Okay, I’ve frankly had about enough of this photo. I’ve seen it labeled so many different times that it is difficult to say what’s real anymore. In it’s most recent incarnation the woman on the far left is labeled as a 4-8 which is “Women’s Ideal”, the woman in the center is labeled a size 12 which is “Men’s Ideal”, and the woman on the far right is labeled a size 16 which is the “National Average”.
Now, while I don’t really find issue with the statement that these sizes are Women’s Ideal, Men’s Ideal, and the National Average, I do have to say that these aren’t very good representations of the broad spectrum that is the human body. Let me start by saying, the woman on the far left should not be representative of sizes between 4 and 8. Whether she falls in that category or not it’s hard to say. (I’ve also seen these women labeled as a 6, a 10, and a 14 and even a 2, an 8, and a 12.) Either way though, every size is different. So lumping all those sizes into one single picture of a fucking model is just dumb in the first place.
Second, I’m sorry, but no body, save for models are that well proportioned. For one, if either the woman in the middle or on the right are a size 12 or size 16 they have to be close to 6 feet tall. For another, they are all probably in excellent shape. We all carry weight differently. Some have bigger hips and butts, some have bigger waists and busts, but not a whole lot of us come in such clean and defined packages. And that’s okay. No, really it is. And let’s just take a second to acknowledge that whatever size any of these women are, they are ALL beautiful. But they are MODELS for fuck’s sake. These women are gorgeous and they will continue to be gorgeous whether they are big or small. Let’s also not forget that there are a lot of manipulative factors in the modeling world. Photo editing, air brushes, make up, lighting etc. So really, this representation is defeating what we are trying to do entirely, which is to escape the idea of an unattainable body image. The problem with photos like these is we will look at them, and find that, although we might be the same size as one of these women, we don’t look like THAT, and there’s obviously something wrong with us.
Every time I see this photo, I see a lot of people reblogging it or commenting on it and basically saying things in favor of the woman on the right and patting themselves on the back for being so accepting. “That’s what a woman should look like,” Uh, no. Just no. This is the problem. We take something and put it on a pedestal and tell everyone this is how it should be. What we should be doing is finding ways to be comfortable with our own bodies. We should celebrate the fact that we’re all built different. We should admire our imperfections. We should change things when we want to and not when we’re told to. And with things like this floating around it’s hard. I’m a legitimate size 16, and I don’t think I even have to say how different I look from the woman on the right. But that’s alright. I’ve learned to accept myself and have the will to change the things I can’t accept. However, that was a long road to travel. And there are still so many people struggling down it, fat, skinny, short, tall, pale, tan, it doesn’t matter. We shouldn’t make it harder to get to the point where we love ourselves.