The average size of a woman in the UK is now a 14-16 but we are a dress size and body shape that’s poorly represented by celebrities and online influencers and often forgotten.
This representation issue is something I have struggled with.
The narratives around female bodies are centered around the two ends of the spectrum.
You have the plus-size community, which is represented in the public eye by influencers and models have who paved the way for the body-positive movement.
And then you have the slim, thin, athletic or modelesque bodies, like most celebrities shown as the ‘ideal’ to us.
The problem, for the average woman, is two fold.
We’re shown models like and , both hailed as the ‘plus-size’ holy grail by the fashion industry.
It’s worth pointing out that the term ‘plus size’ used to mean ‘plus what is already available in the usual size range’ and is now defined as over a size 18 in the UK today.
But like me, they’re both actually ‘mid’ size – around UK 12-14 – respectively. So when they should be representing ‘mid’ size women like me, they’re being misrepresented as plus-size instead – an error that doesn’t help women of any size.
Another issue I have is, do they really represent the body shapes of the average women of this size?
Unlike Ashley and Iksra, women like me have arms that just won’t fit into most of the blouses that certain high-street retailers make, and we’ve got natural hip dips that aren’t gained from six hours a day in the gym. And while our bums are more Kim than Gigi, people are not going to be commenting on them with the peach emoji.
The average woman isn’t photoshopped to perfection but we rarely get to see that.
Who even knows where they stand when it comes to dress sizes anyway, when we live in a world where items in shops like H&M?
Misrepresentation and labelling of bodies is a real problem for women and it’s perpetuated in all areas of the media. And it leaves those of us who don’t identify with either ends of the size spectrum feeling lost and uninspired.
But times are changing – more women, like myself, are beginning to show their figures online as a way to represent people like ourselves, because we feel under represented.
When I first logged onto Instagram, to see an influencer who had knees like mine (an insecurity I’ve developed) wearing a mini-skirt, I suddenly wondered why I was always hiding in jeans. And when I saw an ASOS model with rounded upper arms, I was annoyed at myself for always wearing long sleeves.
The impact of seeing a body like your own, online and in the media, is an overwhelmingly positive feeling.
Seeing more regular women who are ‘mid-size’ (or ‘in between’ the established communities) showing off their bodies, in clothes and out of them, makes you realise that you’re not all that different. That you too can be confident sharing your style and in loving the skin you’re in.
This is an important movement for future generations.
Young people need to grow up and see a range of beautiful body types represented online, in the media and in the creative industries, so that they feel like they have a place to be themselves.
And that starts with us – the more we represent our differences in the public eye, the more those looking online or to the media for their inspirations will feel represented.
No longer will young women have only the one ‘ideal’ body type to aspire to. They will begin to see inspiration in women who are sharing their lives online by confidently showing their body types, and enjoying fashion for all shapes and sizes. And that can only ever be a good thing.
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