Oh yeah, he was an overweight kid. So much so, that when my mother took me shopping for clothes I went to what I thought was a special clothing store for fat guys like me. Why did I think this? Because when I walked into the store, the tie open, the arm crossed, the shirt wrinkled, the salesman smoking cigarettes, he looked me from head to toe, looked at my mother, pointed to the back of the store and said: ” Husky “. “Gee, I felt special, until I found out that the store I was in was one of the only ones that sold clothes for fat children. Sure, I said it, for fat children, because that is how I felt like a fat child, and so on. I was treated; special stores for special children who were fat. My skinny friends bought clothes in all kinds of stores; I was relegated to a store and a style. I was certainly not one of the cool guys and sometimes I felt isolated and left out .
My father, who was a baseball fanatic, encouraged me to try out for the minor leagues. I remember during a game I struck out, I thought I walked and ran to third base. A laughingstock; 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 do like baseball, but it wasn’t great. I wasn’t cool until I was in seventh grade and attended a Catholic elementary school. We were playing a truck game on asphalt I and hit a baseball about 300 feet. Out of nowhere it was great. During the winter of 1968-69 I lost weight, exercised and got into excellent physical condition, and in the spring I played baseball with anyone who wanted to play. During my teens I played baseball in the Joe Medwick league, the Babe Ruth league, high school, and the American Legion leagues. Was it that good? No, but he knew what to compete. It could have been better, but I lacked confidence. I still felt the exclusion of the label that they put me when I was seven years old, Husky.
Children are overweight for various reasons; poor self-control, introduction of a poor diet, anxiety and comfort, to name a few. Clothing is now made for children of all shapes and sizes. Clothing should not define a child, but our society and culture create such clothing competition that socioeconomic status is defined by the types of clothing children wear that cause rumors, gossip, and ridicule at school. Children don’t know this, but they need to know that they cannot judge a book by its cover and that they cannot use clothing as a benchmark in determining 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 when teens lost weight to wear the fashion conscious clothes their peers wore. Now, they buy clothes from Target or Wal-Mart because, frankly, designer clothes are too expensive and they don’t care anymore. But when they were younger, the real reason they lost weight to wear designer clothes was because the designer forces exclusion by making clothes that only fit up to a size ten. My daughters weren’t even close to being overweight, yet they still had trouble shopping for designer clothes.
Abercrombie and Fitch just crossed the line redefining the word Husky. If you are Husky, please shop elsewhere because we do not make chubby children’s clothing. Why? Because cool has been defined as skinny, and those who aren’t just aren’t. They are cheering for strange kids as they may appear to be excluding their peers due to competition for clothing and body type. Exclusion is one of the worst forms of bullying that children experience today. The isolation and loneliness that children feel is appalling. The impact that a child’s self-esteem receives from exclusion can last a lifetime. The brainwashing our children are experiencing today by the media will affect them and possibly their children. We cannot allow our children to isolate, exclude, intimidate, or harass others on the basis of race, creed, color, or religion. But we really can’t allow the subliminal seduction of Abercrombie and Fitch, along with other clothing manufacturers, which is redefining us as a culture in the future and is affecting the well-being of our children just by being Husky.