Kitty Fisher

Size-positivity, feminism, self-esteem crises, ginormous tits.

Letter to Land’s End

Posted by Kitty on March 20, 2008

I’m a believer in polite protest. Every damn year I get Land’s End’s damn Swimsuit Catalogue and every damn year it says something like “Swimwear for everyone!” or “Swimsuits for Every Body!” and every damn year, right under that caption, it says, a little smaller, “Cups up to DD!”

Every Body does not have cups under DD. And rather than storm and rage and cuss them out for reminding me I’m a freak, I have started an annual tradition of writing them a polite letter.
So here’s my 2008 letter to Land’s End.

Dear Land’s End,

I wrote to you last year this time to say this, and I’ll probably write a letter annually, but I live in eternal hope.
Ever since I was a child it has been an annual tradition to get a swimsuit from Land’s End. It was one of the few things on which my mother would splurge. But in my late teens, I began to have trouble. The largest cup size the suits go to is a DDD, and at 18 I was already an E. Now I am 28, and I wear a 34H.
The Internet has been my salvation; I have found that there are thousands of women in the world just like me. And the Internet makes it easy to order garments in just my size from manufacturers half a world away that understand that women come in more sizes than 34, 36, 38 A, B, C. Over 50% of British women are a D-cup or above, according to a 2006 survey by the bra company Triumph. More dangerously, a study by the British Journal of Plastic Surgery determined that 100% of women seeking breast reductions were wearing the wrong size bra, meaning that most of the medical symptoms leading them to seek out this dangerous surgical intervention were caused by improper undergarments rather than any real flaw in their bodies.

So I have learned not to be ashamed of my “fat” anymore, and not to squeeze into something that doesn’t fit or flatter me– not only is it deadly to my self-esteem, but it’s also potentially risky to my health.

But I miss Land’s End. And the years I spent ashamed, wearing big t-shirts with an old bra underneath at the beach instead of the cute swimsuits my friends wore, have left me more sensitive than I’d like to be. And so, again, when I get the annual swimwear catalog, proudly proclaiming that you have a suit for every body… It hurts a bit. No, you don’t. You don’t have anything for me. Or for the thousands of women like me that I’ve met online and swapped resources with. We all have to import from Britain, because there is no US company that believes that women above a DD-cup deserve to dress up pretty at the beach. We spend millions of dollars annually, and cannot support domestic industry.

Lane Bryant has recently put out a line of lingerie stores, Cacique, that cater to the D+ market. So there is progress; we Americans are overcoming our body shame, and our corporations are noticing how much money we’re bleeding into the British bra/swimsuit market. (They still only have 38 bands and up, because they do not understand that even thin women can be F-cups, but at least it is progress. I can hope that someday I can buy a bra in the mall, though still not today.)

So, my hope springs eternal. I hope that someday I can go back to buying Land’s End bathing suits. I used to hope that I would magically grow thinner, but I have realized that this is the size I was meant to be. I am strong and healthy and turn heads on the street, and I am confident enough that this summer I have a bikini to wear. But I had to import it: it is not a Land’s End bikini. It is not as well-made. It will only last me this one summer.

Please re-consider your demographics. There are more women shaped like me than you’d think. How much more would it really cost to expand the range of sizes you offer? How much do you stand to profit by it? American women are learning to love their bodies regardless of not being able to fit into “regular sizes”– there have been articles in the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and segments on national television shows about us.

In short, thank you for offering quality products. Please offer them to me. I have money I would rather give you than send overseas, especially given the current exchange rate and economy. Just think about it, that’s all.

Sincerely,

[my name]
Long-time customer

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