Bid farewell to a stiff neck or a sore back.
Where has the time gone?
Tania Boler of Elvie on breaking taboos and raising awareness
Learning how to use nature to benefit your mental health is about so much more than just going for a walk
And we love her dress
We can't keep track
The new series stars Lily James and Dominic West
Adapted from Nancy Mitford’s breakthrough novel, the BBC drama also stars Dominic West and Andrew Scott
The Big Green List Holiday Guide: Everything you need to know In full: the confirmed green list countries In full: the confirmed amber list countries I’ve spent years ignoring mainstream destinations. Am I a snob? Comment: the UK's travel 'green list' is laughably off-limits Bookings for Portugal holidays are surging, despite the country's borders remaining closed to tourists. In the wake of the green list announcement, tour operator Jet2 is reporting a 1,300pc week-on-week rise in holiday reservations, while Ryanair has released an additional 175,000 seats on its UK-Portugal routes this summer. Holiday agency Not Just Travel is experiencing a 'frenzy of activity' for Portugal bookings, according to co-founder Steve Witt, and Tui has also announced new flights between the UK and Madeira and the Algarve. However, Portugal remains off-limits to tourism, with no indication of when holidays may resume. As the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office warns, 'If you are travelling from the UK, you can only enter [Portugal] for essential purposes, such as to live with immediate family members, or for professional, educational, health or humanitarian reasons.' Travel agencies are selling Portugal itineraries in the hope that the country's restrictions may ease, but if tourism remains off-limits they will be forced to rebook or refund holidaymakers. Some are more cautious than others: while Ryanair's new flights will launch on May 17, Jet2 has delayed its resumption of flights and holidays until June 24. Portugal is one of just 12 destinations on the 'green list', announced by transport secretary Grant Shapps last week – meaning that holidays can resume from May 17, and travellers returning to the UK will not be required to quarantine. Scroll down for more on this, and today's other top travel stories.
Audacity. It’s the first word that comes to mind when I think of Ziwe Fumudoh. The comedian is unabashed, unashamed, and bold in her challenges to the status quo. But as a fellow Nigerian American, I grew up with the word being deployed as a way to denote how “disrespectful” I was or how my directness made those around me uncomfortable. Back then, the word was a barrier for me. For Ziwe, it’s a strength. And yet, the word doesn’t nearly do enough justice to describe how the effervescent Ziwe challenges her “iconic” (read: infamous) celebrity guests on her Instagram Live show Baited and now on her new eponymous Showtime variety show, in a world where it is the norm to tip-toe around today’s most controversial social issues. From calling out white supremacy and challenging “allyship” with polarising guests like Alison Roman, Alyssa Milano, Rose McGowan and Caroline Calloway to straight up asking Slave Play playwright Jeremy O. Harris “Why do you hate Black women?” Ziwe’s carefully crafted (and hilarious) questions are beyond mere audacity. It’s a testament to her unshakable ability to authentically channel her genuine curiosity about the provocative and the taboo and shows her reverence for the often very serious topics that she tackles, head-on. Over Zoom, Ziwe tells R29 Unbothered that her goal is “not about putting people in the hot seat… it’s honestly about having impactful conversations.” The 29-year-old has been facilitating these kinds of conversations for years and showcasing her comedic versatility by also writing on hit shows like Desus & Mero and voicing Kamala Harris in Our Cartoon President. But her musical career — mainly her pop album, Generation Ziwe — is one of the clearest examples of Ziwe’s command of comedy as a way to cut through the fluff. Her Showtime variety series, Ziwe, is the riotous culmination of all of her talents and passions. Ahead of the premiere, the comedian talks white guilt, her musical career, girl-bossing, and why Fenty is her secret weapon. R29 Unbothered: Bring us in on the beauty routine, because when I tell you we see your skin glistening from space! I need to know the daily routine. Ziwe Fumudoh: “My beauty routine? Well, I have makeup on [right now]. And it was done by this brilliant, talented makeup artist named Rebecca. But as far as my actual routine, I mean, I wash my face and I use this toner and then I use some essence and then lotion. I hydrate! I put on a lot of lotion. I wear sunscreen. Sunscreen, even if you’re Black, is really great. So, that’s probably my secret.” What’s your favourite sunscreen? Because I know they have a couple out there. ZF: “I use Fenty actually! Shout out to Rihanna!” [Laughs] Let’s