I remember being about 12, opening a fashion magazine full of beautiful women for the first time and really absorbing what it said.
Fashion magazines are a big part of growing girls lives – the majority of women have been attracted and absorbed by fashion magazines at one point or another in their lives and have no doubt experienced the same feelings: intrigue, confusion and insecurity.
What brought on these emotions? An article titled: How To Dress For Your Shape!Since that fateful day I’m sure thousands of magazine writers have written thousands of similar articles, all dictating that a woman’s body fit into one of four categories: banana, apple, pear, or hourglass.
So what do all of these mean? Traditionally, an apple means that you’re bigger on top, a pear that you’re bigger on the bottom, the banana or ruler shape signifies that you’re straight up and down, and an hourglass means you have the impossible proportions of Marilyn Monroe.
Here’s a visual:
So what’s my problem with these?
Further exploration into this topic revealed that being shaped like an hourglass was the most desirable shape to have – this according to society and the fact that for some reason it becomes ingrained in our brains that in order to be desired by men, and be able to wear the best clothes, we must all have big boobs, butts and tiny waists.
However at 12, I definitely wasn’t an hourglass, I also wasn’t an apple, a pear or a banana. I was a 12 year old girl going through puberty who decided to stop eating because throughout the glossy pages of that magazine and many others like it, nobody looked like me.
These were teen magazines, where all teenage girls should have been represented, but all of the models were slim, blonde and bubbly. While I, on the other hand, was athletic, with dark hair, dark eyes and a bit of a nerd. These body types made me feel like I wasn’t enough of a girl. Like there was something wrong with me because I wasn’t an hourglass and upon learning about this chart I could see that my mother’s body could be categorized as such.
This chart made me feel uncomfortable in my own skin and it surprises me that we still use charts like it to describe a woman’s body. Why? Why do we do this to ourselves and to each other?
Women are categorized all the time- and unfairly so.
Making these impossible categories makes those (like myself) who don’t fit into any of these feel like rejects, outsiders – like faulty factory products destined for the bin.
I’m sure most women feel the same way I do, and this is because all of my friends feel either similarly or they have forced themselves to fit into one of these categories so then when they open up a magazine they “can learn” what clothes they should wear and how they should cut their hair and do their makeup and run their lives.
So, I suggest that this is the year we all stop doing this to ourselves. Stop allowing these outside sources to try to categorise us and stop making ourselves feel miserable when you don’t fit into any of them.
It’s time to love yourself.
Dress in what you feel comfortable in, because there are more important things to worry about: like your happiness, the welfare of the planet, human and animal rights. We are not fruit and shouldn’t be categorised as such. A woman’s body is meant to change and transform, and continue a lifelong transformation through maturity, motherhood and ageing. I for one, will no longer succumb to these categories, and neither should you.
Image Source: Medical Photos