Thursday, October 10, 2013

What's Up With All of the Recent "Size 8" Pride? (And What, Exactly,IS "Size 8," Anyway?)

Size 14?  Well, yes, but no.  Read more here.
In the spirit of "Throwback Thursdays" and my Salon.com essay about the Abercrombie & Fitch controversy, I'm bringing back this oldie-but-goodie post.

Enjoy!

The other day I was editing an article I'm writing for the academic journal, Social Problems.  (The article draws from my master's paper, about the "Plus Size" clothing industry.)  It was my second round of responding to reviewers' edits, so most of the requested changes were pretty minor.  One, however, gave me pause.

Reviewer #2 wrote: "Inconsistency: Sometimes the author says she is a size 8 and other times a size 10." 

Inconsistent?  Sure.  But it's also true. When I wrote that I "generally wear a standard-sized 8 or 10 in pants," I meant it.  Some days I'm an "8" and other days I'm a "10." But to be completely honest, depending on where I've been shopping for clothes, I might also be a "6," a "12," a "Small," a "Medium," a "Large," or an "XL."  My closet currently contains clothes in all of these sizes, and they all fit.  Sure, my measurements fluctuate a bit depending on my hormones and/or the length of time that's passed since I last ate a super-salty meal (yummmm), but I know my body, and it doesn't change all that much.

It's not me, it's them.  
Who?  Them. 
The clothing companies who can't seem to make up their minds about what size(s) we are.

The crazy inconsistency of clothing size standards in the U.S. fashion industry fascinates me.  It fascinates me so much, in fact, that I've conducted research on the topic.  I'll tell you more about the particulars of my sociological stuff some other time, but suffice it to say that I kind of scoff whenever I hear anyone - particularly celebrities - claiming to be any certain size.  

The stand-out offender, to my memory, was Jennifer Love Hewitt, who responded to trash magazines that had dissed her for gaining weight by saying on her blog, "Like all women out there should, I love my body. [...] A size 2 is not fat!  Nor will it ever be."  It really pissed me off that Jennifer used a completely nebulous concept ("size 2") to tell the world that she wasn't fat, and, therefore, shouldn't be picked on.  For the record, this was pure "fat talk," and while it may have seemingly gotten supposedly-size-2-Hewitt off the hook, it also reinforced the idea that it's okay to be cruel to women who are fat.  Folks called Hewitt a body image advocate for sticking up for herself, but I wish she'd stuck up for the rest of us too.  Nobody - not even very very fat women - deserve to be treated with disrespect.  (Oh, on a side note, mark my words: if vanity sizing continues the way it's been going, size 2 may very well be considered "fat" in a future filled with size quadruple-zeros!)


Anyway, back to the present.  These days, "Size 8" seems to be the new cool-girl size.   Female celebrities owning their down-to-earthiness are all about the Size 8!  (This all kind of reminds me of the whole "Real Beauty" thing from a few years ago, which sounds nice, but also suggests that certain women are somehow more real than others.)  Anyway, this recent SIZE 8 IS GREAT! trend started with my favorite funny-girl, Mindy Kaling.  

Here is what Mindy writes about being a "chubby 8" in here book Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me?:
Since I am not model-skinny, but also not super-fat and fabulously owning my hugeness, I fall into that nebulous, 'Normal American Woman Size' that legions of fashion stylists detest.  For the record, I'm a size 8 (this week anyway).  Many stylists hate that size because, I think, to them, I lack the self-discipline to be an aesthetic, or the sassy confidence to be a total fatty hedonist.  They're like 'Pick a lane.'"
I like that Mindy suggests that her body changes by the week, but what about her clothing size?  A size 8? From where, exactly?  I'm not suggesting that Mindy is actually bigger than a size 8, or smaller, or whatever.  In my opinion a woman's actual size and clothing size shouldn't matter at all.  But  they do, so why claim something that we all know to be... well... "nebulous."  Are we all agreeing to ignore this so we can tell ourselves that WE are, in fact, size whatever-we-want-to-be?  (FYI, I find it really interesting that she thinks stylists prefer either super thin or super fat. In my experiences working in the fashion industry, "super fat" was what they called... me.  So maybe times have changed?)

Next there was Miranda Lambert.

Lambert told everyone who reads SELF magazine, "I feel my best when I'm a toned, not flabby, size 8."  Again, size 8 is the chosen size.  But, don't worry, she's not flabby.  Indeed, Miranda's as-long-as-I'm-not-flabby body confidence appears on the magazine cover next to a headline promising to "Peel Off the Pounds!" Sigh.

Finally, formerly-skinny-sized-now-formerly-plus-sized-model Crystal Renn added her two-cents.

Renn fended off critics of her recent weight loss by saying,
I've been a double-zero, children's clothes, at 95 pounds, and I've been all the way up to a size 16 and everything in between.  [....] Now I'm a 6, 8, sometimes a 10, depending on what designer I'm wearing.  And that's an interesting place to be in fashion, where extremes are the norm.
Renn's quote is actually my favorite of the three.  Why?  Because it (finally!) recognizes that clothing size labels are all over the place.  I have no idea what's going on with Renn's weight-loss-gain-loss (and it's really none of my business), but I do believe what she's decided to tell the world about her clothing size: it totally depends on what designer she's wearing.  

Since clothing size varies tremendously across brands, celebrities (and real people!) can claim to be any variety of sizes without lying.  For example, I could describe myself as an "XS" since I have one t-shirt in my closet that fits.  Or, I could describe myself as "XL" thanks to another t-shirt that fits.  (It's magic, I tell ya!)  Anyway, my point is this: why are celebs suddenly claiming "Size 8" instead of something smaller (or larger, for that matter)? 

If Mindy and Crystal are to be trusted, this "in-between" size isn't very appreciated by "the industry." My opinion?  I think that claiming to be a "size 8" is intended to give us the impression that the celebrity is not so skinny that we can't relate to her, but also not so fat that we cringe on her behalf, or no longer aspire to be her.  

But I'm not sure how I feel about this.  

On the one hand, I don't think a woman's body size or clothing size or weight or does-she-did-or-doesn't-she enhance her appearance through surgery or hair dye should matter a fig to anyone.  All of these things ought to be simple matters of biology and/or personal expression, NOT determinants of whether a woman ought to be respected or admired or loved.

On the other hand, since the above situation seems unlikely in the foreseeable future, my second-preference would be for female celebrities - and the rest of us! - to be completely upfront and open about their bodies.  For example, my mother-in-law, Sherry, has had quite a few cosmetic procedures and has a policy of complete disclosure. I respect this a lot. Instead of us all obsessing about "does she or doesn't she," I'd like women to simply say, "yup, I dye my hair," or "yup, I got an eye-lift," or "yup, I pay an enormous amount of money for a personal chef and personal trainer," or "yup, I had weight-loss surgery," or "nope, I eat like crap and I'm probably going to kick the bucket early, but I've got crazy good genes for looks!"  Even more basic, I'd like women to say, "yup, I'm 5'5" and today I weigh 157 pounds," (that's me, by the way).   I can't help but wonder if sharing more objective information about our bodies might help us cut through some of the little fibs we tell each other - and ourselves -  about what makes a someone "normal" "ideal" or even "real."  

Of course, we don't yet live in a world that allows women to say these things while also controlling how people react to them.  Because of this, I'd never ask anyone - celebrity or not - to "come out of the closet" about this stuff.  I just wonder whether pushing ourselves into a culture of "full disclosure" (i.e., talking about our measurements instead of our clothing size) might help us get closer to a place where the mystery of these things have less power over our lives.

But what do YOU think?  Is it nice or just sneaky when celebs talk about their clothing size?  Is it none of our business, or are you frustrated when celebrities keep their beauty secrets secret?  Finally, are you attached to being, or fitting into, a particular clothing size?  

137 comments:

  1. I enjoyed reading this post, it was very well written and engaging. To answer your questions I believe that weight related inquiries (i.e., how much do you weigh versus what size do you typically wear) would not resolve the underlying problem in any way, as like the size issue, it sets weight and fat as a subject topic and objectifies the person. Given that our culture seems inclined to do this though, and fighting it is like trying to overthrow a dictatorship, I think the only way to redress the issue is to talk in term of health parameters and markers, rather than in weight and size. It would be hugely refreshing if people reported their HDL, LDL cholesterol levels, glucose tolerance, and triglyceride count. A strategy such as this may support thinness in general, but it would not eliminate those who are healthier when fatter. Moreover, parameters such as these are modifiable with lifestyle changes to a much greater degree than weight.

    The second question you asked was whether I am attached to fitting into a particular clothing size. I will admit that I am for one particular piece of "clothing". I am attached to wearing a certain shoe size. More now than before, though this change reflects my inability to find any cute shoes that fit. Which makes me wonder if fitting into a clothing size is important to people because that is when industry reinforces them with appropriately attractive clothing. I feel terrible that my feet are bigger than the societal norm, and if someone asked I would probably tell them my feet are smaller than they actually are, and avoid the fact that I have to shop at the big and large shoe store.

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    1. Hi Anonymous,
      I think your idea of sharing health markers is interesting... I agree that this approach would make it abundantly clear that MANY body types/shapes are "healthy" but on the other hand it makes "health" a new standard for judgement. Health is not simply shaped by our choices, but also by our biology and the environment. Sometimes arguments about health seem to stigmatize people who have the least control over their health (poor minorities), so there's a danger here too.

      Love the story about your shoes!

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    2. Just saw the 20/20 show.
      Just a regular 30 something guy...letting you know that you look great. Mirror or no mirror, stay positive and continue inspiring others, me included.

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    3. I am going to share my story with you all. I was ill and having issues after the birth of my daughter so I went to a doctor they told me I had hormone issues so take birth control which caused me to gain a unreal amount of weight (was a 14/16 and around 180lbs to 396 lbs and a 26/28 in less than a year). I was still ill so went to another doctor who told me to get rid of 200lbs...I couldn't because I was still using the hormones that were suppose make me well. I went to another doc, and another and by the 6th doctor who all told me to lose weight I gave up. I quit taking the pills and dropped 65 lbs, started working out 2.5-3 hrs per day, lost another 100lbs. I started having pain in my stomach went to ER found out I had cysts all over inside and had surgery then dropped more weight now I am down to 10/12 166 lbs from 396 lbs why because as a heavy person they don't look at how good your blood work is or how much you eat/don't eat they assume you are a liar and tell you that if you lose weight it will cure everything wrong with you. I am still considered overweight even though I workout 6 days a week, have a strict diet of veggies very little meat or fat and again can fit in to most size 10's and all size 12s. I am getting tighter, and more fit but I am still overweight until I reach 150 lbs or less. I can post all the good stuff about my blood work and how I have low blood pressure and about all the health workers who were shocked that all my blood work was perfect, dead on or exceedingly good. My blood pressure is slightly low in the high 60's over 80 but they say not to worry about it just focus on losing weight....wtf. I eat well, workout and I still feel like it's not enough until I am wearing a 0/2 for everyone else. I decided overweight at my age after two kids and 16 surgeries including a hysterectomy (more cysts) and the ovary that was removed I have never weighed so little or been so small. Even as a teen I was a 14 and in adult life I was a 14/16 and I wasn't 5'6" as a teen. So I would love to know why we are not all treated as people and not bodies or sizes too. I really don't give a crap what size I am but I do care that I was unhealthy due to my doctor's and their skewed view of healthy. FYI if you are a vegan who doesn't eat carbs or white sugar and weight is 396 lbs has perfect blood work except is having thyroid and other hormone storms maybe your doctor shouldn't tell you to lose weight so it will magically cure you because it won't.