talk about your music singles. We need to know: what is your favorite single that you’ve made and do you have any singles coming up? ZF: “On the Showtime show, one of my favourite songs — I love all the songs — but one of the songs that you’re going to die over is a song called “Stop Being Poor” which I recorded with Patti Harrison, who’s this brilliant comedienne who is starring in this film called Together Together with Ed Helms. But it is absolutely a banger. What I like about my music is that it combines social issues with actual bops. So you’re going to get that tenfold on my Showtime show.” “I think my Instagram live shows and the corresponding Showtime show reflect on how you process that weird, awkward anxiety of talking about race, but not wanting to talk about race.”ZIWE FUMUDOH I love your song “Universal Healthcare.” ZF: [singing] “‘Universal healthcare! Universal healthcare!’ I mean, what is a deductible? I’m still waiting! The jury’s out on that.” Healthcare in this country is hard. And they make it that way on purpose. ZF: “It’s so much paperwork. SO MUCH paperwork. Julio Torres is an interview guest on one of my [upcoming] episodes about immigration. And we’re talking about what is the hardest part about being American. And Julio Torres says, “There’s a lot of paperwork.” Which I think is such an honest, vulnerable answer. So shout out to him.” An important question about your Baited series: Has any white person apologized to you in the last year? We had this summer last year where white guilt was at an all-time high. ZF: “You know, last summer, I got a flurry of text messages from people of all races and creeds just checking in, which—don’t text me!” [Laughs]. Absolutely. If you’re going to check in, I can give you my CashApp or my Venmo. Check-in materially, because I don’t like being on the phone. ZF: “Time is money. In the words of Kari Faux, ‘No small talk!’” None. What my show aims to do is to bring levity and add jokes to this real, real, real experience… You’re watching me heal in real-time. Ziwe fumudoh ZF: “Last summer was such an interesting time, because suddenly, [it seemed like] we as a collective unit discovered that racism was like a plague and that was really weird. It was a really, really weird experience. And I think that my Instagram live shows and the corresponding Showtime show reflect on how you process that weird, awkward anxiety of talking about race, but not wanting to talk about race, but doing it because it’s at the crux of every aspect of our world. And so we have really funny conversations [on the show].” I like that you mentioned that about your show because there’s a lot of pressure for Black hosts and comedians — whoever — to directly address race 24/7. How do you navigate doing that? Because it’s something that is, unfortunately, part of our experience. ZF: “You know, I’m no different than any other Black woman who’s existed in this country for the majority of [their life] where I have been talking about race, against my will, mind you, since I could speak. I’ve had to confront these demons all my life. So, what you’re watching on my Showtime show is just permutations of my real conversations in real life. I’ve been at a party where someone has cornered me to talk about their Black nanny. And I’m like, ‘Wait, why are you bringing this up?’ We’re strangers to each other. Or someone’s talking about their Black friends and it’s like, dude, we’re at a Wendy’s and [they’re] a stranger, you know? I’ve had these experiences all my life. So what my show aims to do is to bring levity and add jokes to this real, real, real experience that all of us can relate to. You’re watching me heal in real-time with these conversations.” Let us talk about this Zoom background*, because I’m feeling it! What was the inspiration for it?* (The background is from Midsommar, and shows the film’s character Dani adorned with flowers and her May Queen flower crown) ZF: “I think it kind of reflects my comedy! I love that it looks like I’m just in a beautiful flower meadow. And then [when I move to the right] you reveal that it’s the May Queen [behind me] and there’s about to be a murder. I like the [initial] palatability and then when you digest it, it’s kind of harsh. I think that my art kind of reflects that where it’s super, super saccharine, intentionally so. And then when you process it, it’s actually talking about complicated socio-political issues.” Follow-up question about Midsommar: What do you think about it currently representing the category of “The Good for Her” (women getting revenge on men) genre of movies? ZF: “You know, I embrace any girl-boss, murderer or not.” You know, we don’t get to be “bad” often. ZF: “I think there should be more villains, honestly!” Who is your dream guest? Who would you really [like] to put in the hot seat? ZF: “It’s not about putting people in the hot seat, and it’s honestly about having really impactful conversations because