Body size and shapes are loaded topics in the U.S., especially for women. There's pressure in one direction to have the body of a teenage boy, and in another direction to have a body with large breasts and hips, and "reality" TV seems to have introduced this weird mash-up body that's the waist and hips of a teenage boy with enormous breasts (note to men: not found in nature). And then there's the "moralistic" pressure, that one could be stick-thin simply if one had enough self-discipline.
None of this reflects the reality of being a woman in the U.S. None of this reflects the reality of the genetics that each of received from our parents that none of chose - but that's true for everyone, whether those genetics bestowed a petite frame or a more substantial one. Why are we battling each other instead of agreeing that it's not cool to judge anyone, including ourselves, for his/her body shape? Women frequently make demeaning comments to me about my body, judging me for being, well, thin, when I would never dream of making comments about their body. That's not okay. I wish that you wouldn't judge your own body, but you have absolutely no right to judge mine.
I have much sympathy - and some empathy - for women who are sensitive about their weight/size/shape and for women who have difficulty finding clothing that fits. My sympathy and patience is being strained, however, with reactions to the shirt sizes that are based not on the true fit, but on the label.
I wear children's underwear, size 10. Would I prefer Dora the Explorer or Disney princesses on those? (Thank goodness I don't know any of you IRL, but for the record, I'll note the answer is: neither.)I wear children's socks. I was once professionally measured for a bra: 26B. You know who sells 26B bras? Not a lot of places - and most manufacturers heavily, heavily pad bras on that end of the spectrum, because - hey, don't all women want larger breasts? (Hint: no.)I bought a pair of women's small fleece tights last week; they stretch from my toes to my armpits. Instead of feeling demoralized, or like I'm less of a "woman," I laugh: there's not many other options, eh, and I'd rather embrace the absurdity of the U.S. garment industry than feel badly about myself.
That may not be possible for everyone and it's not always an easy place to get to. I was long "one of the guys" and felt more comfortable as a teenager in jeans and a baggy t-shirt so I could stay one of the guys (hey, it was the '90s: with usenet, IRC, and 14.4k modems, we thought we were height of geek-cool). Woot t-shirts were some of the first clothing I found that were flattering to my 7/8th size body; for someone who hid in clothing for so many years, finding shirts that fit allowed me to embrace a body that I'd had no hand in choosing, and to feel more confident about myself. I still dress "modestly," but that no longer means a choice between clothing intended for 12 year old girls (cutesy) and clothing intended for 12 year old boys (superheros; after all, even heroes have the right to dream*).
What I wish for each of us is that we could find clothing that makes us feel good about ourselves when we look in the mirror. Those of you who have found that the Anvil shirts look better on you than the AA shirts? I'm genuinely glad for you. Those of you who have spent your lives searching for clothing that is flattering and in which you feel confident? I'm there with you. But those of you who like the size printed on the Anvil better than the size printed on AA? Cut out the label. Blame that sexist pig who runs AA for the ridiculously sized blanks. They would have more accurately been called "petite" or something, but they weren't. But sizing is only words: words can be used as weapons and hurt - we've been using them as weapons against each other since this shirt debate started - but they can also be "only words."
Anvil shirts are not "huge." They are huge on me. The AA ML that I just bought as a present for a friend? Huge on me; not huge on someone who's 5'10". Your ability to find a t-shirt that fits you does not need to take away my ability to find a t-shirt that fits me. I'm a little stunned at our willingness to throw each other under the bus over the words printed on labels - especially when the words we're arguing over are not "made in the USA" versus "made in Honduras/Nicaragua/Bangladesh."
I appreciated that woot shirts gave me a chance to express myself through humorous, poignant, or ironic images. I will miss that. I will miss this community and you all. I will not feel like less of an adult when I buy boys' shirts again, and I will not allow the words on the sizing labels to determine my self-confidence.
Shoot, this got long. If anyone made it this far, my apologies - but if you made it this far, I hope there was at least some fodder for thought.
*credit: Five for Fighting, "Superman"