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  2. I believe we expect celebrities to play some vital role in the country's self-image, but the fact is that it's a job for them. They're paid for looking good and any doubt they might instill in how well they're maintaining themselves could affect future gigs. This, frankly, is horrible. They should be honest for the very sake of being humane.

    My goal is to be a size 8. Not because the industry says that's what it should be, but because that's the size I usually am when I'm at a healthy weight. I'm short and I'll never be a size 5 or less. I believe ever body has its own healthy weight and mine has never been inclined to be super skinny despite healthy eating and exercise. I'm learning to accept that.

    I've noticed that clothing is growing smaller despite it being the same number. Remaining the same weight, clothing sizes I used to fit in, I no longer do. This has angered me, because it only further inflicts the industry's unrealistic expectations. I don't understand why they feel the need to make people like me feel guilty about not being model sized when I'm healthy and not obese. Why do I need to be stick thin too?

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    1. It's so annoying when I go to the same store I've been shopping at since I was 15, and the size standards have changed. Ugh. Like we don't notice?!

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    2. personal trainer beverly hills : The Beverly Hills is set within easy reach of the upscale Koregaon Park district, and only minutes from some of the area’s primary tourism sites.

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  3. I'm such a fan of you, Kjerstin! I think you're smart and brave and balanced. Thank you :-)

    I particularly loved the assertion in this post that the recent size-8 push is just another example of media being self-sustaining. By telling us what they think we want to hear, they make celebrity and size and appearance easier to follow and care about, while subtly reestablishing new pressures. (REAL beauty is great, and OUR products will help you be a REALER beauty?!)

    I think it's interesting, in an oh-how-cute sort of way rather than a how-and-why kind of way, that celebrities feel the need to address personal details like clothing size or what mascara they use or that criticism from the media sometimes hurts their feelings. I don't care that people made inconsiderate comments about Jennifer Love Hewitt or that she defended herself against them by claiming some immunity based on an arbitrary clothing size. Or Lambert's comments, for example- would she be happier at a flabby size 4? Maybe a 2? Happy at a toned size 10? What about a toned 16? She's cute, but that has no bearing whatsoever on how much of my budget I will allocate to the entertainment she provides. The lesson for me there, and hopefully for my daughter, is that self-worth which is tied to appearance is subjective and transient. My only interest in celebrity, even extending to the recent flap over Olympian bodies being "fat", is in the social implications of the cultural fascination, not in the specifics of their style tips or hair products or personal trainer budget.

    I am happier when I pay attention to what my body needs to operate more efficiently. I am happier when I am thinner, to be sure, and for vainer reasons than are easy to admit. I like it when more styles are flattering on me, regardless of what the label says. Having yo-yo'd some, it gives me a little charge when the RANGE of sizes I wear moves down, not because I feel more socially accepted by relating to an arbitrary size, but because I like new and flattering clothes. People are meant to be radiant, and what accomplishes that varies wildly.

    Looking forward to tonight's TV, though! Keep up the great work!

    But what do YOU think? Is it nice or just sneaky when celebs talk about their clothing size? Is it none of our business, or are you frustrated when celebrities keep their beauty secrets secret? Finally, are you attached to being, or fitting into, a particular clothing size?

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    1. Hrmmm... good question. I LOVE it when celebrities are really honest about the complexity of these issues. Mindy Kaling addresses her body size with candor and humor, which I like, though I'd like to know even more. I clearly don't like it when clothing size is used as "evidence" of thinness or fatness or even "realness". It's ambiguous and seems to only protect the celebrity, while leaving the rest of us to wonder if it's okay to be a different size or shape...

      And, YES, I get attached to clothing sizes. When I was younger, I thought I was a 6, but now it's 10 or 8 (in pants). I get kind of cranky when these sizes are too snug, but at the end of the day, if the clothes fit and make me feel fabulous, I don't care what size they are. In fact, I've started wearing GAP's size 10 maternity pants (with a thick elastic panel at the waist) because they don't cut into my waist while I'm sitting at my desk writing for hours! A lot of people have told me I shouldn't be open about wearing maternity pants when I'm not pregnant, but I don't care! They're comfy and they look great on me! They're my secret weapon. :) So I guess this means I'm only a little bit attached to clothing size!

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    2. Lol, I've been using maternity pants since forever, they are indeed very comfy. I was born and raise in a country were you wear what your sister, cousin or any relative won't use any more, for what ever reason, so nobody would ask for a size, it was just 'hey,try this on and if it fits is yours', there was only Small, Medium and Large. When I moved to USA and when shopping the first time the whole sizing thing hit me hard. Now I have developed what I call ' my superpower', I just look at what ever piece of clothe I like and don't even bother with the size, usually just by looking at it I know if it's worth the ride to the fitting room. I'm sure this won't work for everyone, but it surely work for me. My size in fact is PH, perfectly happy!

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  4. Yup, I'm 5'10 and weigh 197lbs. I wear a 14 some days, and an 18 on others. I have shirts ranging from M to XXXL... they all fit the same.

    LOVED this post, and I agree with you 100%!

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  5. I actually had never noticed celebs talking about their clothing size. Then again, I never read magazines and do not watch tv. I am not sure what purpose it serves. I think it is a marketing ploy to make women feel more comfortable about their sizes. THat said, there is so much variation from brand to brand it is impossible to know what a size 2 or 8 actually it. Not that it matters.

    As for my own thoughts on sizing, it makes me upset that there is not a standard clothing size. I hate shopping and would like to run into a store and grab something in "my size" and walk out without having to try it on. I don't care what the label says, just as long as it fits. Because of this, I tend to get attached to clothing brands that I know having consistent sizing for all their products. I know my size in those brands and pretty much purchase exclusively from them. I also am very loyal to retailers that I can send in my measurements and they will tell me what size to buy.

    In response to Megan, I feel the exact opposite. I feel like clothes are getting larger. To me, size S is now listed as XS in certain stores such as Gap. I used to be size 2 in abercrombie and now I'm a 00. Perhaps it depends on the brand. I am pretty sure retailers only agenda is to get people to buy things so they will adjust the size according to marketing polls. Perhaps celebs have been encouraged to do the same.

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    1. I also get attached to clothing stores that have consistent sizing. It's exhausting to remember all the different sizes I am at different stores! The idea of grabbing a pair of pants based on size alone and walking out of the store sounds refreshingly simple! I think guys get to do this with their pants, which have sizes labeled by actual measurements!

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  6. Kjerstin, Like you, I am in recovery from an eating disorder. From 1989-91 I was a size 6 (today, that would be anywhere from size 0-2). There was no stretch fabric back then that I an recall. My bones stuck out and I was miserable because I didn't enjoy keeping the constant vigil at the scale or the mirror. I was obsessed and it made me miserable. But when I was that size people went out of their way to help me find things in grocery stores, or I was nominated for highly visible jobs that put the face on a product or cause. People called me out with compliments on my beauty in front of other women (ouch). And I know the beauty in question was in direct proportion to my weight, as this never happened at my heavier sizes (anywhere from an 8 to a size 14). It doesn't make any sense. My weight loss spurred jealousy and a competition with a friend who was a co-worker, who became a "frienemy". Even today, when I see two underweight women who spend a lot of time around each other because they are in-laws, or co-workers, I wonder if this is what's going on between them. It is so painful to witness women so desperately trying to gain power over the other. There is no prize. It isn't worth it.

    Are there not enough mates to go around? Are larger clothes scarce? What is it exactly that drives us to believe thinness = power? Like you mentioned above, does it perhaps reflect personal willpower? Strength? When I put myself in a man's shoes and look the photos of women, it's the heavier ones with whom I'd rather have sex. So does that mean that some men want to project a more powerful image of themselves by having a thinner woman on their arm, so that they, too, are giving in to society? Does this mean that power is more important than authenticity? That above all else it's better to appear strong?

    As far as full disclosure goes, it wouldn't matter HOW a person got better or more powerful, because the fact that they are is all that matters. And when a person does disclose their secrets might it not just be "power talk" (kind of like "fat talk")? Are they not speaking from a position of power? As if to say, "Yes. I had liposuction and I dye my hair. I am such a strong person that I can admit this and not care what you think about it." Sort of doubling the strength factor, huh? After all, having fat thighs or gray hair is sort of average. It isn't a deformity.

    In my experience it's the deformities that we hide, that once uncovered diminish one's power in the eyes of others. Because I have alopecia I wear a wig every day. Even though I personally despise the mirror, I suppose one could say that I never have a bad hair day. I'm now 44. After 35 years of hair loss, travel and adventures in strange cities, failed relationships, and now happily married for 11 years with kids who are now in high school and a successful business of our own, I can honestly say I've grown more comfortable with myself. I'm still on sketchy terms with the mirror, but I don't feel worthless! I don't feel powerless. Usually.

    So one day I was with a group of women, celebrating something, and a new acquaintance asked me who does my hair. In the spirit of full disclosure I revealed my secret because by now it is no big deal to me. Her response sent me reeling. She said, "Wow. And you always walked around like you were hot shit!"

    As in, "You can't possibly REALLY be hot shit because you don't have any hair."

    After my reveal this woman puffed up like she was queen of something. It made her feel better about herself. This was a woman with whom I thought I could be genuine friends until that moment. So does this mean that personal power is also more important than lasting friendship?

    I thought we had enough of everything to go around today, given our technological, societal and spiritual advances. Why do we cling to the idea of survival of the fittest (or strongest)? Is it just hard-wired into our primal selves?

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    1. Wow, that story about your hair/lack-thereof is so powerful and revealing. Yes, I do see women giving themselves a boost by comparing their looks to those of other women. It's a temporary lift, but it ultimately reinforces a world in which women's power is rooted in their beauty. It's a false power, so in the end it doesn't work out.

      Yes, some people value personal (illusions of) power above lasting friendships. The irony is that most women who do this think that all the power they're collecting will make them more likable and less likely to be abandoned. I struggled with this myself for a long time. Perfection isn't power, it's a cage.

