The “Ideal Summer Body”!
As the idea of a ‘summer body’ becomes more and more relevant, so does the idea of the ‘ideal summer body’. I’ve struggled a lot with how I look, and the size of clothing I wear doesn’t count as ‘plus-sized’ but neither does it count as ‘the ideal body’. I stand in that weird, medium section – otherwise known as size 12 wearers – where because of the size of clothing I wear, I count as the middle ground no one wishes to be in.
Because the world, and fashion magazines put such an importance on looking ‘perfect’, telling everyone my clothing size as I just did is a big step for me. Because I’ve always had the impression that a size 12 is ‘too big’. Stupid, really isn’t it? I always feel happy when I fit into a size 10 easily. And then I always feel guilty, because I’m not really that size. But why should I feel guilty? Why have I created this idea in my head that a size 12 is less than ideal? According to reports, the average dress size of a UK woman in 2017 was a size 16. But my question isn’t only why do I feel ‘fat’ for being a size 12, but also – why do sizes have such an importance in my brain? And why does what clothing size I am make me judge myself, when I tell everyone else they’re stupid for thinking too much of theirs?
I had a conversation with one of my best friends recently, where we were talking about our clothing sizes. The two of us wear about the same size, and when we opened up the conversation to the rest of the people around us, I was surprised when a ‘skinny’ friend of mine said she wears size 12 trousers. And I suddenly hated that I put a certain expectation on the size of clothing I wear. But I also realised that, by talking about your clothing size with the people you admire around you, you become more aware that the size of clothes you wear means absolutely nothing. Honestly. It may sound hypocritical of me, after my rant in the last paragraph, but really – it doesn’t actually mean anything.
So many people all over the internet have tried jeans or dresses from different shops. All of those clothes might have said the same size, but it doesn’t mean that all of the similar items of clothing fit the person trying them on in the same way as the one before. A size 12 from H&M actually usually equates to a size 8/10 everywhere else if you’re trying on their jeans (trust me). We’ve put such an importance on the size of clothing we wear, believing that the person processing your order behind the counter at Primark is judging you for buying a certain size, but nobody cares, really. Have you ever told a friend, “oh I wear a size 12” and they’ve turned and said “it’s time to lose some weight, hon”? If you have I would advise you run as far away as possible, because from my experience they’ve just looked at me as if to say “am I supposed to act like you’re a beached whale or something?” I’ve always found that I care more about my own size than I do anyone else’s. Someone else telling me they’re a size 12 and acting ashamed always makes me angry; so why don’t I feel the same way about myself?
The model and ‘The Good Place’ actress Jameela Jamil started a campaign recently called ‘I Weigh’. After seeing a post on the social media platform Instagram, where someone had posted a series of photos of the Kardashians and had included how much each of them weigh, comparing them with one another, Jameela Jamil decided to speak up. To some extent, I suppose that’s what’s affected me in the past. The idea that you see celebrities who’ve ‘gained SO much weight!!!’ but who truly just look healthier affect the way you think of your own body. Jameela Jamil herself had experienced body shaming, which is why she created the ‘I Weigh’ campaign, encouraging women and men all over the world to post a photo of themselves with reasons for why they are who they are. I was part of the campaign fairly early on, too, with my own post on Instagram. The campaign is about the importance of more than what the scale says; of having more substance than the numbers you see. The campaign is about removing the grasp sizing and weight has over all men and women, due to what we see in the media, and more about valuing yourself for what you’re worth, and what makes you, you.
I’m going to continue to support this campaign for as long as I can, because I know first-hand the significance a stupid number has over a person. This summer, I’m not about a ‘beach body’ and more about giving the beach whatever body I have, and trying my very best to be confident in that body. This is the body I’ve been dealt, so this is the body I’m going to try to love.
By Tirion Davies