The scarlet dress size
It’s a Saturday morning and a young woman climbs out of bed. She doesn’t have class today and it’s her day off from work. She’s in a good mood and she wants to go shopping for new jeans. She looks around the store and takes a pair in each color, hoping they would fit. In the dressing room, she puts them on and buttons them.
A sigh of disappointment escapes her.
Still hopeful, she reaches the front desk and asks, “Do these come in a double zero?”
“No,” the cashier replies.
Upset with the answer she puts back the pants. It’s the same story every time.
This scene is rarely told, not because it’s a mundane tale, but because people who are skinny are thought to not have body issues. Models have been adored and envied for decades, but even they have been equally critiqued and loathed.
According to dosomething.org, the average woman in the U.S. is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 140 pounds. In an effort to help women improve their body image, movements such as Dove’s 2004 Real Beauty campaign have developed a new philosophy and adopted the slogan, “Real Women Have Curves.”
Although the intent behind the campaign was caring, what this new thinking fails to notice is that the philosophy is just as detrimental as it is to put size-zero models on a pedestal.
Instead of solving the problem of body image, this new philosophy instead changes the demographic of who is affected. This idea that “real” women have curves causes those who cannot control how skinny they are to feel like less of a woman and it downgrades their confidence because they do not have big breasts or wide hips.
Breast implants and other cosmetic surgeries are a possibility, but such procedures are expensive and few have the extra income. It should not have to come that, just as no one should have to result to anorexia, bulimia and binge eating, relying on eating disorders in order to fit society’s latest mold.
People have a misconception that having a thin frame makes life perfect, but the reality is that thin people are just as insecure about their bodies.
Curvaceous women are accompanied with a social stigma, and it’s the same with skinny women except, instead of people thinking they are lazy, society tends think that thin people are sick.
There are so many things that play into someone’s body makeup, from the genes, eating habits, exercise and even a person’s metabolism.
Because not everyone is “lucky” enough to be skinny, it’s rather seen as unnatural.
According to psychologytoday.com, body image is “the mental representation we create of what we think we look like. … It is subject to all kinds of distortion from internal elements like our emotions, moods, early experiences and attitudes of our parents.”
It’s psychological — perpetuated by society. Rather than reshape the mold that women must fit into just to be accepted, campaigns seeking to empower women should empower all women: skinny, curvy, tall, short, busty, flat chested, “bootylicious” or flat-bummed.
What should be pushed is being healthy, which does not mean the same to everyone. While a 4-foot-11-inch 19-year-old woman may be perfectly healthy at 95 pounds, the same cannot be said of a 5-foot-5-inch 25-year-old woman. Everyone is made differently and should be accepted as such.
We can’t all be Barbies.
Mónica Rojas is a print journalism freshman and may be reached at [email protected]