The other day I was reading the morning news articles on my phone apps, like I do every morning, when I came across this article: Surge in sales of ‘Adele’ sized mannequins. I was furious.
Just to give you a little quote: ‘One of the UK’s largest shop mannequin companies has reported a surge in orders for clothes dummies sized 12 and above’
Oh no, not twelve and above?!
The way that body image is perceived in British society (I cannot claim for others as I have not experienced it first hand) is really twisted. My first example: if you go on this website you can input your measurements and it can tell you what clothes size you are in each high street shop. Why? Because there is no uniform size.
Take myself for example, if we see size twelve as plus size (as the article does) then we would see myself as a plus size. However, my hip size determines that at seven shops I should be a size ten, and yet at a further ten shops I could also fit into a size eight, another six I should be a twelve. Because of my body shape, my upper frame is considerably smaller, and yet the variations in size still exist. Basically – none of the high street shops offer the same size clothing, even if the number on the label says so.
As you can see my clothes size can range over three sizes. The reality of what these sizes actually mean is realised. Why do we let a number on a label not only determine someone’s attractiveness, but also their worth to some extent? Why is a size twelve considered a plus size when in actual fact someone that is a size eight can also be a twelve?!
Frequently I read fashion blogs and nine times out of ten there is a shameful ‘anon’ comment, where someone has felt the need to leave a nasty comment about how someone shouldn’t wear clothes like that at their size, or that someone is lying about being a smaller size. Why do we live in a society where people feel the right to talk to someone in a derogatory way about their size?
Another point I would like to make goes back to the mannequins.
Why do mannequins and shop displays only emphasise one body shape? Don’t people realise that the very fact that having larger mannequins is newsworthy is actually very sad? I agree that mannequins shouldn’t just be on the small side, of course I do, but doesn’t it show you how messed up society is that it is so revolutionary that the news feels the need to document it?
In (my) ideal world, mannequins wouldn’t be uniform. People aren’t uniform. People can’t be slotted into little categories – especially if the number on the label isn’t uniform. People shouldn’t be defined by their body shape, but I do feel that certain body shapes and sizes are stigmatised because of the lack of awareness and understanding in society. The average size in the UK is 16, so why are all of the mannequins much smaller than this? Mannequins, instead of reflecting size, should reflect shape.
Women come in all shapes and sizes, and to to be honest if I walked past a shop and they had mannequins of different body shapes, I’d respect the brand a lot more. I have a pear shaped figure, and so I know when I look at shop displays that a lot of the outfits would look very different on me. If shops made more of an effort to have mannequins of varied shape then they would broaden their appeal to shoppers, as well as actively taking part in the destigmatisation of body shape.
I’d finally just like to broad the subject of ‘real women’. As I’ve briefly covered in today’s blog post there is no such thing as a uniform woman. The thing that saddens me the most is when you type in ‘real women’ into Google, do you know what comes up? Real women have curves.
So, people who don’t have curves aren’t real women? So women who have lost their breasts to cancer aren’t real women? So women who can’t put on weight despite what they eat aren’t real women?
When you break down the reality of these words that we use in society, you (hopefully) realise that terms which society use to try and describe the variations that exist naturally between every women are actually pretty offensive and often just lead to more divisions.
Do you know what the funniest part about it all is? We shouldn’t care what size clothes we wear, we should just wear the clothes that look and feel the best on us – the ones that make us feel the most confident. Most importantly, we shouldn’t waste our time comparing ourselves to other people and making judgement statements about which is better. People that waste their time defining other people are only defining themselves as small minded. There is not one single person in the world that is better than you, because there is not one single person in the world like you.