If you’ve gone shopping for pants recently, there’s a decent chance that the entire experience ended with you curled up in a ball on the corner of the poorly-lit dressing room, cursing whoever invented pants in the first place. Because honestly, how is it so impossible to accurately estimate one’s own pants size?
Deena Shoemaker, a counselor and mentor at a non-profit in Wichita, Kansas, recently took to Facebook to give clothing companies a piece of her mind about their supposed “pants sizes.”
Shoemaker had gone through her closet and found, much to her dismay, that her pants and shorts ranged from size 5 to size 12 — yet they all fit her the exact same way.
Shoemaker took photos of her different pants sizes and shared them to her Facebook page. She then wrote a very pointed caption, directed at clothing companies (and America in general):
I’ve worked with teen & pre-teen girls as a leader and counselor in various places for the last 6 years. I’ve listened to countless girls tell me about their new diets and weight loss fads. I’ve have girls sob in my arms and ask me, “if I were skinnier, would he have stayed?” I’ve counseled girls who were skipping meals. I’ve caught some throwing up everything they’ve just eaten.
But as I was going through my clothes tonight I started to notice how dramatically different the size of all my pants were. And I have a real problem with the fact that my size 5 pants fit me THE EXACT SAME WAY that my size 12 pants do.
She tells the companies that these varied and seemingly nonsensical pants sizes helped her to better understand why the girls she counsels are constantly confused and insecure about their bodies:
Let me explain why I’m not happy, America. You photoshop models and actresses and slap them on the front of beauty magazines. At this point it’s a pretty universally known truth that you’re lying to us and those aren’t accurate portrayals of the human body. I can prove it to girls pretty easily by simply showing them how photoshop works.
But when you resize a girl’s pants from a 9 to a 16 and label it “plus size,” how am I supposed to fight that? Photo manipulation is one thing but how do you expect me to convince her that the number printed inside her clothes is a lie too? How do you expect me to convince her that she doesn’t need to skip dinner for the next month because her pant size didn’t *actually* go up by seven digits?
STOP telling my girls that a size 4 is the “ideal body size” and the “epitome of beauty” if you’re going to change a size 4 into an 8 or a 12 or whatever number you feel like on any given day.
Shoemaker urges girls everywhere to ignore these different sizes, as they aren’t indicative of anything substantial at all — and they’re rarely the same, from company to company:
And to you; my dear beautiful girls, my size 2 girls or my size 18 girls, your size doesn’t determine your beauty; your life does. The size printed inside your clothes is subjective to the fashion industry’s personal taste and it fluctuates rapidly. Stop believing the social normatives about who and what you should be.
You are lovely and you are loved.
Just exactly the way you are.
Shoemaker spoke about her viral Facebook post on TODAY, saying that the post “wasn’t really about pants size … Good health is more important than anything. Smaller sizes don’t always mean a healthier person, and bigger doesn’t mean unhealthy.”
So, the next time you become monumentally discouraged when trying on a pair of pants, just remember that your body isn’t to blame — the flawed concept of “standard” sizing is to blame.