A few thoughts after clothes-shopping with my 11 1/2 year-old daughter, who weighs about 80 pounds:
When I first arrived in Japan, I was about 25 pounds lighter than I am now. Even then, I couldn’t find any clothes that fit. I wore size 10. I still wear U.S. size 10, so obviously clothing manufacturers are accomodating their sizes to a growing (in girth, I mean) population. I know that there are movements protesting the discrimination of fat people, and politicians like Sarah Palin who pooh pooh the fight against obesity, and occasionally Vogue features plus-size models, at least in the editorial pages.
Here in Japan, which I’ve heard has the highest rate of anorexia in the world, women often go on diets as soon as they find out they are pregnant because they don’t want to get fat. The smallest size skirt, which might have fit around my ankles when I was at my thinnest (and I was thin) was size S. Now, thanks to McDonald’s and the popularity of video games and the Internet, young people are getting larger. Manufacturers have started making clothing in larger sizes, but the smallest size is still S. Then comes M, L, XL, 3L, 4L.
At the clothing store I went to today with my daughter, the large sized clothes are at the front of the store under a big banner declaring “Big Sizes!” Although those are the clothes that would fit me, I was embarrassed to be seen near them. I bought my petite, small-for-her-age daughter a women’s medium-sized knit top and a pair of boots for myself, and then we went home.