As part of the Jezebel effort to cover New York Fashion Week, I've spent quite a bit of time staring at beautifully-styled super-thin women gliding down the runway in impossibly gorgeous dresses and flawless makeup. But last night when I was undressing for bed, I got a glimpse of my flabby body and blotchy face and I realized that I didn't like my reflection.
It's been awhile since I've been that bummed out just by seeing myself in the mirror, and I think one of the reasons is that I make an effort to look at diverse bodies every day. Pictures of women of size abound in my house (I'm the creepiest body pos lady ever!), I attend yoga for large women, and my Jazzercise! (fit is it!) class is made up of ladies and men of all sizes who just gotta groove. On Jezebel, I make an effort to write about and feature women with all sorts of bodies, and it really does make a difference in how I feel about myself. However, this week I haven't been as vigilant and I can feel it.
Usually when I see myself, I see a ginger sassmobile with a dynamite rack and legs that threw in the towel and strolled over to the Hometown buffet. Today when I looked in the mirror I just saw a sad blob. I shook my arm flab, I thought about going on a diet, and I just wanted to put on an Old Navy sack dress and rest a box of Wheat Thins on my boobs-stomach and cry-eat along to episodes of Say Yes to the Dress.
I know women come in every shape and size, and it's all good, but it is HARD to look exclusively at pictures of very thin women and not start to feel a little like shit. And not to open a whole 'nother can of worms, but women of color have the added bonus of seeing the unrelenting whiteness on many of the runways, and that's an even more depressing and infuriating issue.
I get all the reasons the models are supposed to be tall and thin, but, like Callie wrote in this excellent editorial, that's not enough anymore. Women of many different shapes and sizes are wearing these clothes, and the vast majority of them were never and will never be 5'11 and 115 pounds. Aspirational is one thing, but impossible for almost the entire female population is another.
Even though, according to the CDC, the average American woman is a size 14, there has been one plus-size fashion show in the history of fashion week. And, of course, it's its own thing, a label for plus-sized women, never to meet with the straight sizes.
Yes, I want to see pretty clothes on traditional models, fine, but I also want to see clothes on people who look more like me and my friends. I know I'm shouting into the void, but I have to believe that if we all make enough noise, eventually things will change; because I know that if I stay silent, I'll start to hate myself. And I just can't afford that anymore.
Photos via Getty