I posted the following two photos on my FB the other day because I wanted to gauge the reaction the photos would get.
First, I posted this one.
And then, I posted this one..
As I fully expected, more people took exception with the second picture, the first picture was relatively ignored by comparison (five comments for the skinny, 17 for the different sizes).
I think there is a lot to wonder about for the second picture, namely, how is the woman on the left considered a size four to eight and how is the woman on the right a size 16?
Also - a lot of people pointed out what I noticed right away, no matter what size this picture claims these women are, someone photoshopped the shit out of it. Already, it's misleading.
I also have to wonder about the claims that this size is what women idealize, this size is what men idealize and this is the national average. The problem with these photos is anyone can make them and even if the intent is well meaning, they can just lead to more confusion.
So, what do I think of the photos?
Well, first, in reference to the skinny picture, I do know some girls that are just the skinniest, tiniest little things. They could eat cheesecake six meals a day and nap eighteen times a day and never gain a pound. To a degree, I am totally envious. Not because I want to be really skinny, because I like having some extra weight on me, but because I want to be able to eat whatever I want and never gain a pound. I am not that girl, I have to work very hard to look the way I want to look and to not have every treat cause weight gain. That's how my body works. It is what it is.
I feel bad for skinny women because people are more likely to tell them they need to eat, that they have an eating disorder, that they somehow aren't real women (the "real women" line is a favourite of obese women everywhere, more on this later). People will say this right to a skinny woman's face with no ounce of shame. But somehow, obese women seem to think they get all the grief, even though most of the grief they supposedly receive is implied. Seeing pictures of skinny women in magazines? Somehow that is an attack on fat women. Seeing pictures of fit women on television? That's done with the express intent of making out of shape women feeling bad about themselves, obviously.
Give me a break.
Now, as far as the size picture goes, I really have to question those sizes. I think they have to reference fashion sizing, which, interestingly enough, would make ALL of the women in the picture plus sized models. I also really have to question the claims that women all strive to be a size 4 to size 8 while men are more interested in a size 12. Who comes up with this shit? Where is the science?
First off, I don't think women actually sit around and bemoan how they don't look like runway models. I think it's probably fairly true that women would always love to be a little thinner, but a lot of us also want bigger boobs, a bigger ass, a smaller ass, smaller boobs, longer legs, skinnier legs, smaller hips, etc. etc. etc. The idea that all women want to look small and tiny and should strive to be that way is ridiculous. Every woman has a different idea of what beautiful is. I don't think we're all dying to be size zeros.
Second, as far as men go, again, I think they are all different. And to say that a men's ideal size is a 12 is probably steeped in bullshit. For one, that size 12 in the picture is not the same as a size 12 anywhere else. A size 12 is probably still bordering on the heavier side of the average. Any time I have hit the size 12 mark, I have hauled my ass to the gym because that is my own personal threshold for my level of fat. Some women look incredible as a size 12, but I'm 5'3", at size 12 I'm fat. That's how my math breaks down.
Now, to say the size 16 is the national average may be fair, but again, that picture does not accurately represent what a size 16 actually looks like. I'm a size 6-8 and I think I look more like the size 16 in the picture. She's round, and soft, has some meat. I like that. But I think that woman is also probably six feet tall.
Here's the thing, I'm willing to bet most women are closer to a size 16, but no goddamn way are more women close to six feet tall. Most of us fall into that 5'3" - 5'7" category. And guess what, a size 16 is going to look much heftier on a smaller frame. Sorry, that's just how height and weight work.
Anyway, I think at the end of it all, you have the body you have and you have to work with it. If you are one of those really skinny women that can't gain weight for trying, you should probably stop stuffing yourself with cookies and cake in an effort to gain weight because it's not good for you. Hit the gym, lift some weights, gain some muscle. You'll feel better.
If you are one of those women that is sitting around worrying that you are fat all goddamn day, or if you're one of those deluded women that uses the whole "Marilyn Monroe was a size 16" bullshit line to continue justifying the fact you're out of shape and miserable, my advice is the same. Put down the cookies, shut up, and go get some exercise. You will feel better about yourself whether you end up in smaller clothes or not.
And finally, can we get over the whole "real women" argument PLEASE? The skinny, itty bitty woman is just as much a woman as a 300 lb woman. We all have the same parts that make us women. It's not our size, it's not our weight, it's fucking BIOLOGY people. The "real women" line is bullshit and it comes from the same people that use the Marilyn Monroe line; people that are so bloody ashamed of their weight (no matter what it is, whether they are average weight or obese) but are too goddamn lazy to do anything about. Instead they just bully other women for being naturally smaller, or the women who slug it out in the gym to look good, drop weight, etc.
Here's one thing I know for sure. Bitching and moaning about the body you have, whether it's small or big, doesn't burn calories, it doesn't make you smaller, it won't get you into the size of dress you want to be in, no matter what it is. Tearing other women down doesn't do it either. Work hard, eat well, and reap the benefits.
Personally, I've always been heavier. My body is naturally round. I have big boobs, wider hips and thick calves. But you know what, as long as I keep my muscles tight, I look fucking good and I like it. I've worked to have strong thighs, strong arms. I'd kill for a J.Lo ass and wish I was about four inches taller. But I work with what I have. I've been really fat in the past and I've hated every second of it. But rather than sit around and get more fat, or bitch about skinny chicks, I got off my ass and worked to look the way I wanted to work. I took the more difficult road, and if that gives me a superiority complex, I think I've earned it.