DISCLAIMER: There is strong language used in this post. #SorryNotSorry for it. I’m fed up.
I started this blog primarily as a fashion blog. To essentially play dress up with my favourite outfits and share them all with you. I’ve always been complimented for my sense of style, so it’s been fun to share my creations and to gather inspiration from others! For a while now though, I’ve been finding my love of the fashion world dwindling, and after this past week, it’s safe to say: fashion can FUCK OFF.
Yep, I said it, and part of me can’t even believe it, but there it is. Now I think I understand better why some (most) women hate shopping for themselves. I am feeling SO defeated and just…nothing positive, so I won’t even express those feelings out loud.
Since I started my medications about 2 months ago for my depression and anxiety, I have gained a significant amount of weight – about 12 pounds. It wasn’t super shocking; I expected this knowing weight gain was a potential side effect. While that might not sound like much, in 2 months on my 5’5″ frame – that’s a lot… and honestly, I hadn’t really given it much thought; if I did, I would redirect those thoughts in a positive direction.
👉👉👉 re: cute little belly is cute.
Standing in *generic store name here* though, I found that an impossible task to do. I could not escape the extra weight in those lovely 360 degree mirrors. You know, those mirrors that I swear to GOD are designed to highlight every “flaw” you have and implant a deep-seated hatred towards yourself – one that has you walking out having spent more money than you intended when you walked in in an effort to curb the loathing.
Walking in wearing a size 6 pant with room in the waist, having to choose size 8 and 10 from the racks, and struggle to gain the cooperation and permission of my newly thicker thighs, I felt a very familiar disgust towards what I saw in the mirror. I gave up. I just stood there in my skivvies, bare and vulnerable, going over every inch of my new body with a fine-toothed comb. I’ve been working SO HARD on building and promoting self-love and positive affirmation when I gaze at my reflection, and all it took was 5 fucking minutes in a dressing room to unravel all the work I had done. The industry that I had so loved before had enormously let me down.
I was disgusted; disgusted at the dimples and extra rolls that stared back at me, and disgusted at myself for having fallen back into this trap of negativity.
That disgust SHOULD be directed at the companies who clearly don’t know how to size clothing anymore (how can I be 3+ sizes at one fucking time?!), but my disdain immediately went to my newly developed ponch and I wanted to just admit defeat and cry.
In talking with others, and in seeing different posts on the internet regarding this exact topic, I just wonder… How does the fashion industry think that it’s okay or even necessary to vary clothing sizes so greatly? (Anyone else remember when they were one size in every single store, but are now probably any variation between 4-6 different sizes?) How can they do so knowing how this will absolutely affect girls and women psychologically? Anyone in fashion familiar with the phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”???
WHEN DOES IT END? WHERE DO YOU DRAW THE FUCKING LINE?!
Had I been younger, this experience would have had me revisiting my ED tendencies. I’m struggling to keep those thoughts at bay even now…
Fortunately, there is always a silver lining. For me, it’s that I have my eyes wide open to the stats and the struggles that I was so blind to in my privilege before. My whole life, even previous to my dealing with anorexia and bulimia, I have been tiny statured by nature. I was always able to go into any store and find something that fit, and that I felt great in. I never understood why some people hated shopping. I never recognized the struggle that others faced because I couldn’t relate to it..and I have no problem admitting that now. I was naive.
While we’re here, let’s review some stats, shall we?
- According to a 2002 survey, 28% of girls in grade nine and 29% in grade ten engaged in weight-loss behaviours (in a class of 30 students, that’s roughly 8 to 9 people).
- 37% of girls in grade nine and 40% in grade ten perceived themselves as too fat (in a class of 30 students, that’s roughly 11 to 12 people). Even among students of normal-weight (based on BMI), 19% believed that they were too fat, and 12% of students reported attempting to lose weight.
- In a survey of adolescents in grades 7–12, 30% of girls and 25% of boys reported teasing by peers about their weight. Such teasing has been found to persist in the home as well – 29% of girls and 16% of boys reported having been teased by a family member about their weight.
- Body-based teasing can have a serious impact on girls’ attitudes and behaviours. According to one study, girls who reported teasing by family members were 1.5 TIMES MORE LIKELY to engage in binge-eating and extreme weight control behaviours five years later.
- In a study of 14–15 year old adolescents, girls who engaged in strict dieting practices were 18 TIMES MORE LIKELY to develop an ED within six months than non-dieters, and had almost a 20% chance of developing an ED within one year
- At least 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder in the U.S.
- Every 62 minutes at least one person dies as a direct result from an eating disorder.
- Eating disorders have the highest morality rate of any mental illness.
- 13% of women over 50 engage in eating disorder behaviours.
- 16% of transgender college students reported having an eating disorder.
- Eating disorders affect all races and ethnic groups.
These stats (and others) can be found here and here.
More than anything, I’m fucking angry. This bullshit that if you’re not between the sizes of 000 and 3 that you’re not valid or worthy is just that – BULLSHIT. That if you don’t look like the woman on the cover of a magazine, you’re not acceptable. You know, that woman who doesn’t even look like the woman on the cover of the magazine? Yeah.
FUCK these societal standards and FUCK these oppressive fashion standards.
What’s unacceptable is how the modern fashion world operates in tandem with society; what’s NOT is YOUR BODY. I find my love of the fashion world diminishing because I can no longer cater so heavily to an industry that literally propels itself on the destruction of the very demographic it’s created for.
It’s not that I didn’t realize these things before. It’s that I ignored them, turned a blind eye, because I felt like they didn’t directly affect me. All you have to do is flip open a history book to see how productive that mind-set really is…
So going forward, this is what I want you to take away from this rant:
I can’t say that I won’t ever do any fashion posts again. It’s not true, and I’d be lying to myself and to you if I said it. But I will do my absolutely best to shop consciously and create in a way that is body positive and inclusive. I’m still learning and growing myself. I hope you’ll allow me the space I need to expand my thinking, and the constructive criticism that will help me get to a better place.
Women can be vicious creatures, especially towards one another. I hope that we can create a #GuildofGirls who pledge to stand up for and support each other, while standing against those who seek to pit us against one another and tear us apart.
You don’t have to be thin to be worthy of happiness, love and acceptance; you don’t have to be thin to BE happy and loved and accepted.
You don’t have to strive to look airbrushed 100% of the time. You don’t need to keep hurting yourself to fit into a mould that isn’t even REAL. A favourite quote of mine is: “Beyonce doesn’t even look like Beyonce.” Cut yourself some slack. You are a bona fide beauty just the way you are.
That cellulite, those belly rolls, those angel wings (aka extra flap of skin under your arms) – EVERY SINGLE WOMAN has at least one of the above. It’s normal, it’s okay, it’s beautiful. You don’t have to be ashamed of these parts of yourself.
IT’S OKAY TO STRUGGLE WITH HOW YOU FEEL WHEN CHANGES HAPPEN TO YOU AND TO YOUR BODY. I’ve been struggling to accept my new body, but I’m trying, and that’s what matters.
Unfollow those IG accounts that have you uttering hateful things about yourself every time you browse them. Stop reading magazines if the only reason you’re picking them up is to measure yourself against what you’ll find inside. Respectfully ask those in your life to refrain from commenting on your body, and be okay with letting negative people go in order to maintain your own sanity. Seek out body positive people in your life, and in your social medias. Reach out and ask for help, or lend support to others who are needing it. We are all in this together more than we even realize.
“Your body is not the enemy”. No. It absolutely is not.
You are SO MUCH MORE than what you look like.
Cover photo courtesy of Wear Your Label
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