This is a test.

Guest Post: Embracing Body Diversity

As a new year on Miss Underpinnings begins, another behind-the-scenes blog adviser is throwing back the curtain of anonymity. Known previously (and cryptically) as Miss Underpinnings' friend 'K', I am happy to have joined the writing corps of one of my favorite blogs on the internets!

Part of what has drawn me to Miss Underpinnings since the beginning (besides my unwavering devotion to its eponymous creator) is its commitment to debunking the myth that women's bodies come in one form. Hardly a revolutionary concept, but one that bears repeating... and repeating until we all begin to internalize and embrace body diversity.


 As a feminist and women's college graduate (go Seven Sisters!), the subject of body image is near and dear to my heart. But my enthusiasm for continuing to engage body issues publicly is also deeply personal. I have been in the 95th percentile for height for most of my life and finally topped out at an even 6' around sophomore year of college. I have also been a consistent size 14/16 since butterfly hair clips were in. With 8'' on the average American woman and one foot solidly on each side of the straight/plus size divide, it's fair to say that I'm just... bigger than most ladies I run into on the street. And if we're to believe most fashion retailers, media outlets, and red carpet reporters, bigger does not equal better.

Just as full bust shoppers must turn to the internet and boutiques for extended bra sizes, I have to find alternate means of procuring just about everything I put on my body every day. Pants, shoes, gloves, and, yes, even my underpinnings all come from specialty stores and niche vendors. Not only do the real costs strain my non-profit budget, the psychological toll of not seeing my body reflected in anything close to the mainstream also adds up.

I'm hardly alone. The only aspects unique to my experience are my triggers, which surface while attempting to borrow a friend's vintage pencil skirt or after an especially grueling search for a long-sleeved shirt that actually reaches my wrists. In these moments, I feel dispirited and bemoan my flagrant freakishness.


 Representing two ends of the spectrum.

To combat this dangerous line of thinking and to avoid falling into a pit of acidic self-loathing, I have to deliberately remind myself: just because a store doesn't carry my size doesn't make me strange or unattractive. It's trite, but it's true -- people come in all shapes and sizes.

That's why I think it's so important forums like Miss Underpinnings exist. The full bust blogging community celebrates the glorious, assorted, and too often marginalized shapes we all come in. It says, "Hey, you thought cup sizes only ran A-DD? Think again." Full bust ladies shouldn't feel invisible or limited for simply rocking a body outside a very narrow definition of standard sizing.

Body acceptance is an elusive creature, and I don't expect a blog to resolve my intermittent insecurity
instantaneously. But somewhere along the bumpy road to adulthood, amongst the multiplicity of emerging voices shouting for diversity in all things, I've started to accept what I got. And what I got is a 36" inseam. 


And I have the short skirts to prove it.

6 Comments

  1. I loved this post, especially your emphasis on actually accepting the call for diversity. Sometimes it is easy to say "We're all beautiful" or "Bodies come in all shapes and sizes," but the next step of internalizing these calls to action can be difficult. It varies from day to day, and it does take work on our parts to stay positive and accepting of ourselves. Thank you for sharing your journey!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Internalizing does seem to be the sticky wicket. I know many beautiful women who are the biggest advocates of body acceptance and still struggle with these same issues. We're on a similar journey, and I'm happy to share!

      Delete
  2. As a 5'10" woman with 34H/HH breasts I feel your pain. To top it off I also wear a size 11 shoe. Just today I tried to buy black jeans for work which proved impossible. Out of all the black jeans I found in the stores only 10% of them had a long length option. Many times the long length is not long enough either. And the odds of the one long option available to you being a good fit is slim. Jeans are hard for everyone woman to fit let alone finding ones that are long enough too. Needless to say I did not find any black jeans so I will have to order some and spend more because I will most likely be paying for some return shipping. I know your frustration and I just want to say thank you for speaking out. The more of us that do, the sooner the fashion world will come around to accommodate all of us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When you find a pair that works, let me know! I've been on the hunt for the perfect pair of black jeans for yeeeears.

      Delete
    2. My coworker swears by NY & Co.: http://www.nyandcompany.com/nyco/cat/Tall/Tall-Pants

      They usually have coupons for in-store purchases as well as online.

      Delete
  3. It's funny, my mom's whole family, and my dad and brother, are all tall (though admittedly my mom is only 5'6"). I was the tallest girl in my class for years, and with several female cousins and an aunt over 6', I always expected that I would be really tall too. It never bothered me that I'd be taller than a lot of boys or have trouble finding pants- I just wanted to catch up to my cousins! Puberty had other plans though, and I wound up barely reaching 5'5". Even my grandmothers are 5'7". I feel freakishly short at family gatherings. It all depends on what your idea of normal is.

    ReplyDelete

Designed by Joy Laforme.
Back to Top