Let’s go shopping together.
Imagine a day where you wake up ready to take on the day. This day you feel energized and feeling great about your body. You’ve been eating healthy and have your fitness routine down. Maybe you’ve even lost a pound or two. Or maybe you went and got plastic surgery because that’s what you’ve wanted to do. Loads of my friends have done this, many just want breast augmentation surgery from cosmetic surgeons like Luxurgery, as long as it made them happy it didn’t matter. So, after you’ve finally got your body confidence you now decide that it’s time to go shopping. You start your morning off with your favorite breakfast and coffee, you flip through social media only to find ads filled with women of sizes that don’t particularly match yours. You start to feel a little discouraged but you decide to not let that get you down. You drive to the mall and head to your favorite store to pick out some clothes, especially from somewhere similar to https://shopbittersweet.com/. You are so excited to try them on and you are feeling confident. However, the pants don’t fit right, the shirt is too tight, that dress won’t fit over your waist. You move on to the next store and the same thing. You leave the mall feeling more discouraged than ever. Not only do the models not match what you look like but the clothes don’t either. You leave with nothing, including the confidence you had walking in.
Have you ever felt like this? I have. My friends have. Multiple people I know have. Some of my friends have had surgery at More Beautiful You and this has made them much happier! Women between sizes 4 and 12 tend to have this issue. You are not alone. And here’s why.
My Personal Struggle
Normally, I am size 8. Well technically, one brand of jeans tells me I am size 8, another tells me I am a size 6 and another tells me I am size 10. I am normally a size small in shirts, but in dresses, I have to get a medium or large because I’m small in my shoulders and chest but bigger in thighs and butt. My weight varies weekly. I fluctuate a couple pounds here and there, but I bet if I check my BMI right now, it would tell me I am overweight.
The ads to my favorite stores tell me I am too. But am I? I personally would not label myself plus-size or even overweight. I am active every day and eat very healthy. However, society tells me different.
Like most women, I love to shop online. I continue to be inundated with images of women that do not have my body type advertising the clothing line. I see outfits I love but when I don’t see a girl who fits my body type modeling it, it’s hard for me to see how well someone with my shape would look in that outfit. Shopping is frustrating enough when something doesn’t fit you but when you don’t even see women of your shape wearing the clothes, it’s even more frustrating.
The Body Positive Movement in Society
We have done a great job in the last few years to encourage women to love their bodies, whether they are a size 0, size 16 or somewhere in between. Plus-sized models are becoming more mainstream, even gracing the cover of the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated. But one thing that still seems to be missing is the appearance of average-sized women – the “in between” sizes, the women between the sizes of 4-12 or in my case the size of 6-10. The women that take about most of the percentage of our population. These are the women that don’t see their size portrayed in the media and are not sure where they fit in.
They are too big to be considered “skinny” in the modeling world, and yet too small to be considered “plus size”. In today’s society, self-love is already hard, but when we feel under-represented in the media, it gets even harder. So what are these women labeled as?
Self Love Beauty’s mission is for women of all shapes and sizes to love their bodies and feel confident in their own skin, no matter what side of the spectrum you fit in. It’s great that we’re starting to see more fuller figured women represented in clothing and beauty ads, but society has skipped over a large section of the population.
Women like me deserve a voice too.
Fitting In As The “In Between” Women.
I believe women in my size range have more body shame then others. Why? Because our bodies are under-represented in advertisements and the media, making it seem like we’re out of place if we don’t fit into one of the two body categories – skinny or plus size.
Taking This Question to the Streets
Just like you and I, there are many other women that feel this way. So I asked these women what they have experienced and how they feel about their body size being represented in society. Here is what they had to say:
1.) What specific experience they had when trying on clothes that was frustrating to them?
“When I was younger I struggled with this a lot because I was larger than normal sizes and stores but obviously didn’t want to go to plus size. Being tall meant that things are almost always too short for me and I couldn’t wear trendy clothes. But I often felt frustrated that the largest size in store was too small for me.”
“How the clothes are all made different and how sizes can run differently. Size 10 will start to become too big, but size 8 is too tight.”
“I hate the lack of consistency between brands. One of my favorite pair of jeans ever are a size 10 – but I also have work pants that are 4’s and dresses that are 2’s….but fit in LITERALLY nothing from a store like Abercrombie. Their t-shirts would be best served as a headband for me.”
