I recently bought three dresses in a shop. I brought them home and showed my 13- year-old daughter, who is now highly interested in what I’m wearing to make sure first of all that I won’t be embarrassing, and secondly to determine if she wants to borrow it.
She noticed that one dress I purchased was labeled a “SMALL” and one was a “LARGE”. Both of them fit me well and she asked how that was possible. What size dress do I actually wear? Well, I took this opportunity to give my spiel for the 1000th time.
“Sometimes I’m a small and sometimes I’m a large. Different brands are sized completely differently, and the number or letter in the tag means very little. I don’t define myself by or identify with any size, letter or anything written in a tag. And I hope with all my heart that you will do the same.”
When I saw these dresses in the store, I did not first look at the size in the tag. I know my body and my shape. I can hold something up and basically tell if it will work. I didn’t carefully study what was written in the tag as the way to decide if it would fit me. I also told her that sometimes there are clothing items that I know just aren’t made for me and my shape regardless of which size I would choose. None of them would be flattering or fit right, and that’s okay. Every style isn’t for every person.
This conversation with her felt a little cliche. I wondered if it was worth having, if I was saying anything new, and why we needed to talk about this again. But I’ll tell you why. Because she is hearing the opposite over and over every single day. She is living in this world full of images, products, models and marketing geared to make every female strive for one certain shape and a certain look. There is no end to these messages be they subtle or very direct. There are days when I even buy into them myself, and when I know my girls are watching and being influenced by my comments and choices. And it is for this reason that I will keep saying the truth to my girls, like a broken record, when the situation presents itself. Say it loudly or softly, directly or subtly. Say it enough times to knock a dent in the opposite messages they hear. A size in a tag means nothing.