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    2. I'm so glad you responded, Kjerstin. Thank you.

      I totally agree with you about the resulting irony from our delusions. I have been there so many times, too, and it is something I consciously work on.

      You put it so succinctly: "Perfection isn't power, it's a cage." Love that. Just love it.

      Your experiment sparked a conversation with my daughter yesterday. We spoke about the freedom of childhood and not looking into mirrors, and when a camera was near how we'd offer up our biggest, most happy grins to posterity. I was a lanky, freckled kid with crooked teeth. In some of my photos I'm wearing polyseter dresses I'd already outgrown, with a pair of mismatched shorts peeking out underneath. With kneesocks and sneakers. Ack! I love that I never cared back then. Fashion didn't exist for me. Those were some of the best moments of my life.

      I asked my daughter when she became aware of body image/"prettiness" and she said that it was in the third grade.

      I am printing out the list of ways to feel good about ourselves that you put on your site for myself, my daughter, and also my son who at nearly 18 is currently on a self imposed diet, but I know it is only because his girlfriend is on one.

      I can't wait to read your book. Thank you for doing what you do. I am so proud of you!

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  7. I wish the entire country could join this conversation. Brilliant post - thank you!

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  8. Replacing clothing "size" with measurements is just placing emphasis on another number to make people feel "worthy" or "attractive." Can we discuss something else besides body size, period? Further, body measurements and weight are no more indicative of a person's "size" than unreliable clothing sizes. Many things affect these measurements (height, muscle mass, etc.). Two women who are 125 pounds and the same height can be completely different "sizes" because of where they carry the weight and what their body composition is.

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    1. Agreed! My suggestion to discuss "measurements" - i.e., inches in circumference of the body - was one way to get around the idea that height and weight are only loosely linked to body size. That said, I'd MUCH rather live in a world where these things didn't matter!!!!!!!

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  9. I've read that the fashion industry has shifted the size, meaning that a size 8 on the tag is actually a size 10. They've done this so that women will (allegedly) feel good about buying a smaller size. How true the former statement is I don't know. How true is the latter one? Probably 100% since the media dictates this as such.

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    1. Yeah... vanity sizing is so weird! But consumers contribute to it by preferring to buy clothes in a "smaller" size!

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    2. Kjerstin, do you prefer to buy clothing in smaller sizes, or do you prefer to buy clothing that fits? Why argue that sizing is a consumer driven behaviour when consumers don't have a say in how manufacturers choose to size their wares? No more than they have a choice in the shape (hourglass vs. not) of the models used to generate master patterns for each size, say.

      My motto has always been: If I like it and it fits I buy it. It's a pretty simple formula which only becomes a huge issue as soon as esteem (mine, or someone else's) comes into play. That's what the real problem is.

      Coincidentally, I found a Banana Republic A-Line skirt last week and the label said 0. My waist is 28". The skirt fit! I've never EVER been a size 0 anything.

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    3. I think it IS accurate that consumers influence manufacturing. Not directly (or we'd all have clothes that fit) but indirectly? Absolutely. All you have to do is look at a newsstand and see all the magazines that are sold - and bought. Cover after cover says something along the lines of "go from a size X to a size X-1 in less than a week!!"* It's not much of a leap for a manufacturer to think "hey, I'll bet more people would buy my stuff it they felt skinner in it".

      YOUR motto may be "If I like it and it fits I buy it" but I'm pretty sure you are in the minority in this country. I don't think anyone could say that as a society, we are well-balanced and healthy and independent minded.


      *My algebra teacher was right! It would come in handy one day! :-)

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  10. I ordinarily agree with you on most topics, but one thing I don't is that society needs a "full disclosure" policy on what we weigh, cosmetic procedures, metabolism, etc. What needs to happen are the questions behind those answers need to be taken off the table. Not, "Does she or doesn't she?" but she's a great mother/athlete/person and it doesn't matter one way or another whether she dyes her hair, diets constantly, or paid $3000 for that purse. Just a thought.

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    1. Yes, this would be my perfect world. But in the meantime, I'd love it if there was more openness about all of the time/money/help that goes into "effortless beauty."

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    2. Maybe times are just different now. I still gasp when a coworker asks someone outright if they dye their hair. It's questions like that I was raised to never ask. I think we should allow people their privacy.

      Are we so wrapped up in our own selves that we forget that other people have feelings, too?

      I still agree with Kjerstin that disclosure is liberating for all parties involved.

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    3. Well I don't understand the issue about asking someone if His/Her hair is dyed? . Is He/She more than 29 years old with not a single silver hair?: Maybe, who knows. Is He/She more than 35 years old with not a single silver hair?: probably. Is He/She more than 50 years old with not a single silver hair?:you don't need to ask.

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    4. Aside: Don't be so sure that somebody over the age of 50 with no grey hairs uses dyes or rinses. My mom only very recently started accumulating significant amounts of grey hair and she's a few months shy of 90! Until this year, I was absolutely sure I'd be gray-haired before her.

      I *HATE* the discrepancy in sizing. Today I bought a top and a bottom in Size XXL from the clearance rack without bothering to try the items on. At home, I was astounded to discover I could barely get the blouse around my shoulders while the pants fit perfectly.... So now I get to drive 25 miles round trip to return the top. Neck, arm length, bust, waist, hip, backwaist length, and distance to hem in centimeters or inches should be stated on the tags. Let the customers decide how much ease they like!

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  11. You know, the bottom line is we all just need to learn to love and respect ourselves for who we are and not let body image issues ruin it for us. I am so guilty of this myself. I've recently gained back 10 lbs of about 50 I managed to lose over the course of about 5 years. There are times I really kick myself around about this. I got to tell you though, it is unbelievable how much better the world treats thinner people. I have seen this personally. You are just shown so much more respect and consideration than heavy people. We live in a sad society. But I suppose it truly starts with loving oneself...I'm still working on that:-)

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    1. It's hard to "love yourself" when the world is telling you that only perfection deserves love. Keep fighting the good fight! It's worth it, and kind of fun to say "screw you!" to all the haters, while you just go about living your fabulous life.

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  12. I still have a pair of my jeans from high school. They are size 8. All size 8s back the were the same from store to store. I was a solid and consistent size 8. I am now 48. 4 kids later I weigh the same as I did back then but my waist and hips are bigger. I can longer close the snap on my size 8 high school jeans.

    AND I now swim in what is being called a size 8.
    I have to buy 3/4/5.

    I'm bigger in the waist than I was...and have to buy size 3-5. Huh? Just goes to show - this size thing? It's just a made up number. Buy stuff that looks good on you and fits nicely and don't worry about the size label - they no longer make ANY sense at all.

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    1. Couldn't agree more! I even wear "maternity" jeans from Gap Inc. these days, because they don't give me muffin top and are much more comfortable to wear during long days in front of the computer. Nobody has ANY idea that I'm not wearing "regular" jeans. It feels like my secret weapon. :)

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  13. Love this post!!! I used to get very upset about what "size" I was. I remember one Christmas where every pant my mom bought me was too big...too small...too ick! It was like a bad goldylocks sketch and I just ended up in tears! I finally realized that I need to know my own body. I know now to look for things called "curvy". I know that i need to look for little zippers on pants so my pants aren't up to my neck or the crotch between my legs. Those things i know...what size they happen to come in doesn't matter. I can range from a size 6 cury at loft to a size 12 at the gap. Doesn't matter...as long as they look good!

    I try to pass this on to my kids...both my son and my daughter. Enjoy who you are. Don't worry about anyone else. Hopefully it makes their way a little less bumpy!

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  14. I ran in to a yahoo story about you and found the blog. I've never particularly avoided my own reflection, but we have lived without mirrors in our house for over 10 years. We do have a small hand mirror. Anyway, here's a blog post that I wrote about it: http://contrarygoddess.blogspot.com/2012/05/mirror-mirror-not-on-wall.html

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  15. I saw your story tonight on 20/20 and despite what some jerks may have posted on this blog, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! Congratulations on your wedding and the publicity for the blog.

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  16. I tend to ignore what ever the celebrities say what size they are, because I honestly don't care. They're human, just like the rest of us, and have days when their favorite jeans don't fit.

    Clothes shopping is my least favorite activity. As it is difficult for me to find items that fit comfortably. Wide hips, long legs, and a curvy bum makes it nearly impossible to find jeans. And shirts? Most women's shirts (especially the cute ones I happen to like!)don't fit me across the shoulders; I tend to go with t-shirts from the mens department. The "sizes" on the tags any more are nothing but a general guideline to 'it might fit'. Being what the fashion industry considers anywhere between a size 18W to 22W doesn't bother me much. If it really comes down to needing something to wear and I can't find anything affordable in the store, I break out the sewing machine and make it myself.

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  19. I often go for days without looking in the mirror, unless I catch a glance in the bathroom mirror. In fact, I've left the house without even checking what I look like at all. It's very liberating.

    My daughter was visiting from China recently and said that while she was home, she became more self conscious about her appearance. She's tall and slender and never had a weight or eating disorder issue. Yet, she was self conscious. The article below discusses her very experience.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/ct-perspec-0601-image-20120601,0,6803044.story

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  20. Just saw you on 20/20 and I just want to say "WOw!" You should be so proud of yourself! Anyone that has that much gut and courage deserves a medal! I have always had a super small body. When I graduated high school, I was still under 100 pounds, and (unfortunately) shorter than my younger sisters. It made me feel really bad about myself, especially since everyone was growing faster than I was. I think that avoiding a mirror, even for just a week or two, is a brilliant idea for many, if not all, women. Not only will it help with vanity problems, but it will hopefully help how you view (or don't view) your body. Thanks for showing that it is possible!!!

    P.S. People who say that you are fat and ugly are obviously lacking in their own self-esteem, but make themselves feel better by putting others down. Not only that, they're completely wrong. Keep on inspiring!

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  21. Just to add my two cents, another downfall of vanity sizing is people trying to fit into smaller sizes which makes clothes look worse than buying what actually fits and complements your figure. The right sizes makes you look better and feel more confident!

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    1. Also, anyone sew? You will be surprised the size of pattern you need to cut out! Usually at least 2 sizes up

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  22. Thank you for writing what I have always been thinking! Size doesn't matter because "size" itself is ambiguous! I'm wearing a size medium shirt and size 2 pants. I bought an extra small jacket today. I have everything in my closet from a 00 to a 6 that fit. My shoes are even size 8 to size 10! My weight changes depending on the medicines I have to take, so I just go with the flow. (I do find the one thing that is the most size consistent is bra size. Across the board, I am a 32C. I can almost always count on that.)

