I have officially fallen into the dark hole that is Project Runway. I have never been one particularly inclined towards fashion. My go-to shoe is a flip flop and I wear black jeans 360 days of the year. The other 5, you’re lucky if I put pants on at all. I’m not known for being fashion forward, okay? So anyways, the season I just finished introduced “plus size” models. I put it in quotes because I hate that description. Does it matter? Can’t a model be a model cause they’re a model? Am I a plus size writer? Is he a plus size comedian? I mean, I have never in my life heard of a man being described by his size beyond dad-bod which is more comical than anything else. Women, however, are constantly defined by their shape. She’s an hourglass, pear, rectangle – (eye roll) the list goes on and on and on. People come in all different shapes and sizes. I would like to think we’ve come to a point in history for future generations that this derogatory language fades into a memory of the past.
To give you an idea, 67% of women are considered “plus size” which starts at a US size 8. If you could see my face right now, it’s a mixture of horror and too much hot sauce. Why do we need a term to describe the majority of women? Fashion should be inclusive. We all need clothes. Every single one of us. The language these industries use is extremely important to promote appreciation for all types of body shapes. Body shaming is a real thing and I want it gone. Being thin has always been associated with the idea of what is beautiful in my lifetime. I was born in the wrong century. My body would have KILLED in the Renaissance Era. Imagine runway model figures in a DaVinci. Gross. Not until recently have curvier women have been welcomed into the high fashion world and I.love.it. I’m seeing it in mannequins, advertising and on runways. What a breath of fresh air. Sports Illustrated debuted its first “plus size” model on the cover in 2016. The more we see it, the more mainstream it becomes. It’s revolutionary and changing the definition and scope of beauty for our youth which will hopefully help in the fight against bullying, eating disorders and low self-esteem.
Body image is a huge problem for men and women in the states. Everyone is victim to it. Fun fact, Mariah Carey, no matter what size pant she’s wearing, gets a size 6 tag sewn into every pair of pants she owns. I mean, yes, that’s insane, but it’s also an example of how fixated we’ve become on numbers and size. In our technology based society, our minds are constantly being reminded of what is considered attractive and sexy. Why do we have to be described by our insecurities? You’re not described as ‘Holy Moly on her face Amber’ or ‘she’s alright looking Lauren’ or ‘but she has a great personality Gwen’. Why can’t we describe in ways that lift people up and make them feel like more than enough instead of less than? Life is hard enough. Am I right?
I have struggled with my body and food since I was 11 years old. I can’t remember the last time I was happy with with the way I looked. I played sports growing up, so I wasn’t fat but I always felt like I had a larger frame than a lot of girls my age. I became obsessed. In high school, I would come home from track practice and run more. I wrote down every single thing I ate every day. If it was longer than 5 lines long, I had to make up for it the next day. If I wasn’t below a certain weight, I wasn’t allowed to eat. I was taking diet pills to curb my appetite. I would skip breakfast. I would skip lunch by asking for extra help from my math teacher, which I didn’t need. I would eat dinner with the family as my one meal of the day. On extra special days, I would even allow myself a second helping. It was unhealthy and it consumed me.
I’ve obviously come a long way since those days but it’s still a struggle. I have not allowed myself to see a number on a scale in over a decade. So what does someone with body dysmorphia and self image issues do? MOVE TO LA. Obviously. Oh, the irony. The land where image is “everything”. I worked at a members-only club and I was one of the larger women on staff. They ordered jeans for our new uniform and when I tried on the biggest size they make, it didn’t fit. I was furious. It was humiliating. And the thing is, there’s nothing wrong with me. I’m not the problem – but it sure is easy to feel that way. I know I’m a curvy lady. Trust me. I’m more aware of it than anyone else. I buy my own pants. I see myself in the mirror. I know what I’m dealing with over here. And while I have created healthier habits, everyday is a fight. Birthing hips aren’t exactly what the movies are made of these days but don’t worry, a man told me the other day, “Hey, girls like you are making a comeback in Hollywood.” Girls like me? While I would love to believe he meant blonde, smart and mouthy, he didn’t.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, I am not condoning unhealthy lifestyles. There is a huge obesity problem in America with heart disease being the number one cause of death. Statistically, the majority of us are overweight. When my doctor told me I was overweight, I pretty much bawled my eyes out like I was told I couldn’t ever have a sip of alcohol again. Speaking of which, is anyone ever honest with their doctor about how much they drink? I’m certainly not. How many drinks do I have a week? How am I supposed to answer that? Can I just tell you how many drinks I had last night? I feel like if I was honest, I’d be sent to a rehab facility because those forms you fill out say you’re only supposed to have 7 drinks a week. WHAT?! I have to ration all week just to have a funday Sunday? What is this? The Hunger Games?! So yeah…my doctor thinks I have 3 drinks a week. That’s not the truth and I’m sticking to it. Anyways, while I wish I was as fat as I thought I was in high school, I am still striving for that ‘my body is my temple’ mentality. I’ll get there. Learning to love myself one day at a time Xx