Plus-size students Share challenges at Meredith and beyond regarding clothing and accessibility.
Being plus size in a world where the word “fat” is treated like a bad word is challenging. There are many different obstacles that plus-size individuals face every day, from unpleasant shopping experiences to the stereotypes they face regarding their size.
Tanasia Yelverton, ‘26, described how her size has influenced much of her life experiences, stating that “there are certain activities that [she] prefer[s] not to participate in, which tends to affect [her] social life.” Yelverton noted that while some people are understanding, some view her as being an “inconvenience or a liability to their enjoyment” when she suggests other plans or asks to sit out of certain activities.
Another experience Yelverton spoke about was shopping with friends who aren’t plus size and “having to walk back to the clearance/plus-size section of the store.” She explained that the plus-size section feels like a “little dark corner of the store full of dusty, disorganized clothes that are in low stock and not guaranteed to be without snags, holes or tears.” Yelverton went on to further explain the difficulty of finding items that were both her size and style while also being affordable. Mae Marsh, ‘24, agreed with Yelverton about the variety of clothing options, saying plus-size clothes are “almost always floral or cheetah printed.”
When asked about her experience, Elaina Irving, ‘26, said that “clothes shopping is intimidating, [and] it almost feels embarrassing.” While Irving does enjoy shopping with supportive friends, she also noted that it can feel overwhelming. Irving added that stores often do not carry plus sizes, “leaving only shoes and knick-knacks for plus-size people to peruse,” which can leave them feeling dissatisfied or left out.
“Shopping for clothes as a [plus-size person] can be demoralizing,” Yelverton said. “It seems like jewelry tends to stop around size 9, and stores stop stocking after 2[x] or 3x.” Yelverton commented on the issue, discussing how sizing is not universal. She also added that some online stores charge more for larger sizes.
With respect to stereotypes surrounding plus-size individuals, Irving believes that “the media often pushes the stereotype that plus-size people are simply gluttonous and lazy, and in some cases, they can be portrayed as rather dirty.”
Accessibility, beyond the clothing and fashion industry, is yet another topic that has arisen in this conversation. Yelverton discussed the seating in Lux, which is “packed so closely together” that she has to “sit at an awkward angle and constantly readjust throughout class.” Irving described a similar scenario for the seating in Ledford.
Overall, many people get uncomfortable when talking about the concept of being plus size because of the stereotypes and misconceptions associated with it. Initiating more conversations about the experiences of plus-size individuals helps address the discomfort and creates platforms for not treating people differently on the basis of appearance.
By Kayla Dunn, Reporter
Graphic by: Shae-Lynn Henderson, Editor in Chief