    Can't we have guys pants? Please? How can it take my husband 10 minutes to shop and me 40 on the other side of the store? The only variation for them is the cut- looser in the leg or tighter? As a tall woman, I'd love to hand over my inseam right now. And who decided that when you get wider you get taller and when you get slimmer you get shorter? I find something that fits in the waist, but then I look down and oh, I have capris, not actual pants. The number on the waist doesn't matter when it's way too short or long. I am enjoying the slow movement of some pants to be numbered according to the actual waist measurement- like mens pants.

    Today I am 121 and 5'9". My blood pressure is 98/60. My blood type is O+. I'm 23 and decided that what's important to me is taking care of my body- whatever shape that lands me in. I moisturize my skin, I eat mostly healthy food, enjoy my ice cream, put on makeup when I want to, and I walk my giant dog. If I am happy in my clothes, if I feel confident without makeup (or with it), if I smile bright enough, then it's a good day. My wedding band is the only truly important thing I must wear. But since the day my husband put it on, it has never come off.

    I think it's hard to be anywhere on the size spectrum though. Because I am tall, if I say I bought a 0, then people start to worry about my health. I don't try to be small, I'm just on meds that determine my weight for me. As for celebs- honesty is nice, but I'm not going to think less or more of them based on their size or how honest they are about it.

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  23. Thank you for sharing with the world, your mirror story! It was amazing. For me, it was very uplifting. You are a strong woman. I would just like to say that there are a huge number of strong woman that pay no attention to a number, ie. size or weight. I, for one don't care what the number is on a certain piece of clothing, as it is true from store to store they are different. If I like what it looks like on me, I'll buy it based on that, not the size. My weight fluctuates ten pounds a week, sometimes more sometimes less. Of course I would love to maintain "normal" lol... However that is NORMAL, for me. I love the conversations about this, I just don't understand what the infatuation is with being a certain size?? I say screw the "rules" of society, and do what makes you yourself happy with yourself.

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  24. Loved your story on 20/20 tonight. Great inspiring story. Thanks for giving us all inspiration.

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  25. I just want to say that you are a beautiful person. I seen your segment on 20/20 and I couldn't understand why you would think you are flawed. In my opinion we all have flaws, but that doesn't make us ugly, repulsive, or a bad person. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We can not by any means make everybody happy with the way we look. The way I look at things is if they don't like the way I look then they can look the other way. Being a guy I always wanted to be the guy with a great physical look then I began to look at the whole picture. I have a high metabolism which burns every calorie I take in. I would exercise my butt off but I couldn't get that bigger build. I then accepted my body for what it is. This is who I am, and I am comfortable with my appearance. My self confidence is stronger than ever. Don't worry about looks, or what people think about you. Beauty comes with a great personality, humor, and a kind heart.

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  26. Just saw you on 20/20. Awesome story. I'd love to do the same thing- except I have such crazy hair that I couldn't go without a taming it a mirror! Anyway- to your article: I don't mine celebs talking about size. What I have a hard time with is when they say they are a smaller size then they are. Like, when a woman who weighs 200 lbs states that she is a size 10. It really messes up my body image, because I think, wow, I'm a size 12, so I must be bigger than that- and yet I'm only 160 lbs. So, really, I don't want to hear sizes. I want to hear woman be comfortable with curves. I want good role-models (like you) for my daughter, who understand that beauty comes with acceptance and confidence, not how many ribs you can count through your t-shirt. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. "Like, when a woman who weighs 200 lbs states that she is a size 10. It really messes up my body image, because I think, wow, I'm a size 12, so I must be bigger than that- and yet I'm only 160 lbs."

      Yes! That drives me absolutely crazy, too!! My poor, poor husband gets to hear all about that stuff when I encounter it. It is a miserable lie, isn't it?

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    2. I feel like a freak because I am almost that 200lb, size 10 girl. I am 5'2, 193lbs (healthy BP, etc) and wear a 16 pants and 44DD bra. People taller than me and lighter than me wear bigger sizes then look at me like I'm lying. I'm never going to be the 120lb, size 4 or so everyone seems to think is appropriate for my height.

      What bothers me the most regarding the celebrities is when they're very clearly not whatever size they claim to be. I know what a size 2 is. I know what a 10 is. I'm short. Do people think we're stupid?

      And yes, I would like to go shopping without leaving in tears because nothing fits correctly. I literally have to try on everything I buy other than t shirts, and those I still end up looking like a little kid because an XL goes down past my butt.

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  27. When I was a teenager, I really consumed myself with numbers on clothing. I was pretty chunky, too, and this was before stores that cater to women who fall outside of the size 10 range, so I struggled constantly at an age when the number seemed to really matter. Fortunately for me, I had my mom, who constantly told me to not worry about the number. The only thing that mattered, she said, was how it felt and how it looked. Who cared if it's a size 16 if you look great in it? She always talked about the randomness of sizing. When she was a young woman, she worked in Mexico at a factory where they made jeans. She has always been quite thin and she said she remembers workers would use another as sizing models, regardless of the number that was attached to the jeans. Or someone would make a mistake, and just correct it by taking a little off, which would, of course, alter the true size, even though it was supposed to fit a size "6". So, I was fortunate to have an advocate against sizing in my life at an impressionable age and it's helped me to get over the idea that the number on the garment is important.

    Wonderful entry! I'm glad I found this blog!

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  28. It annoys me that they often refer to the "plus size" section in the store, as the "Womens" section. Why? Aren't we all women? Why all the names: Juniors, Misses, Womens? Sometimes I wish they'd just get it over with and say what I think they really want to: Fat, Fatter and Fattest.

    I shop at two well-known, nationwide department stores. In the first, the Women's section is on the third floor, just behind the housewares, and a full floor away from the clothes that all the, apparently, normal women wear. In a second store, they've actually placed the Women's section completely outside the main department store, in a small store on the mall. The carpet is raggedy and the clothes are all pushed together. In both cases, I feel so unwanted, like they know they have to provide these clothes to us, but they'd rather we didn't mingle with the size 6 women, because we might frighten them.

    I wondered recently why they don't just have all clothes together. Put them on a rack and label them from 0 to 24. Why do we have to be segregated? If you want to segregate, do it by style: Traditional, Contemporary....whatever. But don't make me feel like an outsider, because I already feel that enough, being a size 18 in a "size 8" world.

    And don't even get me started about the size "Extra Large." Great, I already feel big, but now, every time, I see that size, I feel like someone is saying to me, "You're not just large, you're EXTRA large." Is it just me or are clothing sizes full of judgement? Another way to create division in the world and create haves and have-nots?

    You do great work, Kjerstin. Congrats on all your success, both personal and professional.

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    1. Fashion Bug does just what you suggest - all clothes on all racks, size 2 to size 28. Good on them. I've never understood the need to dice everything up either.

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  29. Karen Chambers Barrie, Ontario, CanadaAugust 16, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    I agree with the stand you have about clothing industries and their sizes being all over the map. I hate shopping for clothes for that reason....that and the fact that the mirrors in the change rooms are clearly from the fun house and make us all look far worse than we really are.
    I applaud you for your strength and courage and just thank you on behalf of every woman out here that takes issue with her own body image thanks to the media and clothing industry. We have handed over all our power to them and really need to take it back! You made a very beautiful bride. Congratulations to you and your husband. Wishing you many wonderful years together!

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  30. Hi, I think this is a great article. I just watched your segment on 20/20, and found your site. I get so irritated when women at work (who don't need to lose any weight, by the way) indicate their clothing size with disgust, or the size that they want so badly to be. I have had weight issues since puberty at about age 10. Yes, I'm overweight. I'm even clinically obese-OMG! But, I don't fixate on a size. I focus on feeling like a I look good.

    I'm sorry for those nasty comments you sometimes get. Don't listen to haters. They're just jealous.

    Anyway, thank you for your story, and your passion about these issues. I think you're awesome.

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  31. I think this article is so true. I can go to different stores and wear much different sizes. for example the other day I went shopping for some new jeans since there was a sale at old navy and normally I am a Sosa 7. But when I went to there store which j don't normally shop at I had to get size two pants. when anywhere else I go I am a size 7. the different stores and brands are so different. you can't just go into a store any more and pick out a pair of jeans you want in your size because they all fit so different.

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  32. I get your point but would still love to be a perfect size 8!

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  33. I'm 5'2" and today weigh 178 lbs... Whew. I too struggled with an eating disorder and today am wading through a ridiculous amount of garbage that the media throws at me to try to finally find my confidence. Thank you for writing this. Thank you for sticking up for women.. all of us. Thank you for giving me someone to aspire to be like, for her confidence and "real-ness" and not her size.

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  34. I just stumbled upon your blog after seeing the article Robin Roberts wrote about you. I cried when you said your husband is your mirror and he doesn't see the things he'd change, he just sees the wonderful things about you! That's so beautiful. I recently got married (June) and I shared all your same insecurities. I went through having a very low weight due to disordered eating as well. It was so hard for me to think about having so many eyes on me, but I think having a husband who I know only sees me as 'beautiful' (whatever that is!) was what got me though it. I can't wait to read through your blog.

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  35. I just watched the segment on 20/20 and I just wanted to say: I think the idea is brilliant! I have suffered from body dysmorphic disorder since I was a teenager and have had several relapses with eating disorders. Living up to these photo-shopped images of faux-women is ridiculous. I'm finally getting to the point that I have realized that there is more to me than what society says I should look like. As you age your image is going to change in the mirror, but if you know who you really are you'll never stop seeing the 'real you.' Kudos to you Kjerstin!

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  36. I saw your story on 20/20. Inspirational! Way to go! ~ j///b

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  37. Thank you for not only being true to yourself, but sharing your story with the world. People can be cruel and thoughtless. I applaud your willingness to unapologetically be yourself and not bow to society's false definittion of perfection. Bravo to you! Good luck with your efforts to help others. You've certainly inspired me!

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  38. I just saw the clip of your story on 20/20. I have to admit it's inspiring to me to see a woman willing to drop the mirror image and just focus on her own feelings. Thank you so much for sharing the progress you found in your journey! I look forward to following your blog as an encouragement to my own self-image insecurities. No matter what the world thinks of you, you are beautiful! Congrats to you and your husband on your wedding and the joy you've found together!