2.) Do you feel that your body size is well represented in the body positive movement going on in society?
“Like you said, I fall somewhere in the middle so I don’t really get represented. I think a lot of pressure falls on the in-between sized girls to be skinny like a model vs. those who are overweight who are pressured to just be healthier.”
“No. I never ever see a size 8 model in pictures. They are usually super thin or plus size. Everything looks good on thin women. I end up getting my hopes up thinking “oh this will look cute on me” and then I put it on and it doesn’t look good.”
“I feel that my body size is not well represented in the body positive movement. I carry an athletic build. Society does not represent women with a strong, muscular body. It’s either you have to be skinny plus size. I feel like the ones in the middle are lost.”
“Yes and no. I’m built very athletically, and always have been. Growing up I was bigger than all of my girlfriends and most of my guy friends. Now that I’m getting even more muscular I think the amount of criticism versus the amount of positive feedback is about the same. You have people that are all about muscular women and people who think it’s manly and gross – it is what it is. I think there’s always going to be that subjective view of body image because everyone has different taste – I just hope women can get to the point where they realize what someone else thinks of you is meaningless.”
3.) What body size/type do you want to see being advertised more?
“I’d love to just see the average girl. 5’4-5’7 140-160 pounds.”
“Size 8-10! I have the typical hour glass body shape. I want to see how clothes look on girls like me! Not straight skinny or plus size.”
“Every body type – each one is beautiful. Not one body is the same yet we feel the need to compare ourselves to others constantly. I think we can all say we are guilty of this. How do we stop it? Make people aware it’s okay to have curves, it’s okay to be skinny, it’s okay to be fit, it’s okay to have acne, it’s okay to have a physical disability, it’s okay to be pear shaped, hour glass figured, name your shape. The key is being healthy – no matter what size or shape you are (and dressing your body type is important too!).”
These women all shared their experiences and I think it is important we listen.
Work with Self Love Beauty
We are here to help advertisers. We want our bodies to be shown. We want them to show real bodies in real clothes. There are some companies that are starting to do this but the women are always in bra/underwear or bikinis. I don’t know about you but on a daily basis, I wear more than just those items. I want to see ads of real women wearing clothes that I wear every day. I want to find clothes that fit my body.
What woman doesn’t want to feel beautiful all the time and continue to grow in self-love for her body?
The women in the pictures of this article are real women, no photo shop. These pictures showcase how each body is different, how each size looks different and how we want to be accepted. The beauty and confidence in these women was amazing and I am so glad I was able to show what true bodies look like for a change. During this photo shoot, I had my photo taken too. Do you know how vulnerable a person has to get to dress down into just their bra and underwear in front of people, in front of cameras, feeling like your body isn’t perfect? It takes a lot of self-love and confidence, and surrounding yourself with amazing people to continue to stay healthy in both body and mind to accept the way you look and not feel self-conscious. It was an amazing to see.
Society, companies and advertisers need to continue to utilize real photos like these. They are relatable and they help young girls and women know that their little scar, stretch marks and any little difference makes them beautiful.
Use us as models. I want to go through a magazine and have women my size showing off the latest fashions, so I can see if my curves will actually look okay with an outfit instead of just thinking I could never pull it off or buy it and be unhappy. As for most women, our bodies are constantly changing. We have curves, fat, areas that are fit. As our bodies change, we must continue to love ourselves.. I want to see my friends in the magazines wearing a size I could wear, showing off their confidence in their body, and having society accept them just the way they do plus-size women and skinny models.
Call us the in between group, average, normal – truthfully I don’t care what our label is. Just don’t forget about us.
Contact Self Love Beauty
So Macy’s, Forever 21, online boutiques, express and any other store that advertises to women – contact me and I will get you the women you need to market to. I am surrounded by them every day. Help be the change in the journey to self-love. The “in between” size women need you to step up and be the change along with us.
And readers, help us support this cause. Take your picture with your size and post on social media using the hashtag #inbetweensizes and #size__(insert your size). Tag on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Share your story. YOU deserve a voice.
Self Love Beauty supports women of all shapes sizes. We want to help each person find self-love in their journey. We believe all women should have a voice.
Check out our video on the #inbetweensizes too!