The other day I was looking through images to use as reference and I stumbled across this illustration, I’m not sure who it was done by:
It was featured with an article about how it’s important to know your body shape in order to be a snazzy dresser and “know your flaws” or some such advice that doesn’t seem like anything new, but it struck me how flipping annoying it is that we’re always focusing on the shapes of women. In case you don’t know, let me give you the breakdown:
If you have broad shoulders and a narrow waist you’re called “apple-shaped”, because some apples look like this.
If you have wide hips and a smaller chest and shoulders, you’re “pear-shaped”, because you see, pears look like this.
If you have more of a straight body, then you get to be a “banana”, lucky you.
And if you’re super lucky and have a small waist but a generous bust and hips, then you get to be the very coveted “hourglass” shape.
If you’re not as lucky you don’t get to be a fruit, or even a time measurement device, you just get to be a “circle”. See that girl all the way on the right in the illustration up on top? Notice how she is the only one with a different face and legs? If you’re overweight your body apparently has no real shape rather than “round”, isn’t that nice?
The shapes and fruits are always changing, in the July issue of Glamour there is advice for how to wear flattering shorts, and the categories are pear-shaped, plus-sized, and petite.
(Click to see larger image)
I know Glamour is trying, but to me this page says, “if you’re pear-shaped or plus-sized and going to wear shorts, you should stick to dark colors and a loose fit so nobody will actually notice that you’re wearing shorts. If you’re petite, only wear short-shorts because they make you look tall”— so what do you do if you’re petite and not comfortable showing that much leg? Or what if you’re petite but plus sized also, quelle surprise!
That is yet another problem, there can’t be only these five shapes can there? With so many millions of women, how can we fall into so few categories? I’ll use myself as an example, I would be a pear-shape in that my lower half is at least two sizes bigger than my upper half, but I also have a big bust, and a small waist, what does that make me then? All humans are so diverse in so many ways that we should know by now that we can’t be classified, and all that happens when we do is further separate ourselves from each other—and that is how wars start people! Ok, it’s not that serious, but in a way it is.
So I ask you, does it really help to look in the mirror and remind yourself, “well I’m a banana shape, so I’d better strap this here belt around my waist to give the illusion that I don’t actually look the way I look?” I don’t think so. Don’t get me wrong, everyone should dress however makes them feel good. If wearing a belt to give yourself more of a waist makes you feel feminine, that is fabulous, but as I always seem to be repeating, it shouldn’t be a mandate. Also, it’s depressing to constantly be beating yourself (and all of us) over the head with these rules.
You see, I don’t like my body compared to fruit, I don’t like my body compared to inanimate objects, or shapes, or you know what? I don’t like comparing my body to anything or anyone. I hate labels that are perpetuated by magazines or given as advice on reality shows as a way to help people dress to accentuate their assets. I know that the people who use these classifications have the best intentions, but they really don’t mean anything. I’ve never met anyone who was helped by being told they were a pear or banana-shape, it doesn’t make you feel better about yourself or your body, it’s just another label, and I am so sick of labels.
Why do we feel the need to put everything in categories? It can be fun sometimes, when it comes to astrology, or numerology, but those things are defined by the day you were born, not the way you look. People love the zodiac because you can take an ancient system of symbols and personality traits and see how you fit up against it, or how you don’t. I’ve never felt bad when someone has told me I’m a typical (or an atypical) Capricorn, sometimes it’s a little annoying because that’s not all I am, but when someone calls me a pear-shape, that gets me really pissed.
I’ve never seen a man’s body compared to fruit, and they come in all shapes and sizes too. Why not a cucumber shape for those tall lanky guys? Or perhaps a melon shape for the gentleman with a bit of belly? Nope, won’t happen, and it shouldn’t. The last thing I would want to do is make men feel bad about their bodies, it’s bad enough that women have to deal with it. What’s scary is that it seems like that is the direction we’re headed in—everyone gets to be scrutinized. We just can’t stop comparing ourselves to everyone and everything, and it’s incredibly unhealthy.
Why is it that the world thinks women need so much help? It’s true, it can be hard to get dressed some days, and when you have certain parts of your body that you would like to downplay and others that you would like to highlight it helps to know what they are, but usually we already know that don’t we? You live in this body all the time, you know its flaws and its strengths, having them pointed out to you only makes you more self-conscious.
What if you don’t care that you’re a banana shape; what if, god forbid, you like that you have a body with straighter lines rather than curves, what is wrong with that? Why are we made to feel that there is something wrong with our body shape and then told to dress in order to make it look more like another woman’s body—the ideal body shape?
This is just one piece of advice I see repeated over and over again, and it’s become so much a part of the vernacular of fashion that we don’t even think about it anymore. That’s why I’m talking about here, because the whole point of this blog is to put some darts in those conventions, and question where they came from and why we need to have them. So repeat after me:
I am not a fruit, I am a person, and thank goodness for that!
Do any of you like being compared to fruits? let me know!