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.
One thing about Microsoft Office pisses me off to no end. Maybe I’m pretentious, or maybe I’ve spent too much time with Jeremy, or MAYBE, it’s because I used to read too much, but I cannot STAND the fact that the default font for the entire suite is Calibri. Calibri is what’s called a “sans-serif” font, which means it doesn’t have the little lines at the end of each stroke. Apparently, the reason for this is that it’s more “web and computer graphic friendly,” but I personally think it looks childish.
Yesterday morning on the T, a woman was typing what appeared to be a formal letter (it was to a Doctor Someone, expressing disappointment about him/her not participating in a research project), and she hadn’t (or wasn’t going to) changed the font. It looked ridiculous to me. The first thing I do when I get a new computer is change the default font for the entire suite–I’m a big fan of Book Antiqua for my day-to-day work, but play with others depending on the occasion. I think 99% of the time, I’m using a font with serifs.
Since I started writing this yesterday, I’ve paid extra attention to forms, mailings and other print media–such a huge portion of it is in a sans-serif font! Maybe I’m antiquated; that’s got to be it.
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A journal I read often discusses how, due to her mental illness, she often doesn’t always have the “spoons” to do a ton of stuff or be invoked in every little thing. After reading it again last night, I decided to look up what exactly she meant by this term. It was surprisingly easy to find the Theory of the Spoons, created by Christine Miserandino at But You Don’t Look Sick.com. I HIGHLY recommend you read her personal story and check out the website more in depth.
In a nutshell, people who live with some type of illness, be it physical or mental, go through life with a limited number of spoons (what she used to illustrate her story) to perform daily tasks. Everything, from getting up, to eating, to going back to bed can use up a spoon, so we have created a system that best utilizes those spoons we have. Unfortunately, things like stubbing your toe, forgetting to pick up cat food, unexpectedly snapping about a mess in the house (to use personal examples), can also take away a spoon or two, leaving you with fewer spoons to do the regular things.
How perfect is this illustration?? I wish the site had more about mental illness, but that’s not (as far as I have read) her condition. And mental illness does seem to have a lot more support (we have ribbons and websites and TONS of medication commercials!! …) than hidden physical illnesses, so I will give her that.
Christine, thank you for this, I only wish I’d found it earlier.
This past Sunday, a woman I grew up with, and had re-connected with a few weeks ago, killed herself by injesting cyanide she had taken from the lab she worked at. She lived up the street from where I grew up, and some years we took teh same buss to school. We were in most of the same classes, and had even begun to become friendly in the 8th grade–if I’d stayed in my town’s public school, I could have actually considered her a friend.
Yet, because of teh way she took her life, she is plastered all over the news, and all the media can discuss is the fact that she stole cyanide from her lab (and of course she worked at the same university I attend, so I’m getting updates through my school email as well as the media) and how “very, very dangerous” all of this is and “OMG, TERRORISTS could get cyanide too!!” A couple of articles even discussed for a hot second the possibility that she was accidentally killed by the stash she was intending to sell.
I’m not saying that the university shoulnd’t review their lab policies; or even that teh state and local officials shouldn’t be investigating the policies in place at other schools and companies that have dngerous chemicals. I’m just wonderign where teh humanity is in all of this. Sure, a few of the articles have mentioend the good-bye post she made on Facebook, or that she was a figure skater and had just been accepted into a Master’s program, but that info takes up about 1 or 2 sentences compared to the 2-3 paragraphs devoted to the cyanide.
Maybe I’m asking too much because I knew her. But maybe I’m not.
Last week was, in many ways, my first official week of the new academic year, although today is my first day of classes. Monday I had a quick meeting at WIT with the Desk Attendants, Tuesday I went in to MCP early because I had to help out with my program’s Orientation and social. I got home around 9:30 pm and was exhausted!!
On my walk home from the T, I thought about this and have no idea how I am going to re-adjust to a “normal” life. I know I did it when I finished undergrad, but that was 7 years ago (8 by the time I finish school), and I have become far more socially awkward since then. Not to mention the first job I had out of college was at the company my dad had worked at for 30 years, so it was pretty much guaranteed. I am no good at interviewing (Ellie will totally support me in that), and my anxiety has changed, and in some ways, increased. Now, this isn’t to say I’m terribly nervous about getting a job after graduation, but I know myself–it’s going to stress me out until I get it. I’m a creature of habit and it’s VERY off-putting to have those habits changed. I do know that having a more-regular schedule will be better for me in the long run, but it’ll take some getting used to again. Yes, it’s a year off, but I’m the type that needs to psych myself up for these kind of things.