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No Room For The Plus-Sized

So, I’ve recently started to work on my exit strategy. No longer am I talking or thinking about it, it’s time to put feet to this thing. I’m ready to start doing what I was created to do - full-time. And though I admire @IAmSteveHarvey, bestselling author of ‘Jump: Take the Leap of Faith toAchieve Your Life of Abundance’, I refuse to. That’s because I’ve felt froggy three times before and each leap led me into homelessness. So, this time, at 47, I’m being more strategic. Slowly preparing myself to write full-time. I’ve even cut my hours. Instead of working 40 hours a week, I work 37.5. The remaining time I call seed. Get it. ‘…seedtime and harvest.’ (Genesis 8:22) Yep, each week I dedicate those 2.5 hours (or more) towards working in the field; diligently working on several books, writing posts for my blogs and now, I’m venturing into freelancing.


An Upwork Leap®


I recently registered with Upwork®; ‘the world's largest online workplace where savvy businesses and professional freelancers go to work1.’ Only they won’t let me work. In the words of @DJ Khaled, ‘They don’t want me to be great.’ That’s because when I submitted my profile for review my headline read, ‘Curvy Plus Size Blogger’, while my description said, 


Need someone who can challenge your astute plus-size readers while simultaneously keep-it- one hundred with the thick chicks who flock to your blog? Because if that’s you, then I’m your Curvy Blogger. I understand the complexities of your brand. You’re a Lifestyle Blog who needs someone who has a refreshing take on simple subjects like health, fitness, beauty and fashion while at the same time being able to tackle tough topics like weight discrimination, size settling, and faith and sexuality. Though you want to you ensure your readers walk away with life-changing a-ha moments, you’re also practical which means you also want to be assured that each post is filled with content-rich keywords that’ll boost your SEO while simultaneously generating the hearts, likes, followers, shares, subscribers, and more importantly, the sales your brilliant brand needs. If that’s you, nice to meet you. My name is Staci and I’m ready to blog for you.


I know its not perfect, but it gets to the heart of what I do. And if you’re seeking a plus-size blogger, come from the plus-size community, or are a curvaceous woman yourself, then you get it. But apparently, the folks at Upwork® didn’t. Which is understandable, so I included:

Current retail customer service associate for foremost high-end retailer. Certified Life Coach and Author specializing in Singles Issues.Bridal, Food, Lifestyle, and Life Coaching Blogger Expertise in social media management for small business owners to include Life, Personal Development and Executive Business Coaches. Experienced also in Call Center and Performance Management, Real Estate Certified with Mortgage Banking Coursework.

When you combine the two, its not hard to ascertain that I’m a sister with a business background. No, I’m not a degreed professional, but I can do my thing. But again, the good folks at Upwork® thought otherwise because I received the following response:



In case you couldn’t see it, it reads, ‘We’ve reviewed your profile and currently our marketplace doesn’t have opportunities for your area of expertise.’ Oh, you mean the area of the plus-size fashion; who by the way is a 10 billion dollar a year industry2 according to IBIS World? Oh, that are, yeah right. 


Was it the ‘Curvy’ or the ‘Plus-Size’ Descriptor?


As a woman of color, I could have easily become offended and thought this was racial because clearly the words ‘curvy’ and ‘plus-size’ scream ethnicity. But because I know this is a global freelancing platform, its safe to assume that wasn’t the only reason for their decision. Which got me to thinking? Could this also be weight discrimination? To assume that none of their ‘five million registered clients3’ would need a Curvy Plus Size Blogger teeters on both racial and weight discrimination or at best, shows a lack of willingness to diversify their offerings to the over 180 countries that use their services. It just goes to show that in 2018, a global freelancing platform, such as Upwork®, has no idea that Black Panther® grossed over a billion in its first month or the fact that shows like ‘My Big Fat Fabulous Life’ or ‘My 600-lb Life’ are in their 5th and 8th seasons, respectively. They must not have known that Joel Book, Principal of Marketing Insights at Salesforce Marketing Cloud used the following slide in his, 'How Smart Brands Use Digital Marketing to Acquire, Engage, and Retain Customers' presentation during Salesforce's LIVE 2015 NYC Tour.


I’m sorry. Clearly, she’s a beautiful, curvaceous woman of color, whom Mr. Book made mention that ‘other’ consumers are listening to the 'wisdom' of. Is it safe to assume that the wisdom to which he referenced came from plus size women of color? Oh no, Upwork® couldn’t have known that either. And oh, they must not also be privy to the fact that according to the CDC, ‘more than one-third of adults are obese4’’ in the U.S. alone or the fact that the weight loss industry is a 68.2 billion-dollar industry5; which by the way primarily consists of… what for it…curvy, plus-size folks; who by the way may need to read a blog or two about health and fitness. No, they couldn’t have known all this. But perhaps their six global shareholders and board of Directors may want to bring this to their profile review team and reconsider that they’re possibly missing out on a market share that perhaps one day a curvy, plus size chick as myself, might take over…in my Austin Powers voice. I know it's Dr. Evil, but you get the point. :)


Big Girl Takeover


I wrote this post not out of bitterness of being rejected. Because if you knew my life story, then you know I am numb to rejection. I’m a big girl (no pun intended). I know how to take a no. But how many other curvy, plus-size people, of all nationalities have been rejected, simply because some thought there was no market share for what they had to offer? How many have walked away discouraged; only to be comforted by what caused them to be curvy in the first place? (#comfortfoods) Nope, I refuse to believe that there’s no opportunities or room for us on those platforms. Sure, we might need a little more room than others, but certainly we can add value to every industry. But for every door being guarded by those who try to ignore the plus-sized community, who by the way are too large to be overlooked; please know, we’re coming. One super market share at a time. (#icouldntresist) And in case you’re in need of a Curvy Plus Size Blogger, holla at ya girl at https://curvyplussizeblogwriting.godaddysites.com/. Oh, I wasn’t playing. I’m going to get my piece of that market share, one post at a time. And if you’re a plus-sizer, I encourage you to do the same. #thickfolksrock


SOURCES:

1, 3 - “Upwork.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 11 Mar. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upwork.

2 - Plus-Size Women's Clothing Stores - US Market Research Report.” Plus-Size Women's Clothing Stores (US) - Industry Report | IBISWorld, 11 Mar. 2018, www.ibisworld.com/industry-trends/specialized-market-research-reports/consumer-goods-services/apparel-accessories-stores/plus-size-womens-clothing-stores.html.

4 - https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html

5 - https://blog.marketresearch.com/top-6-trends-for-the-weight-loss-market-in-2018


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