Sadly, due to ridiculous cultural standards, most women have felt some level of body shame at one point or another in their lives. However, if you asked us from where that shame originated, we probably couldn’t tell you, because we’re too close to the problem. Enter Benjamin Ashton Cooper, a Pennsylvania native who hands down wins Boyfriend of the Year.
While Cooper was helping his girlfriend clean out her closet (already he’s beating out half the boyfriends I know), he noticed something odd. All the clothes she was getting rid of were mainly marked “XL” for extra large, but that wasn’t the weird part — it was the fact that they all fit him perfectly.
So why does this matter? Guys are usually a little bigger than their lady friends, so it would make sense that her XL-size clothing would fit him, right? Wrong. That thought process is exactly why women’s sizing is the root of our body shame, which Cooper succinctly points out in this Facebook post.
Anyone else want to give this guy a regular podcast? There’s just something so refreshing about someone who calls bullshit on something that often flies under the radar for one awful reason — it still has such a hold on women’s self-esteem. We don’t want to talk about the labels on our clothes, because they automatically put us in a size category, which in turn opens us up for societal judgment.
I am absolutely a culprit of letting sizing dictate my level of confidence. I’ve always been a pretty average weight and size, but when I was in high school, I decided that a size 4 (or a jean size 27) was where I should be. Of course, I was still growing and occasionally found it difficult to stay that small. However, rather than simply go up a size, I’d wear flowy dresses until I was able to squeeze back into my ideal pant size. All because I couldn’t deal with the idea of wearing a larger size.
Now imagine the many young girls who, no matter what they do, can’t fit into the sizes society deems acceptably average. As Cooper puts it, “This bullshit right here is why we have 8 year olds with eating disorders.”
Cooper’s post is so right on, and it’s far from funny. Clothing sizes today would give anyone a complex, no matter how small they are, and the horrible irony is that they’re utterly meaningless. The 0 and double 0 sizes you see around department stores didn’t exist before 2000. At the turn of the century, a 0 would’ve been the equivalent of a size 2, and in the 1960s, it would’ve been equal to a size 4. That was when Marilyn Monroe was a size 12, aka a size 6 today. Getting a sense of how subjective this sizing business is yet?
Of course, the trouble with the vanity sizing of today is that women are actually bigger now than they were 50 years ago, so the majority of us aren’t feeling so vain in the dressing room.
Clothing companies, we implore you: Think about the real average woman, not the ones in your fashion magazines. It’s time to revamp sizing charts.