All the Standards Tell Me "I'm Too Big"
The pressure to be “small” comes at us from every angle
Images on social media, movies, advertisements, celebrities, and the media’s overall portrayal and language around beauty. Not only is the world we live in so constantly conveying this message, but even the clothing stores we shop in. With plenty of sizes for the smaller woman, we find ourselves trying to simply find a cool-looking pair of pants we can fit in. And it can be a very defeating feeling - to be made to feel like you’re too big when in actuality, you aren’t.
I’ve always had a hard time shopping for pants - my entire life. I remember going into the mall like it was a war zone wondering if I would find something that would properly fit or not - keep in mind, I’ve always been a very normal size. Although this practice has become somewhat normal to me, knowing that some stores won’t carry pants that will properly fit, I wasn’t ready for a recent experience I had.
Engagement bliss, excitement, event planning, list building… and dress shopping.
As you can imagine, I was excited but somewhat nervous to go wedding dress shopping. Would I find the right one? Does the “right one” even exist? How long will it take me to find it? Many thoughts came to mind, but one that I didn’t think of in particular was “Will they have one that fits me?” I mean, hundreds of women go wedding dress shopping every single day. Surely, they will have different sizes available - for really small women and larger women. But I was wrong.
We pulled around 8 dresses to try first - all of which were so beautiful. Wedding dress stores can’t carry every size in every dress because they are designer gowns that each take a lot of time and material to make properly. So, they carry a couple standard sizes, and they use clamps to fit the dress to your body as best they can.
Dress on. Dress off. Dress on. Dress off.
I tried on each dress, all of which were stunning, but not one properly fit my body. They were all too small (and I was trying on the largest size they had). I was feeling defeated. I was sucking in. Trying to imagine what the correct size would actually look like. The lady tells me not to worry. Whatever dress I choose will be fitted to the proper size.
Long story short, one of those dresses is the dress I will be wearing on my wedding day (of course in a size that actually fits me). It’s beautiful and everything I had hoped for. But as this experience has sat with me for about a month, I’m left with a few thoughts…
1| Why are average sizing charts primarily favorable towards smaller women?
2| Why is this okay?
3| What message does this convey to women?
Somewhere along the way, things have gotten skewed.
When I go to a store and the only pair of pants that even remotely fits is the largest size, I wonder what message that conveys to every woman in my shoes (or bigger). When I go to try on wedding dresses in hopes of having a beautiful and enjoyable experience but nothing fits properly, I wonder “Am I abnormal? Am I too big? Apparently so because everything is too small.” And when the industry standard would consider me to be plus-size, I’m left feeling entirely confused and frustrated.
By the world’s standards and the sizes carried in clothing stores, I’m considered big. By the fashion industry’s standard, I could never pass as a regular model - I would be placed in the plus-size category. By the standard of the ‘ideal woman’ in today’s culture, I’m not lean, tone or skinny enough to be considered beautiful.
The world’s standards are ever-changing. We can’t keep up with them.
And why should we? Why do we place so much emphasis on meeting standards that will change next year, are actually just fabricated ideals and take away from the beauty that we inherently carry? We’ve gotten so caught up in the world’s ideal - their demands - their truths - their fabrication - their outrageous standard. We’ve bought into their lies.
For average sizing charts to suggest that most women are "too big" is outrageous. For sizing charts, social media platforms, and the media to all convey this message creates a lie that defeats a large number of the female population. It brainwashes women to see themselves as bigger than they actually are, to feel ashamed of their size, and to feel like a complete outcast that can’t meet the standard of beauty.
We have got to wake up!
We have got to recognize the fabrication, lies and injustice found in this standard - the standard that conveys to women that they are too big or plus-size if they aren’t a size 2. We have got to stand up, bravely step into our identity, and rest in the fact that we are not meant to fit into society’s mold of beauty. Beauty isn’t defined by outer packaging, and often is deemed by something’s rarity and essence of being unique - not the ability to fit into a mold.
Related: Transforming the Ideal of Beauty
3 Takeaway’s For You
1| You are not abnormal. You are not an outcast. Just because you do not fit the ‘perfect size’ conveyed through the media, social platforms and sizing charts doesn’t mean that you are the wrong size. As long as you are living happily, healthily and confidently, your size is absolutely perfect.
2| The average American woman is between sizes 16-18. You are not the only one who has to reach for the largest size in clothing stores. Don’t allow standard sizing charts to destroy your confidence and diminish the fact that you are absolutely beautiful the way you are.
3| Edited realities are what we often consume on a daily basis. When we consume content that is edited, airbrushed or altered in any way, we can begin to think that our body, skin, and self aren’t good enough. Don’t let your standard become fabrication - authenticity is way better anyways. People don’t want another photoshopped reality - they want the truth.
Have you ever felt similarly? Share your experience and story below! Also, click here to get a free download of a sneak peek into the first volume of The Authentic Woman and get 20% off when you purchase the book!