Do you ever get hung up on clothing size?
If so, you’re not alone.
I work often with clients who come to me fixated on goals like sizing-down or fitting into single digits.
And in some ways, their concerns are valid. Not because clothing size is, in any way, an indicator of health or inherent human worth. But, because our society is oppressive and unkind to people in larger bodies (especially women).
Here’s an example: Despite the fact that 68% of women wear a US size 14 or larger, many brick-and-mortar stores don’t carry those sizes. That means that over half of the female-identifying population doesn’t have immediate access to clothing (a basic human need). And for those who do, there exists the underlying fear that one day they’ll size out too.
This reality is unfair.
But, it doesn’t mean women need to change their bodies.
It means our culture, and the systems that perpetuate it, need to change their ways.
The fixation on size, a random number (and I do mean “random” because there is no consistency in measurements across brands) sewn into the seams of fabric that covers our bodies is society’s doing.
We’ve been taught to base our value on our body size. At least neck to ankles.
I mean, not many people get bent out of shape about SHOE SIZE, right?
Usually, when women walk into a shoe store, try on some pumps and have to size-up, they don’t immediately start hating on their feet. They don’t skip lunch for the next week or download the latest calorie tracking app. They don’t start researching foot shaving surgeries or practice toe-slimming exercises. They just buy the shoes they want in the size that comfortably fits them and move on with the day.
There’s no “Well I’m just going to keep these too-tight-heels, that give me blisters and cut off the circulation in my big toe, around as motivation.”
There’s no “Maybe if I work harder and eat less, I can fit into that size 8.5 sandal by summer.”
There’s no gluten-free, sugar-free cleanse for that. There’s no fit tea for feet. (FEET TEA, ha!)
Most of us choose to wear shoes that fit and most of us don’t feel bad about it.
And there’s a reason for all of this.
Our society (media + marketing + patriarchy + capitalism) hasn’t moralized feet. Yet, it’s taught us that clothing size is a moral issue, it’s a health issue, it’s a worth issue. Society tells us that clothing size is an indication of character and beauty.
And subconsciously, we believe it.
I could go on about all the reasons why size and weight have been manufactured to matter.
I could tell you how futile attempts at “re-sizing” your body really are.
But instead I’ll simply leave you with this question: Which size would you rather share with me in a comment below – your pant size or you shoe size?
Now, why do you think that is?
IT’S BECAUSE INDUSTRIES BENEFIT OFF OF YOUR BODY SHAME.
IT’S BECAUSE OUR CULTURE PERPETUATES CLOTHING SIZE BIAS.
But you don’t have to.
Dismantling weight stigma is possible both personally and culturally. And it starts with us.
So, here’s a quick tip for letting go of size shame in your own life:
The next time you find yourself critiquing your size, fearing numerical increases or lamenting that you can’t find clothing to fit your body (shape/weight), ACKNOWLEDGE THE PAIN AND GET CLEAR ON WHO’S RESPONSIBLE.
>> Offer yourself compassion for the feelings that arise.
>> Remind yourself of who’s to blame. (HINT: It’s not your body. It’s the brand that doesn’t offer your size. It’s the weight loss peddlers who uphold fatphobia. It’s the health care providers who aren’t referencing long term, peer-reviewed studies on things like BMI, dieting and weight loss. It’s the systems of body oppression all around us.)
>> Take a deep breath and go live your life. Because, there’s no use putting it on hold for diets that don’t work and sizes that don’t reflect your value, health status and character.
In Bravery and Body Acceptance,
P.S. Do you struggle to make peace with your body size? And If so, what experiences or thoughts are most troubling? Want to share them with me? I’m always here to listen (READ). Go ahead and COMMENT BELOW or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S.S. Did you know that I created a 38-Page Guide just for you? It’s titled 5 Steps to Healing Your Food and Body Relationship: Making Peace with Eating, Exercising and Existing For Good and you can grab your FREE copy right HERE.