Bridging the Divided


I stood in front of a mirror yesterday trying on clothes at Old Navy. My skin looked like a sad, saggy, wrinkled bag. When did that happen? As I stood there, an unflattering version of myself staring back, I blamed the mirror. We all know the worst mirrors and lighting in the world are in dressing rooms. Why? One would think a great strategy for motivating people to buy more clothing would be to make sure dressing rooms had mirrors and lighting that flatter. I don’t look as bad at home in my $15 mirror from Wal-Mart. I put the clothes back on the rack. Clearly, they looked better on the hangers and goddess-sized mannequins scattered throughout the store. Old Navy, pandering to the goddess-sized women among us, calls it Body Equality.  Why can’t we all be equally svelte and taut? I am adding that to my list of questions for God when we meet face to face. 

Goddess-sized. Apparently, it is the kinder, gentler term for plus-sized clothing. Finally, the fashion world is realizing the majority of women aren’t stick-thin and desperately in need of a bag of cheeseburgers. At least whoever makes those decisions landed on an esthetically pleasing phrase. Who wouldn’t want to be goddess-size vs. a big beautiful woman? Euphemisms aside, goddess-size clothing for some stores begins with size 10. Size 10? When did size 10 become a plus-size? I missed that memo. 

Here’s the thing about women’s clothing: sizing is all over the map. Let’s look at Marilyn Monroe, for example. The woman was considered THE sex siren back in the day. She had the perfect hourglass figure and was the envy of every woman in America who didn’t look like her. Marilyn wore a size 12 or 14. By today’s definition of goddess-sized, she would qualify, except estimates say she would actually wear a size 6/8 in 2022. Her measurements? Get this: 35-22-35. Today, size 12 would fit a woman whose bust and waist measurements are 39.5 and 32, respectively. That’s a 10-inch increase in waist size since Marilyn.

Interestingly, at the same time, we are being sold goddess-size clothing, the clothing sizes are getting smaller while we are getting bigger. For instance, not that many years ago I wore a size 6 or 8 depending on the brand. Now, a few more pounds than I care to admit later, I can still fit into a size 8. How is that possible? The reality is clothing sizes are smaller to accommodate American vanity and lust for being thin. However illusory this may be, I obviously don’t look the same in today’s size 8 as I did then. Deceptive sizing is meant to make me feel great about stuffing my saggy, baggy, wrinkled figure into a size 8, but if I chose the size 10, I would be considered goddess-size. Mind-boggling, right? Guys have no clue, and maybe that is a sexist statement, but it’s true. My husband can order his usual size from anywhere and the clothes fit. Not so with the womenfolk.

Where will it end if we continue to make clothing sizes smaller? All of us who are goddess-sized will eventually wear a double zero. Now if mirror manufacturers would follow suit, we could even look like double zeros in their mirrors…..

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