Let’s just put an end to trying to find labels for women’s weight

Let’s just put an end to trying to find labels for women’s weight

A new term is trending on social media that aims to include those of us sitting somewhere in between ‘straight-size and ‘plus-size’. But why do we need a name for it at all?

Like most women, there have been times I’ve struggled with sizing. I’m tall, so as a lanky 15-year-old I could never find jeans that were long enough. I was once told by a tone-deaf sales assistant to “try men’s jeans” and as you can imagine, that went down really well to a really insecure 15-year-old. Queue me sobbing in the changerooms.

Growing into adulthood, my body operates on a spectrum of sizes. I have small boobs and wide hips, everything becoming more complicated by my butt which makes hunting for the perfect high-waisted jean akin to the quest for the Holy Grail.

I know the feeling of being a size 10 in one brand, only to be a size 14 in another (and now that I live in the US it’s a different ballgame entirely). Online shopping is a particularly perilous task.

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But a new trend is emerging on social media that is putting ‘mid-size’ at the forefront of body inclusivity: girls and women like me whose bodies looked exactly like mine and indeed, that of the average Australian woman. It’s not quite ‘straight size’, the name the fashion industry gives to those between 6 to 10, but it’s not plus-size either, which is typically 18+.

While I totally appreciate the sentiment, I don’t know why we insist on putting labels on everything and only feel comfortable when they fit within those parameters. It’s nothing new, I suppose. As humans, our brains are hardwired to categorise and unfortunately as women, we’re fighting an uphill battle because we’ve been historically programmed to feel shit about our bodies. I mean, we’d never talk about men’s clothing sizes the way we do about women’s, would we?

I had a scroll through the comments on a British Vogue article about the mid-size trend, I was struck by the top comment that pleaded problematically: “Can’t we just call it what it is… normal women?!” The same problem goes for the phrase “real women” because it suggests that anyone who falls outside of certain parameters are abnormal and, therefore, not real.

The fact that the fashion industry has yet to do away with labels like straight, mid, and plus size tells me we still have a very long way to go.