Sinikka's snippets

Finland and travelling, a woman's life, cultures, languages, photography plus family recipes


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Let’s tackle an -ism

Sexism is alive and well, even in our ostensibly equal Finnish society. Sadly, I’ve also got to know ageism first-hand in recent years, with more and more frequent confrontation at schools between “the lazy old fogeys, enjoying too big salaries”, and “the enthusiastic, innovative, hard-working girls and boys, just out of university, with unfairly low pay checks”. Today, however, I want to rant about SIZEISM, which according to The Free Dictionary means

(Sociology) discrimination on the basis of a person’s size, esp against people considered to be overweight

Making the most of my week-long autumn break, and a crisp, sunny autumn day, I went round town today – window-shopping, and exploring the new autumn fashions. In one of our main department stores, I got enraged by the female dummies on display in their women’s fashion department. Why are the plus-size dolls faceless, hairless, dowdy,  shapeless blobs, stripped of all their femininity and beauty? Not to mention boring hair and ankles thick like tree trunks!

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They are just big, standing in forcefully masculine positions, rather like some law enforcement officers. No allure, no grace, not a hint of sexy! A far cry from the regular-size dolls, with shiny fashionable hairstyles, carefully made-up faces and flirty poses.

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True, there are also the “faceless” skinny dolls but at least they are somehow stylish and modern – not personified in a negative way. Or what do you think?

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Another question started bothering me, too. Why do you need different brands and manufacturers for different sizes of women here in Finland? Mostly, the plus size fashions also have limited colours, as if somebody forcing you into a dull colour scheme (black, brown, grey – possibly a bit of red!) beyond a certain dress size. Compared to Britain, for example, Finland is really backward in its treatment of curvy women. I love shopping in the UK where most retailers sell all fashions in all sizes!

Luckily, there’s online shopping! Finnish fashion designers and retailers should make an effort to tackle sizeism, or a sizeable proportion of their clientele will soon vote with their feet!

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