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  39. I'm not much into looking in mirrors. I grew up feeling that looking in mirrors too much was vain. Maybe Snow White had more of an effect on me as a little girl than I realized. I'm in my late 40s and other than looking in the mirror in the morning and before I go to bed at night, I rarely bother. I know what I look like. I hate makeup because I don't like having a layer of "stuff" on my skin. Also I have wash and go hair. I use shampoo/conditioner and a brush on it. I don't even own a hair dryer.
    I do care about my appearance in that I am clean and neat. But I am me and I don't feel a need enhance myself to the point that I don't look like my true self. I don't feel inclined to look in a mirror when I walk by it.
    That being said, I too don't like the celebrity standard of thin or the moronic size system for women's clothing. In fact, I rarely buy women's jeans. I buy Kirkland brand mens jeans at Costco for myself. They are inexpensive, wear well, and I KNOW what size I am actually getting.
    On sort of the same topic, but different, I also have a problem with the photos used on womens' health articles and magazines. They don't really show strong, healthy women in work out clothes. They are often photos of young skinny models. They don't look strong, they don't look fit. They are simply young, too thin, holding 1/2 lb weights and have great make up and professionally styled hair. The only exception to this that I've seen is the Muscle & Fitness Hers. But otherwise, I don't like how ultra THIN is shown as an equivalent for healthy.

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  40. I generally describe myself by size as a four. Depending on designer. Is it true that I have a random two, six, ten, or eight in my closet? Yes, but it's random. And the VAST majority of my clothes are either a four or a small, so that's what I use. When the vast majority of my clothing was a ten, I used that. When it was a sixteen, I used that. I think it's kind of silly to get on celebs who are just trying to speak a language people will understand. I also think that an obsession with sizing and with how its referred to is just sort of ridiculous. It's still an obsession with weight. I go to the store, I look for a four or small, if it doesn't fit I size up or down until I find something I feel GOOD in - don't even pay attention to the number. We just shouldn't pay any mind to it, but when celebs are being asked to describe themselves physically, they have to use something. Your ideas around what they should use - it's just too complicated and kind of unnecessary.

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  41. I think we tend to care about someones size in order to "FIT" in to the worlds idea of what is perfect or fit. If we don't fit into the same size that a "beautiful" celebrity fits into then we often feel we are not good enough to be accepted as "beautiful" as well. As much as I try to tell myself that it doesn't matter I battle these thoughts on a daily basis. Always chasing dreams of looking more beautiful and finally accepting and loving myself no matter what size I am. I think many of us battle this in silence because we want to seem confident but in reality we aren't. Especially when we are bombarded day after day with images of "perfection". I appreciate your views on this matter and for sharing your opinions because they really help open up our minds.

    This is not only affecting woman but little girls as well. I remember going clothes shopping with my daughter one day. She really wanted a pair of pants and I asked her if they had it in her size. She said "what size is that? Size fat?". That hurt me so bad. As much as I try to bring up a confident young lady it is hard when she is also exposed to the skinny girls in magazines.

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  42. I just saw your story on YAHOO! I loved this and needed this eye opener. I am stuggling to understand my daughter who is overweight and by all accounts she is healthy. She just started school and is in the 3rd grade after being held back in Kindergarten. She is almost 5 feet tall and over 150 pounds. I don't know how to help her. I feel the need to fix her. But how do I do that without giving her a complex? My love for her is uncondontional, but I find frustration set in when we go shopping for clothes. I want her to feel like a 9 year old soon to be 10. But it is hard when I know everyone thinks she is so much older. It's sad because I begin to hold her to an older kid standard. We ahve tried exercise and not allowing food after certain hours. Even watching what she eats. Doctors only tell me she is over weight and not how to help. We have been to nutritionist for help and nothing we do seems to help her eating habits. I never struggles with this as a child, no one in our family did. So I feel alone in trying to help her without hurting her. Your clip showed me a new love I have to have for her. Its a love of confidence and a love of purity. Not the judging love of friends who might think why can't she just lose the weight or what can I do to make things change for her. The last thing I want is for her to become sick because of her condition. Any advice would be appreciated.

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  43. I really don't vary very much across sizes. I pretty much always wear a 14, 16, L, or XL. Occasionally an M if the piece is very flowy, or an XXL if they are juniors sizes, but that is very consistent. I wonder if this is because I am in an unacceptable size range according to Mindy Kaling and Miranda Lambert. I mean, I can shop at places like Loft and Banana Republic, but there are a lot of stores I'm too fat for, and maybe those are the ones that offer the widest deviation in clothing size. Or maybe it's that I'm an apple shape, so my fit issues are different than for a pear shape. I'm always on the hunt for jeans that fit in the waist but aren't too baggy in the butt and thighs. Are we as fat as our fattest body part? Maybe waist sizes are more standardized than butt/thigh sizes.

    I do not appreciate the celebrity "size 8 pride," since to me it's like they're saying, "I am a socially acceptable size, while you, at size 14-16, are not." Anytime you frame it as "it's OK to be a size 8," you're implying that there's a size it's NOT OK to be. That's also a really self-centered, disingenuous comment from Mindy Kaling about not being fat enough to be a confident sassy large woman or whatever. Would she like to try getting fatter in order to try on that persona? Nope, didn't think so.

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  44. I'm 5'5" and I don't own a scale. I've read articles that say that the thinnest people weigh themselves everyday, but to me that sounds like the most anxiety-ridden way to live. I eat vegetarian because I find that's the eating pattern that makes me the most conscious of getting all the nutrition I need (you have to put thought into it to make sure you're getting everything)and I exercise regularly, so why do I need a scale? I just get weighed when I go to the doctor, but for the rest of the year I'm perfectly happy knowing that I'm healthy and it doesn't matter.

    As far as celebrities talking about their sizes and routines, I tend to tune it out. If there is something I'm grateful that I learned in my communication courses in college, it's that for celebrities their entire JOB hinges on their appearance. So whatever they are able to do, it's okay if I can't do it, too. I have other things to focus on.

    And I try not to be attached to sizes. When I started graduate school 2 years ago, I gained some weight because I was eating out too often (at least I think that's why), so that's when my commitment to cook my own food most of the time and exercise regularly began. About three months later, I already felt much better, I could even feel some arm muscles coming through, and I was really excited to go on a vacation. One day I was shopping and I saw a great dress that I could take with me (cute and on sale), so I brought a 4 and a 6 into the dressing room with me because those were my usual dress sizes for that store, Express. I ended up having to ask for an 8, and that's the one that fit. At first, I was sad because I didn't understand how I needed a bigger size even after I'd made those changes to my diet and exercise. But then I thought, I can actually see and feel my body changing, so isn't that a better indicator that my change in lifestyle is for the better? It's been almost two years since then, and even though I've shed off more fat and gained more muscle, that size 8 dress still fits me well and it's hanging there next to the XXS dress I wore during graduation weekend this past April (another thing I don't understand, why are some dresses in number sizes and others in letter sizes).

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  45. Dear Kjerstin,
    I just watched your 20/20 video and I was so inspired. Then I read this blog post and became even more inspired! I think you are so brave to do something that goes so against the grain of our culture. And yet, I think this aspect of our culture (and many others) is insane! I have actually thought that the degree to which women are expected to be preoccupied with the way they look in a mirror should be considered a psychological disorder, not normal!
    I am a person who struggles with being really preoccupied with "do I look okay" all the time, and I have thought for a long time that I would love to stop looking in the mirror. To see that you actually did it, and for so long, and with such dedication, and with the result and being able to focus on how you feel, rather than how you look, was so inspiring to me. So thank you!!! Also, this article makes many good points. I think if we were all more transparent about who we actually are, and what we actually experience, there would be much greater health in our society. Otherwise, as you have pointed out, there is such a great illusion of a false standard for comparison, and causes so much suffering.
    Anyway, thank you again! I admire your courage! And I have emailed a link to your video and blog to friends and family! :-)

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  46. You are inspiring! Thank you so much for doing what you're doing and the message you're trying to get across. I'll definitely be putting your blog in my google reader. Thank you!

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  48. You are so awesome! Thank you! Your beauty and strength offest all of the ugliness of the comments I've seen coming through on the Yahoo page...We need more people in the world who value what you and your husband value: what's on the inside. Bless you and rock on.

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  49. Kjerstin,
    Thank you so much for writing this article; I really needed to hear your wise words. :)

    I have always been happy with my body. My tall and lean physique have been an advantage in sports throughout the years. Recently however, I started to criticize my body when I looked in the mirror; every dress I tried "just didn't look good on me".

    After reading your article, I realized that I was beginning to give in to the pressure of being model thin! I wasn't seeing myself in the mirror- I was seeing the differences between my body and those of size 2 celebrities!

    Thank you Kjerstin for opening my eyes and reminding me that I am beautiful just the way I am. :)

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  50. I've been an Irish dancer for the past few years, and am not 'fat' by any means. (maybe that sounds self-righteous, but it took me an entire summer to learn that and be happy with myself, so it didn't come easy!) Anyway, due to the intense jumping I do, my leg muscles are really bulky, so unless I wear bell-bottoms, I have to do a size 10. People need to stop judging on pants sizes, 'cause I can keep getting smaller, but I betcha my muscles would just keep getting bigger! A lot of the really skinny athletes have called my legs fat--sadly, they aren't. I've given up skinny jeans to be a dancer, and I like it that way. =) Just because your pant size isn't small, it doesn't mean you're huge. You could just be really tall, or have--*gasp!* a bigger build! We're all differently built peeps!

    I've noticed also, that different brands can mean different sizes. I'm a teenager, and recently had to out to get new bras 'cause of my changing size, and I noticed that for each different brand--even same brand, just different style!--was totally different! It was a huge bother, and took a long time. The pant & shirt market are the exact same, and it's time consuming and makes me wonder how--exactly--are designers getting the sizes? (random measurements? practical jokes? inside jokes?!)

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  51. Wow. You may have changed my life. It is so empowering and freeing to have someone talk directly about this obsession with image that so many women face daily. I just watched your interview and was incrediby blown away and inspired. I was also disappointed with the cruelty and cluelessness of some bloggers. For me, I thought you were very beautiful and I thought, wow, here's this woman that has the looks so many people want and yet she, too, struggles with this pressure to look xyz way.

    I am an Asian woman, and I always wanted to look like you or some version of white beauty. Your whole struggle and story reminded me that the media and our cultural obsessions really traumatize (probably) almost everyone. It was so interesting for me to realize that someone who looks like you could still struggle with painful feelings of self-doubt about physical appearance and body image. Women have had their self-worth so linked to how they look, we sometimes forget the who we really are fundamentally.

    I have struggled with body image since I was in high school, even though I only weighed 95 pounds. I am 5'2 1/2" and usually weigh between 140 - 144. I haven't even been able to tell my fiance my weight because it's a little horrifying to me. (so coming out here is quite something, even tho anonymously) I usually wear from 8 - 10 - 12 clothes and I too have seemingly everysize in my closet. I think that so much of this is related to merchandising and profit -- clothes, make up, weight loss programs, plastic surgeries.

    I don't know...but your story helped bring me back to this place that maybe I can accept my body and my face. Even though it has been (and continues to be) a struggle.

    Thank you for your bravery and courage. I greatly appreciate what you are doing for all women in this country. It's a really hard place to be, to be femal sometimes. And I think that you are making it a little easier for the rest of us real people.

    As my students say, You rock!

