There seems to be a big focus on vanity sizing and the massive discrepancies between stores and the way they size their products at the moment. A shopping trip can find you wearing anything from a size 8-16 depending on the shop you decide to go in to – hell, even within the same shop, sizes can differ which can make shopping a bit tricky. I have read a couple of posts recently where girls have consoled each other over the sheer horror of having to wear an H and M size 14 – disclaimers everywhere saying ‘obvzzz a size 14 isn’t bad guyzzz, I’m just a 8 usually’ or some bollocks to that effect anyway where they pretend that they aren’t insulting the majority of women in the country by implying that few things in life come as close to sheer hell as having to wear a double digit label in their clothing. The underlying message on these posts seems to be ‘validate me’ ‘tell me I’m thin and beautiful’ etc etc and I think the bigger issue being overlooked here isn’t the confusing and conflicting sizing we now find everywhere but the massive pressure on girls to conform to a certain bodily ideal that doesn’t exist.

We have models in magazines so airbrushed and edited to buggery that their own parents couldn’t pick them out of a line up and yet these are the women we then set as benchmarks and beat ourselves up over when we can’t get, keep or maintain a similar figure. Of course we can’t because the bloody models themselves can’t. It isn’t real. The figures we see in magazines/films have been edited to be thinner, tighter, taller and more toned versions of themselves that are used the world over to keep us in a perpetual cycle of self loathing, despair and consumption. We shop in an attempt to make ourselves feel better and stores cash in on this by vanity sizing. When we can slink our way into an outfit a size smaller than we usually wear, we rush to the till in an attempt to keep that buzz going. So stores keep doing it. Obviously. They are businesses, not our friends. We have had it drummed into us that smaller is better – somewhere along the way, we have come to believe that we need to make ourselves invisible to be beautiful.

It makes me feel so sad and like we have gone fundamentally wrong somewhere when women use sizing as weapons against each other and themselves. I couldn’t care less what size I wear; lots of my clothes are different sizes and I just get over it. I don’t go home and cry a river because I couldn’t get my thighs into a size 10 pair of jeans because I have bigger things to worry about. I’m not immune to media pressure, I’m just not going to let it eat away at me. When I see a woman complaining about vanity sizing or the fact that, shock horror, they had to size up in a store I just think – sure love, your arse usually fits in a size small but your emotional baggage is clearly wearing an XXL and that’s what you need to worry about.

There seems to be this big push at the moment for everyone to start their ‘summer body’ diet and people using social media as a way of sharing their successes/failures at shedding the ‘extra’ weight. My twitter feed is constantly bombarded with diet tips, stories and pictures of someone’s ten calorie lunch. I’m all for self love and wanting to adore the body you have. If you feel unhealthy or really unhappy with your shape then by all means eat more veg, stop eating big macs, whatever works for you etc etc but think about the reasons first. If you are trying to lose weight because you ‘should’ or because you don’t look ‘right’ in this years summer dresses then say fuck off to diets. Say fuck off to people judging your food choices or ramming down your throat how dizzy they feel because they have only eaten a bread roll all day as if it’s something to be proud of. Say fuck off to shops who use stick thin mannequins to promote summer fashion and fuck off to magazines that tell you to nibble lettuce leaves and do an hour’s jogging everyday to fit into a bikini. Your body is beautiful because it is yours. I hate hearing women say how they have fat knees or the wrong body type to wear a certain outfit. How can it be wrong when the body it was originally modelled on doesn’t really exist? We have designers creating clothes for skeletons, magazines reinforcing this by editing bodies into non existence and then women starving themselves into submission and it’s all so tragically sad. When a women is preoccupied with her weight and counting the calorie of every tic tac, she isn’t tackling the real issues we face which is exactly the idea behind the whole media zoo. We are so busy worrying about our thighs that we forget about the pay gap or the increasing objectification of women or the low rape conviction rates or the increase in domestic violence statistics, the sexism women are facing on a daily basis.. We are letting this go because we are too worried about what size we are in Zara.

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  • http://charponnaise.blogspot.com Charponnaise

    Fuck the ‘summer body’, seriously.

    I guess maybe I’m talking from a somewhat blase point of view, as my shape and size fluctuates very little, but I find it so offensive that we’re all corralled into this ‘must prepare for the summer’ rush – another imaginary deadline for us to fail to meet. My idea of preparing for the summer is finding some prescription shades, some shoes that show my toes, and buying a bottle of limoncello.

    It also makes the assumption that we’re all going to spend the summer frying ourselves on a beach. I don’t think I’ve ever done this! The idea of the beach is much more appealing than the sandy, soggy, noisy-children-and-sunburn reality of it…. My summer downtime consists of picnicking in Peckham with friends who couldn’t give two shits about whether I’ve achieved the optimum level of tone (most of them are more interested in the football tbh), or if I’m lucky, city breaks in different countries. (And anyway, have you seen Italian women in bikinis? The 60 year olds on the beaches let it alllll hang out, and I don’t see any self-flagellation round their way.) I don’t tend to strut around London in a bikini, so I really don’t think it’s anybody’s business what state my tummy’s in.

    • em

      I love this comment, thank you. So many of my friends are currently on ‘summer diets’ and it makes me feel so sad. It is such a pointless exercise and it is so boring trying to go out for dinner with them at the moment! I hate that magazines churn out the same thing year after year. They guilt women into hating themselves and into starving themselves in search of a single digit summer dress and for what? It is crazy.
      I like to think that I am body confident because I see my body as ‘mine’ whatever shape it is in and I am proud of the things it allows me to do. xxx