Am I small or large?

While shopping the question about what size to pick is always relevant. Since the line between clothing size and body size has faded, we now identify our body size with label numbers and letters. We connect the words behind labels - small, large and extra large - with our weight and decide whether we are slim, healthy weight or obese. Why is that? Why are the words behind size labels so meaningful?

 

Size 5 equals size 12

We had the pleasure to virtually sit down with Deena Shoemaker, who posted a picture with her wearing several pants, all the same size in width, but labels varied from size 5 to 12 (EU 34/36 to 42). 


“I know how distressed women can get when they go up a pant size without realizing their body has changed. When I realized it was all a lie, it just really lit a fire under me.” Deena says when we asked what made her post the photo.
“I think sizes being called “small” and “large” have become synonymous with body size. While numbers do the same thing to an extent it doesn’t have the same psychological effect as saying “I’m an extra large.”. That shouldn’t make us feel like WE are large, rather than the shirt. But it does anyway.” she continues.


Now, try to tell your “size S” daughter she’s not fat when she has to put on a size L.

 

Today’s menu: water

The result of needing to go up a size or two? Skipping meals, bad conscience, drop in mood, panic attacks. The consequences are real and serious, and the reasons have nothing to do with your weight.


“Even as an adult I would feel a slight sense of triumph when my size went down because it meant I was doing good on my diet and exercise. And then there were times my size went up and I thought I had been slacking.” Deena explains her own emotions about size variation.
“I’ve gotten thousands of messages from teens and women alike affirming my exact fear; that they really do feel so much pressure from society to “be skinny” that they would have anxiety attacks in dressing rooms over the size of pants they were trying on.”

 

Can you imagine, I needed to buy a size XXL!

“Psychologically, we all need to feel wanted - like we belong - and society is always jerking us around, telling us what “ideal” is. And when we can’t reach that we lie to ourselves and say things like “no one could ever love you when you look this disgusting.” We’re really mean to ourselves. We tell ourselves things we’d never dream of saying to any other woman or girl.” Deena says, and she’s spot on. 


Even with body positivity campaigns and the endless work self-esteem trainers do, we still are mean to ourselves.


“We have a life long relationship with ourselves. Respect that relationship.” says a self-esteem trainer and a pin up model BeBe La Vanille. She’s 5’ 10” (180cm) tall and says she buys mostly the size XXL. While she is curvy, she most definitely is not extra extra large in body size. 


“I’ve heard so many times women saying that they had to buy a two sizes larger dress, they must go on a diet immediately. Why, I ask. You’re still the same size as two weeks ago!” she continues.

 

 

Now what?

Would it be time to stop telling people they are large or small, when the size label has absolutely nothing to do with their body?

Would it be time to stop and think what we are doing to our teenagers?

Would it be time to help our daughters to develop a healthy body image and a better understanding that there are multiple different body types – squares and pears - and they are all beautiful?


“It’s more important to recognize your body type than numbers that mean absolutely nothing” Bebe La Vanille says. “I did a lot of work with my own self-esteem, and now I can honestly say I love me, no matter what size my next dress is.”


What about you Deena, how do you feel about sizes and their variation these days? 
“Now it doesn’t bother me at all. I have better ways of monitoring my health - real ways.”

 

What if size numbers and labels would disappear and people would find their clothes with their own, real measurements?

 

So please, stop telling our daughters they are fat.

 

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Writers note: “I actually had to take a breather before writing this. The answers I got during the interviews actually brought me to tears, thinking about someone’s daughter who skips meals only because the label of her clothing has the letter L on it. As a mother, this made me extremely angry and physically sick.”


You can read Deena’s original post in Deena's Facebook.