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    1. I previously responded to this and do not understand why it was removed. Rather than give a specific description of my daughter (which factored in to the point I was trying to make.) I will merely say she fits an all- American blonde, blue eyed description, and she is quite thin. I was not being sarcastic previously and perhaps someone found this too hard to believe, but I was not joking when I said that she has been very down on herself and has repeatedly told me that she would prefer to be Asian. She is heavily influenced by you-tubers such as Michelle Phan and others who look like her. We've had some serious discussions about body image. That image is her preference. So the point I wanted to make is that we often want what the other person has and we can have no idea that we possess what someone else wants. Like the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. We are all beautiful and our uniqueness and our personalities is what makes us attractive.

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  52. I just want to say one thing, you look great! You're sweet girl with a lovely smile, from what I've seen on the video I found on yahoo, you are a smart lady and there is someone beside you that loves you! A year without a mirror ... it takes more than a courage to do something like this, but let me tell you, you shouldn't be avoiding the mirrors, they show not only the size, but the reflections of out soul and I believe you have a beautiful soul! be happy, always! Regards!

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  53. I think your critical viewpoint of celebrity’s interactions highlights a serious issue in America. To me it does seem clear that even after so many advances in our societies women are still prized for their exterior rather than their interiors. What women think matters, we SAY that at least. But these days we don’t often see that celebrated. Once we get the message that smarter is better and that what you really do matters more than what you look like, once we as a society start celebrating that, then we can truly see a departure from this archaic practice of overvaluing something that is fleeting at best and almost completely worthless to the longevity of our society. Case in point: Aristotle wasn’t known for his ‘ripped abs’ and if he had been, we wouldn’t give two flatulents about him now!

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    1. We can only pray that one day we will have women in Science, Mathmatics, Medicine, Technology, Engineering, etc walking red carpets instead of women who are simply famous for being famous.

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  54. The whole size thing is crazy. I am 54. I grew up in the 60's. In the 60's a size 12 dress pattern had a 30" bust and 33" hips - today that is a size 0. Yes, Marilyn Monroe wore a size 14 when she was alive- but that is today's size 2. Sizing has changed over time for many reasons not the least of which is the availability of good food. When I was growing up the average American woman was 5'5" tall, today she is 5'7' tall. Today's average American woman is also a size 14, but today's size 14 would have been a 20 or 22 when I was a teenager. With the availablility or far more protein and dairy in our diets - our bodies have grown significantly through the decades. At the turn of the last century the average American woman was 5'2" tall and her waist was the size of my thigh. So, my personal opinion is it is time to worry more about good health and fitness than what size dress someone wears. Personally, a skinny woman with no muscle tone so her flesh wobbles when she walks... is not an attractive thing either... Fitness matters.

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  55. Wow, I just saw some of the 20/20 video on Yahoo. You are amazing and an inspiration! I'm a 63 year-old woman, 5'5", 157. I have struggled with my weight since age 15 (that's when my mom took me to a diet doctor) and have been a size 6 to 16, up and down forever. I'm working on accepting, dressing to flatter and oozing confidence. The latter is really hard work. What a head trip I put myself into when I'm "heavier"... I'm at the top of my game when I'm at the lowest on the scale and vice-versa. Thank you for being you, for blogging about all of this and for making me think about moving on into my golden years with my head less critical and more at peace.

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  56. I watched your story online and was shocked that people posted ugly comments. But what really shocked me was that people would respond so while, the whole time, I was thinking, "wow, she's really cute!" I happen to think you are VERY pretty and elegant looking.

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  57. Just yesterday, I jumped up and down with glee for the first time in a long time. You see, I had fit in to size 10 jeans for the first time since I was 24 (I'm 35) and was and still am pleased at the 40 pounds I've lost. Yet, maybe at the next store I'd be a 12 or an 8, this post is speaks so much truth about the fashion industry. My size 10 may have been a 14 thirty years ago...who knows right?

    I'm Cari, I'm 5'5 1/2' and I weigh 146. Sometimes I'm a 12, a 10 or an 8!

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  58. "I just wonder whether pushing ourselves into a culture of "full disclosure" (i.e., talking about our measurements instead of our clothing size) might help us get closer to a place where these things have less power over our lives."

    I totally agree with this statement. When women get into a room and get honest, life gets really fun and interesting, and, at least in my experience, we realize that we are not so abnormal. I love being open about who I am (and not to say that I do it perfectly, but I try to push the boundaries).

    The size thing has also made me crazy. It's so annoying that I have to take 3 sizes in the dressing room for every pair of pants I try on. I am still completely bewildered by some women's ability to mail order clothes. I would never know what size to pick.

    I happen to fluctuate between 37 and 38 inches around the hips, 25 inches around the waist, and 30 inches around the chest. I'm 5'4". I weigh 116 pounds. I usually wear a 7/8 in pants... sometimes a 9, sometimes a 6. I have curvy hips, and a lot of pants don't seem to be made to fit them, so I typically have to try on many different styles and multiple sizes to find something that works.

    Great topic! I'm glad I am not the only one who finds the size thing completely confusing.

    Melissa

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  59. Hi there! So excited about reading your blog. This is a topic I struggle w daily. I too am 5'5"'and 157. But I am not a size 8 . I'm at least a 12. Why am I in a larger size than u?? I'm really confused at the fluxuations :(

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    1. There many factors such as the size of one's breasts and muscle mass. You sound completely normal to me. To compare is to despair! Buy something that is a flattering color and fit that makes you happy. I have found that when I honestly compliment beautiful women openly, instead of feeling intimidated or jealous I feel more beautiful as a result. I also make more good friends!

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  60. "I'd like women to simply say, "yup, I dye my hair," or "yup, I got an eye-lift," or "yup, I pay an enormous amount of money for a personal chef and personal trainer," or "yup, I had weight-loss surgery," or "nope, I eat like crap and I'm probably going to kick the bucket early, but I've got crazy good genes for looks!"

    That might be a good first step.

    But I'd like to see the 2nd step world -- where women and men simply don't give a rat's snass about what anyone weighs, or what color hair is (natural or dyed). In the 2nd step world, we stop comparing ourselves as if we are in some neverending pagent where there can be only one winner.

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  61. Great article! The sooner we stop worrying about the label and just get the item that fits us best the better. For disclosure, I am co-founder of a fashion advice and recommendation service called Dressipi. One of our customers' biggest complaints is around "vanity sizing" so we did a whole bunch of work and investigation around this.

    We looked at over 500 brands (UK, US, European and many other international brands) and in each case got the "fit model" for that brand. This is a slightly amazing stat: of those 500 brands the average difference between any bust, waist or hip measurement for the equivalent or same size (i.e. UK 12, US 8, FR 40, IT 44 etc) was 19 cms!! And most women will comfortable sit across 3 different sizes.

    It is a frustrating issue but not one that is likely to change in a hurry. Retailers will continue to "fit" to their target audience and so, as consumers, we must learn to ignore the label and just focus on the one that fits.

    We ended up building a "Size Finder" where we have mapped all the sizes against each other for all the brands so if you know you are a US size 8 in J Crew (for example) we will tell you the corresponding size for every other brand in our system.
    http://dressipi.com/mobile

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  62. Well I'm 5'9", 316lbs and I wear a size 8. That's right, thanks to Fashion Bug I'm a size 8 too. Who would have thought. I love ice cream, it's my go to when the day sucks and I can't pull myself out of a funk (although I will say that walking is becoming my go to, but burning 170 calories isn't a huge feat). I too am frustrated by sizes, at my healthy weight of 170 I wear a size 16...which by fashion industry standards is fat, but health industry standards is not. And even at my current weight my cholesterol is fine, no signs of diabetes, and thankfully my family has a history of longevity.

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  63. I have not gone on a scale in almost 6 years and that was because I was about to give birth and the nurse wanted to see how my weight was
    In terms of pregnancy health . I have been trying to be a size 8 now for about 10 years , I at a size 10-14 . I hate how I feel about myself , and I admit I feel very angry with myself when I see a new mom or mom with 3 kids with a flat stomach eating a sandwich ! If I even have 1 slice of bread I gain weight . I'm about to turn 38 and reflecting on my life I remember clearly there was a time when I was 13 buying diet gum at Walmart , I remember my parents signed me up at a modeling school to increase my self esteem , at 14 years old and short the staff there weighed all the girls , I weighed 110 pounds they told me to lose 10 pounds if I ever was to be taken seriously as a potential model . My dieting has not stopped and no so far I have not reached my goal weight of 100 lbs !!! Just wondering if that "modeling school" John Robert Powers is still in business ? Growing up in Huntington Beach CA was brutal , perfection was demanded as a young beach girl , we were all too fat , not tall enough , not acne-free, pretty enough ! And we still aren't !

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  64. Something that comes to mind here is that that's the size posted on the garment. "For the record, I'm a size 8 (this week anyway)" says to me, "For the record, the majority of the clothes I own that fit this week say size 8 in them and I am not of the inclination to measure the dimensions of my clothing or myself in inches."

    I don't think many women even know their actual dimensions and just have a running list of what size by what manufacturer they are in their heads. It's easier to say "size 8" because it is associated with the garment.

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  65. The idea of beauty is such a complicated situation. Kind of like punk; in punk style, you normally see plaid jeans and studded vests, which is the opposite of most "normal" clothing. But the whole idea of punk is to stand out and be a nonconformist. By not wearing standard punk clothes, you're getting the psychological part of the movement, but people will see you as just a regular person! Every girl wants to be and feel beautiful, and promoting self-love is a great thing for everyone, but then by fitting into beauty, you're just acting like another cookie-cutter female who conforms to the idea that beauty is of upmost importance. It is a very confusing situation, let alone the idea that the size of your jeans matter. I could go on and on about this, and I might on my blog. But in my head, you should be allowed to wear a lovely dress and do your makeup and hair, but do it by YOUR standards of beauty. At first, I was a little sad to find that I had gone up another size in clothing (sadly, it wasn't at just one or two stores), but I soon realized that it didn't bother me. It did me some good, to realize that I need to step up my game and treat myself healthily. But it didn't make me want to starve myself or anything!

    In the end, I think the only opinion that matters to me is my own. =^-^=

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  66. I think every woman who buys her own clothes already knows that being an 8 sometimes means you are a 6, and sometimes you are a 10. This is just assumed by the speaker, especially when the audience is assumed to be female. It falls into the "you-know-what-i-mean" category. As long as you are happy with your body, and your heart is healthy, then carry on.

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  67. So, this doesn't fit with this post, but it's an interesting article with a quote from someone from Health At Every Size:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/18/health/research/more-data-suggests-fitness-matters-more-than-weight.html

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  68. Hi there, just seen your 20/20 episode from New Zealand. You are AWESOME, you look great as you are. Inspirational

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  69. In my experiences working in the fashion industry, "super fat" was what they called... me. So maybe times have changed?)

