Last summer I was thin. Real thin. My anxiety caused me to shed weight on a daily basis. I wasn’t healthy thin, I was malnourished thin. This summer, I’m 20 pounds heavier than I was last. Despite most people telling me that I’m still skinny with these extra 20 pounds, I still feel huge. For the first time since highschool, I’ve had to go up a size in pants. I am not okay with this. As someone who struggles with body image, I haven’t been happy with my body…well, ever.
Growing up I was always thin. I was one of those people who could eat anything and everything and never gain a pound. I wasn’t overly athletic and I never paid attention to calories. I was blessed with a fabulous metabolism and the ignorance of what was to come. By the time I hit 25, I noticed I could no longer eat and drink whatever I wanted. A slow but steady weight gain progressed throughout my late 20’s. Despite a few good, honest and devoted trips to the gym, the weight soon became my enemy as I continuously fell off the wagon.
Here I sit at a modest 137 pounds. The heaviest I have ever been. I realize that some readers may be laughing, even scoffing at this number. How could I possibly complain when I’m still so thin? Well, my body image is complete twisted, that’s why. My entire life I’ve had people put so much emphasis on being skinny. Now, when I put on a pair of pants that have fit me for the past 5 years and I can’t even sit down in them, I panic. All of my clothes feel uncomfortable and tight. I’m more self-conscious about my body than I ever have been before. I also work at a University, filled with young women who haven’t hit that 25-year-old reality check and feel even worse about myself.
Recently, in an attempt to “be okay” with my body, I’ve “accepted” the fact that I no longer fit my pants and have gone on the hunt to buy “big girl pants” (yes, that’s totally an Eat, Pray, Love reference). What I found was disgusting. The major stores I visited had and have a serious sizing problem.
I started at H&M with a size 4 (upgrading from my size 2) only to not even be able to get them over my thighs. I moved up to a 6, which got stuck at the base of my bodacious booty. An 8 felt okay standing up, but sitting felt like I was being cut in half. I couldn’t put on a 10. There is no way in hell that I’m a 10. Not that I have anything against a size 10, but knowing what a size 10 is supposed to look like and holding these “10’s” up, I knew that this was not my issue, it was H&M’s.
I visited Urban Outfitters next. Low and behold, I encountered the exact same issue. A 27 literally had the waist size of my right thigh. I have no idea how any woman is expected to actually fit these clothes.
Which leads me to this blog post. These mass retailers should be fucking ashamed of themselves. Women are constantly being judged by their weight. We look at sizing charts like it merits our worthiness and the bigger the number, the less worthy we feel. So much pressure is put on women to be skinny and healthy and fit. By completely skewing the sizes, you are creating a false self-body image by making us think we are huge. You’re reinforcing why people suffer from eating disorders and depression. What exactly is the reasoning behind these clear and obvious shrinkage? Why make a 27 feel bad about herself for having to go to a size 32 just so she can breath in her pants? I’m utterly disgusted by this. Following this blog, I’m making a formal complaint to both retailers. I hope that if you have noticed these recent changes, you will do the same.
I don’t know if it’s just more apparent, if I’m paying more attention, or if I’m just straight up angry, but the amount of biases against women seems to have risen lately. I think we are in desperate need of a 4th wave of feminism where we women take back control of our bodies. We reject what societal measures have been created for us and we refuse to attempt to obtain these unrealistic standards that have been set.
To H&M and Urban Outfitters clothing manufacturers: Fuck you.