walked and ran to third base. A laughing stock; but, my biggest humiliation was not the fact that I didn’t understand the rules of the game but rather, not having a uniform that fit. Why? They didn’t make Husky. I liked and still like baseball, but I was uncool. I was uncool until I was in the seventh grade and attending a Catholic grammar school. We were playing a pick-up game out on the blacktop I and hit a softball about 300 feet. Out of the blue I was cool. During the winter of 1968-69 I lost weight, worked out and got into great physical condition, and in the spring played baseball with anyone who wanted to play. Throughout my teen years I played baseball in The Joe Medwick League, The Babe Ruth League, High School, and American Legion Leagues. Was I that good? No, but I knew how to compete. I could have been better, but I lacked confidence. I still felt the exclusion of the tag that was pinned on me when I was seven years old, Husky.
Kids become overweight for a variety of reason; poor self-control, introduction of a poor diet, anxiety, and comfort, to name a few. Clothes are now made for kids of all shapes and sizes. Clothes should not define a kid, but our society and our culture create such clothes competition that socioeconomic status is defined by the types of clothes kids’ wear causing rumors, gossip, and ridicule in school. Kids don’t know but they should know that they can’t judge a book by its cover and they can’t use clothes as a benchmark for who they choose as friends, and who they associate with.
I have two daughters who have bought a variety of clothes from a variety of stores. When they were younger they always wanted designer clothes and as teenagers lost weight to wear the fashion conscience clothes that their peers wore. Now, they buy clothes from Target or Wal-Mart because frankly designer clothes are too expensive and they just don’t really care anymore. But, when they were younger the true reason they lost weight to wear designer clothes was because designer’s force exclusion by manufacturing clothing that fits only up to size ten. My daughters were not even close to being overweight, and still they had trouble buying designer clothes.
Abercrombie and Fitch have just crossed the line by redefining the word Husky. If you are Husky, shop somewhere else because we don’t make clothes for plump kids. Why? Because cool has been defined as skinny, and those who are not skinny are just uncool. They are encouraging kids strange as it may seem to exclude their peers because of clothes competition and body type. Exclusion is one of the worst forms of bullying that kids experience today. The isolation and the loneliness kids feel is horrific. The hit that a child’s self-esteem takes because of exclusion can last a lifetime. The brainwashing that our kids are experiencing today by the media is going to impact them and possibly their children. We can’t allow our children to isolate, exclude, bully, or harass others because of race, creed, color, or religion. But, truly we can’t allow the subliminal seduction by Abercrombie and Fitch, along with other clothing manufacturers that is redefining us as a culture going forward which is affecting the well being of our children for just being Husky.
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