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  70. What really upsets me is I am 5'9" tall and have a large frame [not a code word for fat, I wear a 9 glove and have a 32 inseam] and I wear a 12/14 but my size 14 is NOT the same as a size 14 on someone who is 5' 2". Our bodies are not even close to the same shape or dimension , yet I am always lumped in as though my size is some sort of badge of shame. I am almost my ideal weight, I may be slightly overweight by 10 lbs but someone who is a size 14 and 5'2" is really obese and somehow we are considered the same. I work out regularly, watch what I eat and if I were a 5'2" woman I would be a size 6-8. So clothes in the size 14 range are cut for FAT people and hfit all wrong on me and button in the wrong places and have pleats in places to accomodate a huge gut I don't have. Jeans are too damn short and I always wear floods. I am not even that tall, I am only slightly taller than average but I exist in the fringes of clothing sizes considered regular. I always wear the largest size in any brand [12 or 14 or L or XL]Makes me feel like I am some huge monstrosity. Most of the time they do not make trendy nice clothes in a waist size over 32" so I either try to squeeze into them or do without. I have the same issue with shoes -- I wear a 10.5 C width [normal for someone tall] NO stores that sell fashionable shoes sell 10.5 C. I have to squeeze my feet into 10s and hope they stretch. I get blisters and bunions as a result. I feel like society is punishing me because someone sho is really obese may wear the same size-- because they are 7 inches shorter than me.

    I have money to spend and I walk away from stores most of the time empty handed. I heard the average size woman in the us is a size 12 and the average height is 5'6". So why is someone who is a size 14 and 5'9" some human oddity to the fashion world? There should be clothes made up to size 18 as normal sizes if 12 is average. Instead they make 4,2,0 and 0p in abundance-- why?!? hardly ANYONE wears these sizes!!! This is not Asia! American woman are taller and are not petite and tiny!!! BTW I can't wear plus size clothes they are WAAAAAAY too big for me and hang off me like moo moos. I have to buy Men's jeans to get a pair in a 33x32 size.....

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  71. Hi, Kjerstin. I simply love your project. I think this is the first time I'm commenting, though. Anyway - I share many of your thoughts. And, love that SOMEONE, some WOMAN, is shouting out that there is entirely too much emphasis put on appearance. Bottom Line: Everything is so messed up. And, it's getting worse.

    I haven't consistently read your blog, but I really appreciate a few things you've pointed out - like about "thin-powerment". Couldn't be more true. And, I totally agree, of course, that women are objectified - so much so in the past few years, that my theory is that we're going to cycle right back to the 50s in terms of views toward women. And, the worst part about it...is that women are unwittingly encouraging this attitude. They don't know it, but when it happens, it will be undeniable. And, sad. And, a pain the butt.

    Aside from all my thoughts - as for this particular post - I never really believe when any celebrity claims their size. I always think that it's a carefully calculated move, or a habit. The camera adds 10 pounds, and they look really skinny to me, so... (Granted, some ppl are telling the truth, but so am I, and my thinking isn't always right.)

    Some claim to be bigger, some smaller - like Jennifer Love-Hewitt. I simply don't think she was a 2 in that picture, but who knows? She could've been in SOME designers clothing! But, who cares? She mentioned it only because it sounds "skinny", right? So - why mention it at all? If she had said, "A size 12 is not fat!", would she have gotten the same pat on the back, or, more like, "Yes, it is, girl."

    Sorry to go on. FWIW, I'm a 5'4", 145-150 pound, 6-8-10-12-14 pear-shaped 33-y-o. I'd be happier, I think, at 120, but I'd also be happier having the face of me at age 17. So, I clearly need more doses of proper viewage of myself.

    Thanks for the help.

    Annie :)

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  72. I would really like to put in my thoughts here as I am a result of societies pressures, as are many other teens my age. I am a size 5 in juniors pants, which is considered to be small, yet I seem to find myslef wistfully staring at the 3's (one size smaller than my own). I know I am not fat, I know I am not super skinny, and I really feel that being at what is a 'healthy' size at my age is almost looked down upon. I am told that I am tiny by my peers, but myself cannot see it. I know several ohter girls in this situation, and more than anything else, the problem is the fact that we are constantly comparing ourselves to every other female. What we should be comparing is if we eat healthy and excerise. We should encourage each other to be our best and healthiest, and then love the shape we are. Of course, this is much easy to casually suggest than to actually do. But I always tell my friends that they should love their bodies, and if they do not, then change it by being healthy. We make bets to see how long we can go without candy and soda, and discuss yoga and running tips. I find the more i excercise, the better I feel about my body, even if I weigh a little more. The point is there is no perfect weight or size, there is only a perfect you. Someone who loves their imperfections and is happy with the way they treat their body.

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  73. I am 5'3 and weight 125. Most people guess i am anywhere to 90 to 110. I embarrased about my weight because the girls my age are usually in the low 100s. my measurements are 36-27-36 and i do indeed feel big at this.

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  74. I'm 5'7", 125-130lb, and very athletic. I used to be incredibly attached to being a size 0, but now I realize that sizing isn't really indicative of my thinness or how people perceive me. If someone asks now, I usually say I'm a 2 because it sounds less bitchy somehow and obviously I have a lot of pants in that size, but I hate a lot of things about women's clothing sizing so asking me that question could promote a rant. Some of the problem with fluctuation is obviously due to the fact that people can squeeze into tight jeans and others wear loose-fitting clothing. This is personal preference but can change your "size" drastically. There is also very little standardization between designers, as you mentioned. I wish that the women's fashion industry in the US used measurements to size clothing...so much

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  75. Empowering! I found your blog as I am starting a post on fashion without mirror (because I am blind). Look forward to further following - Thanks!

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  76. I think alll mayor industries feed on our deepest desires and they have become specialists in transform a simple need in something we'll die for. The beauty industry, including here hair, make- up, weight-loss, clothing, plastic surgery and all you want to name, explote a simple need we all have, the need to be accepted and loved. Since the day we are born we get hit by a sunami of images that suggest that if we look like this we'll get that and then we will be loved and respected. In my humble opinion the only way you stop this is at home, I was lucky to be raise by parents who teach me that the more I have inside, the least I need from the outside, that If someone did not like me for the way I use my hair or what's my BMI well, they are missing the great friend, partner, adviser, or what ever it is I may be to them, furthermore, why should I care what this type of people think? For me it's about to whom you whant to please, to wich standards are you measuring yourself, because to be honest, the cruelest judge of all is ourselfes. For me as long as I feel healthy in my own terms it's more than enough, and yes I got a breast augmentation, but guess what, my friends, my family and all the people that I care toll me not to, that I didn't need it, but I still when ahead because I like my boddy with bigger bust and I don't hide it, or try to make people think that they are natural. It's like green shadow, or black nail polish you can't pretend that it's natural and nobody assume it. Anyways, it's a tangled matter all this about been ugly or pretty, fat or skinny, right or wrong, it's just a part of our daily struggles, and there is no magic trick to use or simple answer that will work for everyone. At least that is what I think.

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  77. A GUY'S PERSPECTIVE: After a friend made a negative comment about her size the other day, I thought I'd find a list of hot celebrities (in her size) to counter with ... and this post came up in my google search. It amazed me really. I wasn't aware of all the angst around the numbering system on clothing sizes. So many people posting comments about what people think of size this or that, how bad the clothing industry is making them feel, and how they're being judged and manipulated ... (granted there are also some very thoughtful comments here about loving yourself which I agree with). All I can say is this: From a guy's analytical and empirical date driven point of view - the size on the label means nothing when determining how attracted we are to you. We just don't care. We can see if you are confident and smile a lot. We can tell if you exercise and take care of yourself. We know if you have a witty come-back when we tease. Now - regarding the clothing industry and their re-sizing games. As long as selling a size 10 as a size 8 is profitable, they will continue to do it. So I suggest that the millions of online shoppers out there, order in their actual sizes, and return anything that doesn't fit, until the online retailers and clothing manufacturers get tired of bearing the cost of returns and standardize sizing once again!

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  78. Great article! Celebs should be honest about their sizes, weight gains, but be fab and rock it.
    I am a curvy girl, I have hips, pooch, and slight muffin top and I am proud of my body; I just started to go to the gym to weight train and get in shape... it is a work in progress, I use to be in a size 16/18 misses, now I am wearing between 10 or 12 in misses pants (depends on the manufacturer), tops: I am completely confused on; medium is 8/10 and snug; large is 12/14 and baggy (I want to cry).
    Juniors I take an 11 in pants, yeah!!. I use to color my hair until in 2008 I had a severe allergic reaction to the PPD so, I stopped. I tried henna (all natural powder but got expensive, so, I stopped) and it has been 2 years and yes, I have silver/white hair showing and I am rocking it.

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  79. I'm one of those people who ends up fitting a variety of clothes, depending on what the item is and what brand it is. I'm a typical size 14 for dresses (except the distance between my shoulders and cleavage is apparently smaller than "standard", so sometimes I have to take in shoulder seams or straps), a size 10-ish for jeans/trousers/skirts, and anywhere from a size S (or XS) to L when it comes to shirts. It's a little confusing, because I can browse through a number of sections with shirts and sweaters, but am much more limited when it comes to other types of clothing. And I'm pregnant, so now I have to look into maternity clothes, where the jeans come in S, M, and L, and apparently I'm a small, because I'm short. I was a little startled by that, actually, since I'm not used to thinking of myself as "small" when it comes to jeans, and I discovered I was more connected to being a size 10 than I'd realized. I'd internalized what the sizing industry tells me about how big/small I am to a greater extent than I'd thought I had.

    On the other hand, I have other ways in which I almost completely ignore the sizing "rules." I'm a knitter, and since I started knitting sweaters, I've become more conscious of my measurements, and what's actually going to fit well and how it's going to look. It's much easier to start knitting something and know that I'll have to move the waist shaping up a few inches, and that I can easily shorten the sleeves, and it's helped me appreciate my body more. I also sew some of my own dresses and skirts (more fun than buying them because I can use more interesting fabric), and once I hit on a flattering dress, I made more than one and am continually tweaking the pattern so it'll fit better. Skirts are always based on my measurements, rather than a pre-determined size.

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  80. I gave up on sizing years ago. It's either "pants fit" or "pants don't fit". However it makes shopping a living hell. Just when I find a "fitter" and go back to purchase another pair, they have been discontinued. I truly wish I could develop a a company called Perfect Pants where a woman sent her measurements, and I churned out the perfect pants. But, unable to do that, I am absolutely stuck when it comes to buying pants. Nothing that fits is stylish for a mid-forties professional woman. It all looks like something I got from my grandmother.

