Today, I read an article on Discovery news entitled, “Women’s Clothing Sizes: Is a 4 Really a 4?” and it hit a sore spot within my psyche. From the article for those of you not interested in reading it:
- As Americans have grown bigger, clothing sizes have become more generous.
- The way clothes fit has a big impact on how women feel about their bodies and themselves.
- In general, most clothes don’t fit most people very well.
None of this is unfamiliar to us these days, but it was the last paragraph of the article, a quote from researcher Lenda Jo Connell from Auburn University, that made me decide to write a post. She said, “Research shows that women tend not to say, ‘These manufacturers need to get off it and figure out good sizing that fits the American public,” Connell said. “They say, ‘I don’t fit the average size, and there’s something wrong with me.’ I think it’s really devastating to so many people.” (emphasis mine)
It IS devastating. Ellie probably can’t tell you the number of times I’ve have breakdowns in the middle of a store dressing room, or how many shirts I have that are slightly too big because it’s easier than worrying about the possibility of the little rolls on my back showing, or to hide the size and shape of my chest. I’d seriously wear super-strength sports bras all the time except I think they make me look worse than regular bras. The number 1 reason I don’t wear skirts other than when I dress up? Because it’s too much work to find shorts that will look okay under them, I don’t like the look of leggings, and spanx are too uncomfortable to wear unless I have to.I’ve essentially stopped wearing shorts because I’m so mentally and physically uncomfortable in them when I sit or walk. I try to avoid button-down blouses just in case there is gaping. I can’t go shopping alone because I will second, third, and fourth guess everything until I’m in a panic.
I’ll admit that I loathe my body. You name a part, and I hate it, except my eyes. Those are the 2 things on my entire body that can be seen without machines that don’t make me want to cry when looking at them. And I even want to replace those by getting Lasik.
Am I hideous? No, and I realize there are people out there with bigger problems, but it doesn’t make mine any less difficult to live with. I also know that I’m not alone, which makes me feel a little better, but fails to solve the problem, which is continually perpetuated and reinforced by media and designers.