Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Sizeism goes large

Weight is the new black. A new week, a new article about weight either too high or too low. It would seem paradoxical that there's a boom in size 0 clothes occurring at the same time as shrill newspaper headlines trumpet a possible reversal in life expectancy due to excess weight. Are we really becoming a nation of extremes? F&M weighs in on the debate [groan].

Well, not really. You see, this article misses the point. A UK size 4 (a size 0) isn't really freakily thin. This isn't anything to do with emulating supermodels or anorexia. It's really a result of size inflation. My mothers size 12 clothes from 1960/1970 don't fit me and I'm a UK size 6 in 'smart' women's fashions. And this ain't because they've shrunk in the wash... I'm now unable to buy classically styled work clothes on the high street. This has happened in the last 4 years - my M&S size 10 jeans from 4 years ago are tight but size 8 in M&S and Wallis now dwarf me and they don't stock a size 6. I'm a size 8/10 in Topshop or Miss Selfridge but these clothes tend to be styled for younger girls and teens who are probably their main clientele due to price. The styles don't suit me since I'm also pretty curvy despite being slender. So it's entirely possible for a healthy, slimmer hipped, smaller chested woman to come out as a Top Shop size 0 or 00.

In short (or should it be, 'in narrow'), as women on average get larger, the women who have remained a 'normal' size are getting a really bum deal (and chest deal and especially waist deal - don't clothing manufacturers realise that women go in and out). Not only are they increasingly finding it difficult to buy clothes that fit, but they're also subjected to rising acceptability of personal remarks about their weight. It's not just fat people who are having a problem here. I have had people who had never met me before ask me questions about my diet, remark on the circumference of my wrists and even enquire whether I have an eating disorder. Since when was that anything but blatantly rude?

So the size 00 hysteria isn't the new black. It's a bit like leggings - a lot of hype about something with no bulk.


  • At 8:05 pm , Blogger Jock Coats said...

    Oh - the advantages of being a man...waists are in inches. Mind you, there too they are getting squeamish I reckon about producing as many 38-44 inch sizes as are really needed and so people of my size often find ourselves buying things that call themselves "XL" or something to hide our blushes.

  • At 11:51 am , Blogger British National Party member said...

    A town called Liberal
    A true story!

    In the summer of 1880, George H. Walser founded the town of Liberal in southwest Missouri. Named after the Liberal League in Lamar, Missouri (to which the town's organizer belonged), Walser's objective was "to found a town without a church, [w]here unbelievers could bring up their children without religious training," and where Christians were not allowed (Thompson, 1895; Becker, 1895). "His idea was to build up a town that should exclusively be the home of Infidels...a town that should have neither God, Hell, Church, nor Saloon" (Brand, 1895)..........

    ..............In an article that appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on May 2, 1885, titled "An Infidel Experiment," Braden reported the following. [[Ed; read the full article to find out more about who Braden was]]

    "The boast about the sobriety of the town is false. But few of the infidels are total abstainers. Liquor can be obtained at three different places in this town of 300 inhabitants. More drunken infidels can be seen in a year in Liberal than drunken Christians among one hundred times as many church members during the same time. Swearing is the common form of speech in Liberal, and nearly every inhabitant, old and young, swears habitually. Girls and boys swear on the streets, playground, and at home. Fully half of the females will swear, and a large number swear habitually.... Lack of reverence for parents and of obedience to them is the rule. There are more grass widows, grass widowers and people living together, who have former companions living, than in any other town of ten times the population.... A good portion of the few books that are read are of the class that decency keeps under lock and key....

    These infidels...can spend for dances and shows ten times as much as they spend on their liberalism. These dances are corrupting the youth of the surrounding country with infidelity and immorality. There is no lack of loose women at these dances.

    Since Liberal was started there has not been an average of one birth per year of infidel parents. Feticide is universal. The physicians of the place say that a large portion of their practice has been trying to save females from consequences of feticide. In no town is slander more prevalent, or the charges more vile. If one were to accept what the inhabitants say of each other, he would conclude that there is a hell, including all Liberal, and that its inhabitants are the devils (as quoted in Keller, 1885, p. 5). "

    Click the link for more.


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  • At 3:48 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Sorry your blog appears to have died Vivienne. It was a great read.

    Good luck in whatever you're doing now.

  • At 9:03 am , Blogger Femme de Resistance said...

    It's not dead, it's merely resting. LibertyCat and I have been bogged down with PhDs and job applications.

    I've now got 50% of that sorted (passed with minor corrections on Friday 15th) and just need to get the other 50% out of the way.

    Will probably start posting again periodically, though :D


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