    Shiirtd are almost as bad. Since when is a Large 28 inches around the bust? If I buy a plus size to accommodate my 36D cleavage it fits like a tent everywhere else, falling off of my shoulders and hanging below my bra under the arms.

    I pay no attention to celebs. Ever since Demi started looking like a spooky 20/40ish I quit looking to celebs for fashion ideas. I believe we, as a society put too much stock in what others do, letting it dictate hair, fashion and even the popular nose style.

    It's way more important for your health and your chi to be happy with who you are and not what size. I just keep telling myself that...and try to squeeze into my "size 8".

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  81. This was a great article. I feel the opposite, because I am very light for how I look. I am 5'5", an average of 108 lbs (give or take, and a little more at 'that time of the month'), but I meet people at my height and weight and they look much thinner, I think I just have very light bones. I am also very curvy (10-11 inches between my waist and hips, 10-11 inches between waist and bust) and have somewhat broad shoulders, and it can be hard to find clothes that fit because most clothing for thin people isn't build for curves or square shoulders. Ironically, I have a shape that is very close to the ideal, but I don't find it any easier to buy clothing (not that it's not an advantage in other ways.) In high school I weighed 10 lbs less and was maybe an inch shorter and I wore a size 4, sometimes 2 and sometimes 6. Now I wear a size 0 or 00 and some stores I am completely sized out of. I shop at H&M a lot, since their button down shirts fit and where I am still a size 4-6. I go for fit over size, but I also think being so small helps me not be upset about it.

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  82. I've all but stopped shopping in stores - I either buy vintage clothing or have my clothing made. Vintage clothing may not even have a tag with a size - so it either fits or it doesn't. When I buy vintage on eBay it's based solely on measurements, so it's easier to determine whether or not it may fit. One of the greatest reassurances is that vintage comes in so many different sizes and proportions, made to fit these women rather than the women fitting into them. Doesn't that sound lovely? My mother makes me some clothes and I have a wonderful Etsy lady who makes me things at about the same price as clothing from Anthropologie. Worth every cent, not only because it's made for me, but also because I get to be involved in the creative process. Wide leg pant with a high waist in tweed - done!

    I agree with some of the comments above about men's sizing, how much easier it is for them. Yes, we may get hung up on a different number, but at least we'd have some consistency and accuracy.

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  83. I stumbled upon this while doing my normal search of this world's misperceptions of a size 6, 8, and even 10. I just needed a bit of empowerment, and the post did just that. I love this article because it's really accurate when it comes to the fact that most people can fit into a variety of sizes, and that celeb sizing can be super misleading. Furthermore, a person can be equally healthy or unhealthy at a size 0, 8, and 16. I've found that it really depends on your height and fitness level as well as lifestyle choices. I'm happy and proud to hover around a size 8. However, some media outlets call this size "fat." I understand that I might be a special case with a large frame size and a (still growing) height of 5'9, but everyone should just stop looking at sizing as their form of measument. Just because someone's a size 2 doesn't really mean they're fit. We should really use a more reliable form of measuring physical health or body proportions to prevent the American population from becoming anorexic or living an otherwise harmful lifestyle to get into that size 2 or 0.

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    1. I totally get where you're at with this.

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  84. Yes let's celebrate being healthy! Thank you for your great work!

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  85. I really enjoyed this article. I wish they manufactured women's clothing in the same way they manufacture men's...actual measurements. Because of this, I usually have the best luck purchasing jeans at places like The Buckle, where everything is waist/inseam. My biggest issue is sizing charts on the internet. We'll use the Gap as an example...specifically their jeans sizing chart for petite women (I am 5'1" and weigh 128lbs, my natural waist measures 28"). Their chart says I should be a 10. Not only do the 10s swallow me whole, even a 6 seems too large. Is that to make people feel better about themselves? This phenomena has plagued me for years. I don't care what number is on the label....I just want the clothes to fit me right. If I'm a 10, fine! Just make sure the waist is 28.5" like your chart says it is and not 30" or more!

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  86. Its really weird when you think about how society works. Your either super skinny or super big. Society hardly brings up the fact that its ok if you can't see your ribs or the fact that thigh gaps are uncommon. I'm 12 years old I'm 5'3 and I weigh 146 lbs. Now if you were to compare me to today's celebrities who starve themselves or work out way to much I would be considered what society calls "fat".Not only does society obsess about the way we look,but the hard part is if you don't look a certain way your teased or harassed to a point where you don't even want to come face to face with a mirror! This sudden interest in becoming "thin" has spiraled out of control so i'm quite inspired at how you can be so out there and confident about who you are. We need more people like you to show the world that everyone is truly beautiful.

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    Replies
    1. I like how this girl can show such a mature response and she's right we do need people willing to speak out. Good for you girl!

      Delete
  87. Hair dye is akin to lipstick, it's an accessory and most women and some men use it at some point or another. I don't think there is any shame is using hair dye and nor should they be. Maybe in some circles it can feel "compulsory" to use it until a certain point, but it's not grey hair that's taboo, but rather ageing faces and bodies.

    As for cosmetic surgeries... I don't think the shame to admitting to them exists so much in the admission that one is not "naturally" perfect, but rather the admission of such a degree of vanity! Let's keep these surgeries somewhat taboo (though they grow less so every year) otherwise we run the risk of their total normalisation. I realise that in some cultural settings they already are totally normalised. Very sad.

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  88. I've all but stopped shopping in stores - I either buy vintage clothing or have my clothing made. Vintage clothing may not even have a tag with a size - so it either fits or it doesn't. When I buy vintage on eBay it's based solely on measurements, so it's easier to determine whether or not it may fit. One of the greatest reassurances is that vintage comes in so many different sizes and proportions,
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  89. Hi, I would like you to read about this:

    http://samispoon.blogspot.com.ar/2013/12/sheinside.html



    this is my proposed boycott to sheinside.com:

    http://alesinchains.blogspot.com.ar/2013/12/sheinside-shitinside.html


    if you can comment on the subject, it would be great.

    ReplyDelete
  90. I fall into the category of "no one's weight is any of my business" and furthermore believe that the fake celebrity weight debate is a prime example of GIGO (garbage in; garbage out.) Why is it garbage, you say? Because no matter whether a celebrity is talking about losing weight or justifying their weight gain it only serves to make their audience self-conscious about something that doesn't really matter in order to sell you more shit. Okay, maybe the morbidly obese and the anorexics matter because they could keel over at any moment, and that's concerning, but Cosmo isn't exactly a constructive forum for real life problems. It's designed to be a giant advertisement which inevitably preys on your insecurities. These articles are like anti-smoking ads which are proven to make people want to smoke and are therefore happily funded by the tobacco industry.

    The only reason these arguments are impactful at all is because society pays them so much attention. So, the only way to win is not to play.

    ReplyDelete
  91. I would like to very much thank you for providing this post. This post has been really helpful to me. And once again, thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  92. In regards to present day fashion, the fitness world has created a craze of certain items such as gym tank tops and yoga pants that are worn as casual wear by many people on a daily basis, whether they attend a gym or not.
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  96. I'm a size 8 and I feel huge. I still have back fat...

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  98. I never believed in love spells or magic until I met this spell caster once when i went to see my friend in Indian this year on a business summit. I meant a man who's name is Dr ATILA he is really powerful and could help cast spells to bring back one's gone, lost, misbehaving lover and magic money spell or spell for a good job or luck spell .I'm now happy & a living testimony cos the man i had wanted to marry left me 5 weeks before our wedding and my life was upside down cos our relationship has been on for 3years. I really loved him, but his mother was against us and he had no good paying job. So when i met this spell caster, i told him what happened and explained the situation of things to him. At first i was undecided,skeptical and doubtful, but i just gave it a try. And in 7 days when i returned to Canada, my boyfriend (now husband) called me by himself and came to me apologizing that everything had been settled with his mom and family and he got a new job interview so we should get married. I didn't believe it cos the spell caster only asked for my name and my boyfriends name and all i wanted him to do. Well we are happily married now and we are expecting our little kid, and my husband also got the new job and our lives became much better. His email is atilahealinghome@yahoo.com

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  99. Your weight being healthy or not depends on your height as well. So Miranda Lambert being a Size 8 vs me is different. She's short, under 5'5" I think, and I'm almost 5'8". I have bigger skeleton, so there is more length for that weight to distribute onto. Her being a size 8 would make her look heavier than me etc. I wear USA size 8 pants, and have a 30" waist and 34" bust, that's what I'm basing my size on. I typically wear a Medium or Large in clothes, even though I seem thinner

    ReplyDelete
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  101. i just want to share my experience and testimony here.. i was married for 6 years to my husband and all of a sudden, another woman came into the picture.. he started hailing me and he was abusive. but i still loved him with all my heart and wanted him at all cost…then he filed for divorce. my whole life was turning apart and i didn’t know what to do .he moved out of the house and abandoned the kids.. so someone told me about trying spiritual means to get my husband back and introduced me to a spell caster…so i decided to try it reluctantly. although i didn’t believe in all those things… then when he consulted his gods and cast a return and love spell, after 3days, my husband came back and was pleading. he had realized his mistakes. I just couldn’t believe it. .anyways we are back together now and we are happy. in case anyone needs this man, his email address is eromosalspiritualtemple@gmail.com or thought hid website http://eromosalspiritualtemple.webs.com or call him with +2348161850195

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  102. Hi My name is 'Bruno Rico' just want to share my experience with the world on how i got my love back and saved my marriage... I was married for 7years with 2kids and we lived happily until things started getting ugly and we had fights and arguments almost every time... it got worse at a point that she filed for divorce... I tried my best to make her change her mind & stay with me cause i loved her with all my heart and didn't want to loose her but everything just didn't work out... she moved out of the house and still went ahead to file for divorce... I pleaded and tried everything but still nothing worked. The breakthrough came when someone introduced me to this wonderful, great spell caster who eventually helped me out... I have never been a fan of things like this but just decided to try reluctantly cause I was desperate and left with no choice... He did special prayers and used roots and herbs... Within 7 days she called me and was sorry for all the emotional trauma she had cost me, moved back to the house and we continue to live happily, the kids are happy too and we are expecting our third child. I have introduced him to a lot of couples with problems across the world and they have had good news... Just thought I should share my experience cause I strongly believe someone out there need's it... You can email his email him with eromosalspiritualtemple@gmail.com or thought his website http://eromosalspiritualtemple.webs.com or call him with +2348161850195

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  103. Hey! I totally agree with all of this. The fashion industry is ridiculous. I was actually looking up some articles on it because I plan on writing about it for my blog The Out Girl. In juniors, I can easily be a size FIFTEEN, while in women's I'm a size EIGHT, TEN, maybe even SIX. Anyway, check out The Out Girl sometime. theoutgirl.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete