- Women's Health
Societies Standards for Women.
Women Come in Many Sizes.
As you may have noticed, the beauty industry has a knack of making women question their size if they do not fit the industry standard which is typically a size four or smaller. Recently, Victoria's Secret has come under fire because of their newest bra campaign which shows several models wearing under wire, push-up bras and the ad states, "The Perfect Body" (Richinick, 2014). The models in this ad are all thin and "fit". While this might be the "perfect body" for some, it is not the "perfect body" for all. While we understand that Victoria's Secret underwear is supposed to give women the "perfect body", the marketing mad men knew that using this choice of words not only gave an image of thin women with large breasts as being "perfect", but these words and images also play on insecurities that some women may have.
If you are a woman, chances are you do not know your actual size. At Old Navy you might be a size four while at Bebe you might be a size nine. This is not a mistake, companies like Old Navy cater to women by offering us smaller sizes because our brains are now hardwired to think that we are not beautiful if we are not a size four.
These companies do this in order to condition us to buy their products: clothing, diet fads, etc. In a way we are Pavlov's dogs and we salivate at the ringing of the bell, except in this case we salivate at the idea of being a size four when in actuality we are a size nine. We are trained to shop at stores that offer us the "ideal size", ladies this is insanity and we have to break the vicious cycle.
We need to understand that our size is just a number, it does not define who we are. The same can be said of the number on the scale, those numbers do not matter. As long as you are healthy, it does not matter what size you are or how much you weigh. Do not allow yourself to become conditioned, break the cycle and be you. Do not let that number define you, you cannot let them win. You are beautiful just the way you are and society should not have a say so in who you are or how you choose to live your life.
I speak from experience, I am 36 years old and I have struggled with negative body images my entire life. At the age of fourteen I was 5'8 and weighed 160 pounds. I was teased and told that I was fat and ugly. During the summer I found out that I was diabetic and I was told to cut out sugar. Over the summer I dropped down to 115 pounds and when school started up people found me beautiful all of a sudden. Luckily, I realized that these people are not worth having in my life. I managed to stay at 115 pounds (and I still felt "fat") until I started taking steroids for adrenal insufficiency five years old. I am now 36, 5'8 and my weight bounces around more than a ball. One month I will weigh 140 pounds and the next 150 pounds. I understand what that scale and what clothing companies do and how they make me feel. I also know that while I am considered "overweight" by societies standards, I am not and neither are you. I don't care what size you are, you are beautiful, all of you are beautiful.
As women, our bodies will always change. Every month we add water weight and we lose it. We gain weight from pregnancy,from medications, etc. and none of it matters. As long as you are healthy, you do not need to change. All you can do is be yourself, and you can stop the insanity by boycotting companies that tell you that you need to be smaller or that cater to your ego by selling you smaller sized clothing. Spread love, not pain. Peace.
Richinick, M. (2014). Victoria's Secret's new bra ad not so 'perfect'? Retrieved from: .msnbc.com/krystal-clear/victorias-secret-criticized-perfect-body-bra-ads.