Why does that little tag in women’s clothing have so much power to shape our self image and self esteem? And why are women’s sizes not true? A man’s size 36 waist is a size 36 waist no matter where you shop. Sizes for women depend on the designer, the cost, and the market. So good luck.
Recently I was watching an Oprah show featuring people who had lost hundreds of pounds. The show opened with Oprah holding up a skirt with a 105-inch waist. Oprah introduced the woman who once wore the skirt. She appeared with a life-size before picture in the background as the audience gasped and cheered. She talked about how and why she had lost over 300 pounds. “What size do you wear now?” was the next question. The next guest was a man who had lost over 300 pounds. Oprah’s interview was again powerful, except I didn’t hear the question, “What size do you wear now?”
A couple days later I saw the Weight Watchers commercial featuring Academy Award-winner and singer Jennifer Hudson. In the background was her singing “I win” as she talked about wearing jeans a size smaller. In the August 2010 InStyle magazine article “Makeover of the Year,” announcing her drop from a size 16 to a size 6, the 28-year-old says that she is not losing any more weight and says “you’ll never see me skinny.” Isn’t being a size 6 “skinny” to most reasonable people?
Being very overweight can cause all kinds of health problems, so I’m not arguing against striving for a healthy, manageable weight. We have a health initiative here, after all. But why our obsession with what size we wear?
Then I caught a Fruit of the Loom commercial. The Fruit Guys band is playing this jazzy tune called “Flawless,” with women of all sizes sauntering about in their undies, musing on the motive of magazines to convenience women that size make a difference. One of the lines from the commercial, “Would it look any better on a 20 inch waist? I’m flawless,” got me thinking maybe we should start a movement: Rip out your tags and sing along, “I’m flawless.”