I see my respective guests not as anomalies. They exist in this greater society and they are more reflective of the cultures in which we all grew up and out of. So, there’s no one I want to put on blast, but I think that I would love to have a conversation [with Kim Kardashian]. Kim Kardashian is one of the most fascinating characters in American history. I think she has a lot of really important things to say about social justice and race. And I’d love to have a conversation with her. I think it would be impactful overall. That’s a guest that I would be honored to converse with, but not to put on blast, because I think that she’s iconic. Truly.” Do you think there’ll be any concerns? Because obviously, that family is associated with appropriation, whether people like it or not. Do you think there will be any concerns about having a guest like that on? ZF: “I think my audience would be delighted to see me interview anyone. Because I take the time, hopefully, to treat each interview with care and precision and research and ask really fun, lighthearted, but also meaningful questions. So if you’re asking, ‘Would my audience be disappointed?’ I think only after the fact if they felt that I was disappointing. But I would work very hard to not let them down because I have so much respect for my audience, and for myself, and for my respective guests.” This interview has been edited for clarity and length. Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?How Black Women Are Finding The Joy In InvestingEating Disorders In The Black CommunityMore & More Black Women Are Moving Out Of London
Plenty of true stories are adapted for television and one of the most widely acclaimed of the last few years is the BAFTA-winning drama Three Girls. Discussing the 2012 child grooming and sexual abuse scandal in Rochdale, the series was praised for its deeply affecting story and impact in raising awareness of trafficking in the public eye. Now, the executive producers of the series are returning to the BBC with a new and equally powerful true story, Three Families, which centres around the historic abortion restrictions that plagued Northern Ireland for centuries. Based on the real-life experiences of three women, the two-part drama explores how access to safe pregnancy termination was denied to so many before the historic decriminalisation in 2019. Not that it shies away from the barriers to abortion which remain in place for many. Set in 2015, main character Theresa (Sinéad Keenan) is a part-time hairdresser and mother to a 15-year-old daughter and infant son. Her eldest, Orla (Lola Petticrew), stressed about her school exams, eventually reveals she’s pregnant. Panicked, the pair discuss the options available but without legal access to safe abortion procedures, they struggle. Elsewhere, we meet Hannah (Amy James-Kelly) and Jonathan (Colin Morgan), newlyweds who are desperate to start a family. After months of trying, Hannah eventually becomes pregnant but when a 20-week scan reveals a fatal foetal abnormality, the couple’s world is turned on its head. We also meet 40-year-old Rosie (Genevieve O’Reilly), who returns home to Northern Ireland when she finds out she is having a baby with her husband David (Prasanna Puwanarajah). ‘Geriatric’ pregnancy scans reveal the devastating news that the baby has a rare, life-threatening disorder, leaving the couple with a difficult decision to make. By introducing a cast of women in diverse situations, Three Families shows the multitude of ways in which depriving women of legal abortions is a violation of basic human rights. With choice-based and wellbeing-based terminations both up for discussion, the series debunks criteria-based debates, proving that the circumstances leading to an individual abortion are never more or less valid than someone else’s. Often we centre the United States when it comes to pro-life vs pro-choice debates but Three Families is a reminder that the issue is a lot closer to home than some may think. From protesters outside Marie Stopes clinics to strict religious beliefs shaping viewpoints, the parallels between the two countries are drawn eerily clearly. Though it’s certainly a heavy watch, Three Families does the important job of showing how reproductive rights continue to be a source of contention. The Act that criminalised abortion in Northern Ireland may have been repealed in 2019 but a recent Stormont vote proves that politicians in the country are still trying to restrict access to safe abortions. While the new 2020 framework allows lawful abortion to take place at up to 12 weeks, Amnesty International has cited the existence of a postcode lottery, with abortion clinics in some areas shutting down due to lack of resources, leaving many without access to services. This might feel a world away from the experiences of the rest of the UK but, shockingly, abortion is still criminalised in England, Scotland and Wales. As R29 UK’s #ImACriminal campaign highlighted, the 1967 Abortion Act legalised abortion under certain conditions but it did not overturn the 1861 Offences Against The Person Act, specifically sections 58 and 59, which mean that abortion is still – technically – a criminal offence. This means that while abortions can be freely and legally accessed in Britain, abortion remains a legal matter rather than a health issue in the eyes of the law. Three Families successfully illuminates how the UK failed the women of Northern Ireland by excluding them from the 1967 legislation update. With moving performances, the miniseries shows the never-ending reasons why someone may choose to have an abortion and handles each individual story with sensitivity and care – just as it should be handled in the real world. Honest, timely and raw, the series is a stark reminder of history’s failings and of how far we still have to go until all women have the right to choose. Three Families airs on Monday 10th May and Tuesday 11th May on BBC One. Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?You Can Now Get Abortion Pills Delivered At HomeAbolishing The Hyde Amendment Is Just The StartWhy Poland's New Abortion Law Is Causing Protests
“Women are more likely than men to be under treated or inappropriately diagnosed and treated for their pain,” wrote Dianne E. Hoffmann and Anita J. Tarzian in their 2001 paper, “The Girl Who Cried Pain: A Bias Against Women in the Treatment of Pain“. Twenty years later, the gender health gap that they were talking about persists. Last year, as part of our Uncharted Bodies investigation, Refinery29 submitted a series of Freedom of Information requests to the NHS. We asked how long women suffering from endometriosis, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and vaginismus were having to wait for specialist referrals. NHS England said that they “do not hold this information” while, at a local level, several NHS trusts said that they do not collect information “at a condition level” at all. This means that while they collect data on ‘gynaecology’ broadly, they do not specifically record it “at a condition level” – i.e. whether the patient had endometriosis, PMDD or vaginismus. This is despite the fact that these are different conditions, requiring different treatments and specialisms. What this highlighted was that, despite clear evidence for there to be a focus on women’s health, the NHS wasn’t collecting data on this issue. And without data, how could they know that women were getting the treatment they needed, let alone improve services? Data provides information. Information enables the NHS to work out which treatments are funded, which clinics are opened and properly resourced. Without it, informed decisions cannot be made. Our investigation highlighted that the gender health gap was underpinned by a data gap because the NHS was not recording data on women’s health. That could be about to change. Although women make up 51% of the population, there is less evidence and data on how health conditions affect women differently. The government has launched a call for evidence so that they can better understand women’s experiences of the health and care system. Women are being urged to share their experiences to form the basis of the new Women’s Health Strategy. The strategy will set “an ambitious and positive new agenda to improve health and wellbeing and ensure health services are meeting the needs of women”. You have a chance to tell the Department of Health about your experience. In doing so, you could shape policy in years to come. All you have to do is submit your experience by filling out this online consultation. It will run until 13th June. As things stand, less is known about conditions that only affect women, including common gynaecological conditions which can have severe impacts on health and wellbeing but for which there is currently little treatment. A key example of this is endometriosis, where the average time for a woman to receive a diagnosis is seven to eight years, with 40% of women needing 10 or more GP appointments before being referred to a specialist. There is also evidence that the impact of female-specific health conditions such as heavy menstrual bleeding, endometriosis, pregnancy-related issues and the menopause on women’s lives is overlooked. This includes the effect they can have on women’s participation in the workplace. As well as health issues specific to women such as reproductive health, the strategy will look at the different ways in which women experience health issues that affect both women and men. Women with health conditions such as diabetes, heart conditions and osteoarthritis are also being urged to share how their condition has affected them. This initiative is crucial. According to the Office for National Statistics, although women’s life expectancy is higher than men’s in the UK, women on average spend less of their life in good health compared with men. Since the 1980s, women’s life expectancy in this country has been improving more slowly than men’s life expectancy. By submitting your story to the government’s consultation on women’s health you can help to fix this by closing the gender health data gap. High quality research and evidence is essential to delivering improvements in women’s health yet studies suggest that gender biases in clinical trials and research are contributing to worse health outcomes for women. Although women make up 51% of the population, there is less evidence and data on how conditions affect women differently. A University of Leeds study showed that women with a total blockage of a coronary artery were 59% more likely to be misdiagnosed than men, and found that UK women had more than double the rate of death in the 30 days following a heart attack compared with men. There’s a long way to go to fix the gender medical gap but this consultation is, at least, a start. The Minister for Women’s Health Nadine Dorries told Refinery29: “For generations, women have been living in a health and care system primarily designed by men, for men. I urge every woman, if they have not yet, to come forward and respond to the call for evidence. It is only by hearing the experiences and priorities of women from all walks of life, that we can truly develop a strategy that works for all women.” Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Why We're Exploring The Gender Health GapFinally Some Good News About The Gender Health GapWhat Causes PMDD? Yeah, They Don't Know
In our series Salary Stories, women with long-term career experience open up about the most intimate details of their jobs: compensation. It’s an honest look at how real people navigate the complicated world of negotiating, raises, promotions and job loss, with the hope it will give young women more insight into how to advocate for themselves — and maybe take a few risks along the way.Been in the workforce for at least five years and interested in contributing your salary story? Submit your information here. R29 pays £100 for each published story.Age: 33Location: CheshireCurrent industry and job title: Financial Services, Senior Content StrategistCurrent salary: £45,000Number of years employed since school or university: 10Starting salary: £18,525 in 2011Biggest salary jump: £37,000 to £49,000 in 2017Biggest salary drop: £49,000 to £45,000 in 2019Biggest negotiation regret? My biggest negotiation regret is only negotiating on salary and not overall package. When I accepted my current role I was so excited that the pay drop I was taking to relocate cross-country was much less than I expected that I didn't think about where else I was losing out. And, it turns out, my salary might be generous but the overall package is pretty basic. No bonus scheme, no benefits, bare minimum holiday allowances and pension contributions. I think I would have actually taken a smaller salary to have more generosity elsewhere in my package.Best salary advice: You can't rely on your employer to benchmark your salary and make sure they're paying you a fair market rate. You have to do it yourself, so keep your finger on the pulse of the job market – even if you're not actively looking for a new job – and if you find you could earn more elsewhere (and not just one job offering a crazy high salary, I'm talking across the board other companies are offering more for your role than you're paid), flag it with your manager, or jump.In 2011 I started my first job as a project co-ordinator on £9.50/hour (£18,525 equivalent). This was a fixed term contract with an enormous UK business, running a seasonal project, hence the hourly rate rather than annual salary. I'd done temp contracts in various departments at this company in university summer holidays and had a good reputation for being a good worker. This helped me secure a better hourly rate than if I was new and unknown.In 2012 I took a new job as a marketing assistant. My first job out of uni had exposed me to lots of different areas of business and marketing was something I was interested in and had an aptitude for – particularly content creation. So when an opportunity came up, I jumped at it. My manager, when making me the offer, asked me what salary I wanted. The job involved relocating so I did a bit of research on rent costs in the area and how much I'd need to run a car and went back with £28,000, but I really had no idea if that was fair. I was eventually offered £25,000, which turned out to be more than enough. And I never bothered buying a car!This was a raise to £30k in the same role when I relocated (again!) to London, to accommodate the more expensive cost of living. I didn't negotiate for this raise, it was offered and also came with a generous relocation allowance. In hindsight I wish I had negotiated, and for more. In real terms I was worse off, as my living and transport costs more than doubled, but I was young, still junior in the company so didn't want to push my luck, and really wanted to move to London!This was a weird one. I wasn't promoted as much as my job title changed to marketing executive to reflect the work I was already doing, and the salary raise (£33k) was framed to me as "a raise to allow for inflation". Around this time I started to experience mental health problems that were later diagnosed as high-functioning depression and generalised anxiety disorder. I was crippled by a lack of confidence and, given the company I worked for had not long since made about a third of the staff redundant, was terrified of going the same way if I dared to express any dissatisfaction with my salary or attempt to negotiate. So I just got on with it, even though I wasn't happy.This was a promotion to marketing manager that came at the peak of my mental health troubles. I was so surprised to get it that I didn't negotiate, even though I wasn't happy with the raise I was given (£37.5k). My illness had me convinced that I didn't deserve the promotion in the first place and that my employers would have put a lot of thought into what I was worth to arrive at this number. It's only years later and from a position of wellness that I can see that my brain was lying to me on all fronts.In 2017 I was given a raise to £45,000. This rose to £47,500 in early 2018 and £49,000 in late 2018, all as raises in the same role. I'd been unhappy with my salary for a while and was not-so-subtly looking elsewhere. There was some chat in my company about salaries (to which I listened but didn't contribute) and I knew I was paid much less than others of a similar seniority. Because they didn't like the salary chat, my employer undertook a company-wide salary review, benchmarking us all against the market, and restructured salaries. Some people took cuts (and most of them quit pretty rapidly) but I got a chunky raise plus confirmation of further increases in the next 12 months, and a drunken apology from the then-new HR director, who said she couldn't believe how badly underpaid I was compared to others in my team and how sorry she was that her predecessor had allowed that to happen.In 2019 I got a promotion, a relocation and a pay cut. My partner and I wanted out of London as we knew we couldn't afford to buy the kind of property we wanted there, so we moved to Manchester. He works remotely so had no change to his salary but I had to find a new job. I was expecting to have to drop back to £40k base salary and the role I accepted (senior content strategist) was originally advertised at this salary. But after interviewing me and letting slip that they'd been admiring my work from afar without knowing it was mine, the hiring manager decided to offer me more. I was incredibly flattered by this but it stopped me seeing how basic the rest of my package was. When I eventually added it up, I worked out that I was about £15k down on my total remuneration package vs if I had been promoted at my last London employer (which wasn't on the cards).My manager and I have a pretty open discourse about salaries and package. I've shared my thoughts on remuneration and how since the pandemic and the rise of remote working, they have to compete not just with the local area on this but with the whole country. I'm transparent about the fact that I regularly benchmark my salary and overall package against other jobs, locally and nationally (offering remote working), and he knows that I stay in this job because it's paying me competitively for now. If it ever wasn't, I'd say something or jump to a new opportunity!Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?I Took A 32k Pay Cut When I Quit My 'Dream' JobI Doubled My 50k Salary With A Contract ChangeMoney Diary: 29-Year-Old Marketing Manager On 125k
For years my mother has raved about George at ASDA bras, not just because of the high quality or low price but due to the vast array of sizes. I inherited my 38F cups from my mam, who wears a similar size (which she would prefer me not to detail on the internet). Because of our analogous breasts, she has always been keen to recommend great places to shop for brassieres and her firm favourite, as stated above, is the George line of lingerie. Being a brat in my teens and early 20s – and in some ways, wishing away my fatter frame by squeezing into badly sized, higher end lingerie brands – I ignored her sage advice to shop in supermarkets for my bras. Until, that is, non-essential shops closed due to lockdown measures. After exhausting what the internet had to offer me in lieu of my lingerie addiction, I found myself sorting through what the supermarkets had up for grabs. View this post on Instagram A post shared by GINA TONIC (@princessgeorgina) What I found wasn’t just the cutest metallic zebra print set of all time (for £12!) but a full clothing line that was more size-inclusive than anything I’d ever found on the high street. In the ASDA I attended, at least, clothing was stocked up to a size 26 and there are even more sizing options available online – up to a size 30, which can be ordered through a free click and collect service. Similarly, Tu at Sainsbury’s stocks up to a size 26 and even up to a bra band size 44, while F&F at Tesco stocks up to a size 22. All three aforementioned stores offer tall, short and regular sizing across their ranges. While these may not be the most inclusive size ranges in the world, it’s worth celebrating the accessibility of these sizes in a time where almost all plus-size shopping must be done online. The most impressive part of these clothing lines is not just that they are stocked in such easily accessible spaces but that the lines don’t differentiate themselves at all. High street stores which stock plus sizes often keep them in a dark corner in the back, in styles completely different from the main line, or don’t stock them in store at all. In contrast, the supermarkets above carry their plus sizes alongside their straight sizes, meaning that their bigger sizes are sized up in the main line and are not a separate collection altogether. Hollie, a 35-year-old plus-size blogger who wears a size 22-26, says this is one of the main reasons why she likes to shop supermarket clothing lines. “The fact they can offer plus sizes up to a size 24 where some huge retailers only go up to a 16 or 18 is quite shocking really.” She continues: “Don’t get me wrong, yes they can do better – what about those above a 24? Or in the latter end of the 20s size range? – but we need to applaud that they are actually offering a plus-size range and the range is always alongside the rest of the collection. They haven’t forgotten that plus-size people shop for clothes too.” View this post on Instagram A post shared by Hollie B – Family | Fashion (@hollieplus) Rhiannon, a 23-year-old who wears a size 20, agrees. “I’ve never had a problem finding something that will fit me in a supermarket clothing section,” she enthuses. “I’m not sure everyone will feel the same, but from what I’ve seen in supermarket fashion marketing, the focus is on the comfort of the clothing. There isn’t a ‘perfect body image’ being shoved down your throat when you’re trying to buy a chunky cardigan or a big fuzzy jumper.” Speaking to me via email, Tu tells me that this is a purposeful decision as “inclusivity is at the heart of Tu”. They explain: “With every campaign Tu strives to be the most inclusive clothing retailer. We also cast for diversity and inclusivity, this doesn’t mean a tick box exercise or meeting certain criteria, it’s about creating a culture on set and through the process that drives genuine inclusivity.” Tu also confirmed that they are working on extending their size range towards the end of this year. Not everyone has stumbled across inclusive and cute supermarket clothing by physically visiting the shops. A highly popular TikTok trend of ‘supermarket hauls‘ showcases the trendiest clothes these stores have to offer, with some TikTokers even comparing the shops’ brands to the high street. Just like past me, these people didn’t expect supermarket clothing to be up to scratch for any fans of fashion. Katy, a 24-year-old who wears a size 18/20, says this is in part due to classism. “It’s partly because we don’t think of supermarkets as ‘glamorous’ and that there is still a perception that they do ‘old lady clothes’.” She adds: “There is also a classist element because the clothes aren’t just cheap but convenient too; you don’t have to do a trip separate from your food shop to access them.” It’s a hard pill to swallow that inclusivity may mean that people think lesser of brands, in particular those that cater to bigger sizes and wider class ranges, but exclusivity has been a selling point for luxury brands for years. Just as high end trends make their way down to the high street and eventually cheaper brands, so too does the attitude of being able to access fashions that others can’t – so those who don’t need to source clothing from supermarkets find themselves looking down on those who do. That said, attitudes towards exclusive brands are changing. After being attacked for its transphobic and fatphobic rhetoric towards its customers, Victoria’s Secret attempted to rebrand itself as “woke” last year. The lack of authenticity and blatant money grab was derided and since then the brand has had to close stores and sell assets to stay afloat. With attitudes about inclusivity changing alongside supermarket clothing becoming more and more trend-driven, it only makes sense that their fashion offerings are finding success. Hopefully, the inclusive nature of having plus sizes simply be extended sizes in the main range, rather than a forgotten afterthought, will become a staple for all brands – not just those you can pick up while grabbing a meal deal. Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?
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