Friday, April 24, 2009

Weight and Size

I sometimes get comments or emails from readers who want to know what size I wear or how much I weigh. Other than the occasional rant about inconsistent sizing or pouting over pants that don’t fit, I consider these topics off limits.

The number one reason I don’t share my size or weight is because it’s usually asked so that the reader can compare their own numbers to mine. Striving to match someone else’s size or weight is a dangerous path to tread. There is no universally ideal weight or size.

There is certainly a “healthy” weight range (BMI), but even that isn’t fool-proof. If you’re heavily muscled (dense), you may be over the recommended weight range, yet at a healthy fat percentage. Conversely, some people within the range can still be unhealthily “fat.” I would advise anyone seeking their ideal weight to first consult the BMI chart, and then to have their percentage fat measured by a health or fitness professional. If you are still concerned, see your doctor. Weight is influenced by multiple factors and simply comparing yourself to someone else isn’t the right way to find your healthy weight.

Sizing is fraught with even more perils. Consider this: in 1983 the Sweet Valley High twins wore “a perfect size 6.” In 2008, they wear “a perfect size 4.” This illustrates both our cultural penchant for naming a “perfect” size and the fluidity of sizing. Not only have clothing sizes shrunk (“0 is the new 2!”) but the shrinking is inconsistent. Old Navy’s sizing is predictably generous, but I’ve got Forever 21 garments in everything from “small” to “large.” And be prepared for a sizing shock when going for a gown fitting at a bridal shop, where sizes haven’t shrunk at all. But who cares what size you wear? Size has even less relevance than weight. There is no “perfect” size, other than the one that actually fits your body.

All this sage advice is not meant to imply that I’m personally immune to the cult of thinness. I have my own insecurities to struggle with. I see my body’s flaws and wonder if they might disappear if I could just lose five pounds. I long to fit in those smaller jeans just to know that I can wear that size. I have the same body issues as any other woman. In all honesty, my own insecurities are the second reason I don’t share my weight or size with the internet at large. I’ve been flamed on the message boards for everything from my hairstyle to my makeup to my shoes to my age to my egomania and even my weight. I’d rather not give the haters any more ammunition. I may be an egomaniac, but it still makes me sick to my stomach to read nasty comments about myself online.

The third reason I refuse to disclose my weight or clothing size is that women can be so very competitive about those numbers. It’s a vicious, hurtful game in which no one wins, so I refuse to play. Perhaps a boycott will end the game’s popularity?

Finally, this is a style blog and size is not germane. Style can be found at any size. (See a good discussion of this issue on Wardrobe Remix’s Discussion Board.)

My weight and size are personal and I won’t share them. I do my best to maintain a happy and healthy weight and attitude and wish the same for you. Let’s not be overly fixated on the numbers and have fun with our wardrobes instead.

46 comments:

i_b_erin said...

Bravo!!
Beauty comes in all sizes, shapes and colors.
I have always found the most beautiful women are those that shine from within, and there no numbers count.
Let your inner self shine!

Leeyah said...

A very well written and respectful blog! I wish more women understood this!

Pearly said...

Well said!

sabina said...

Very eloquently put! Thanks, Kasmira.

xo

Sabina

Sal said...

Amen, sister.

daer0n said...

That is better than well said. I think that we should learn, and really "learn" to accept ourselves at our weight no matter what it is, as long as we are healthy, we have become so obsessed with weight, numbers, sizes, that is all we ever think about anymore, in a world that has been taught to only accept those who are skinny and overall beautiful physical appearance more than accepting everyone for their inner qualities, therefore we become obsessed with outer beauty which fades with time instead of the inner one that remains there until the day we die, perhaps way beyond death.

It sounds so much like a cliche nowadays today to say "Be yourself, be happy with who and what you are" because even when people hear it so often they still obsess with the society standards of beauty.

Thank you for this post, and for always sharing your style tips and your beautiful self, along with your beautiful and colorful wardrobe :)

evanadine said...

bravo to you.
all of us women have our own issues, no matter our size, shape or weight. its not our job to be beautiful for someone else, but for ourselves, however we find ourselves beautiful.
i think the advice you provide on your blog is helpful to everyone, and shame on those who want to push you down for doing what you do.
clearly they are just people who can only raise themselves up by stepping on others -- and in the end they will just fall down.
you are beautiful not because of your size or your shape, but because you are who you are. and dont ever change that!

My Shenanigans said...

I cannot believe that people have the gull to comment on your hair, makeup, age, etc... Some people need to get off their high horses and take a look in the mirror, glass houses afterall. All that said, I absolutely enjoyed reading this post and just wanted to commend you on it! Thank you

Danja said...

Excellent post! And you really hit the main points. It is so true that we women are competitive. If we were not, I think we would be ruling the world.
I do have a question for you that is related to your figure. Have you ever danced ballet? The way you pose in your pictures reminds me of someone who spent a lot of hours dancing ballet. It takes one to recognize one. :-)
Great blog!
I love your blog

Melanie said...

*applauds*

Charlotte Sometimes said...

Well said. Thank you.

Leanna said...

Nicely done! And might I add I'm suprised that people have the audacity to ask such questions to start with.

K2 said...

Thank you for being real and standing up for all women when it comes to weight and size. I think your blog is fab and wish you only the best.

Penny said...

Your thoughts and words are the type of wisdom that encourages women to empower themselves. Thank you for not perpetuating the madness:)

Audi said...

Excellent post, Kasmira. "Style can be found at any size." -- I couldn't agree more. What a thoughtful, intelligent response to such impertinent requests.

eednic said...

i concur with your sentiments here. i have good days and bad days as far as how i feel about myself. why compound any negative emotions with comparisons?

furthermore, i have a sister who has suffered from bulimia and anorexia for over 20 years. next to her, i am a giant. i always feel that if i hug her, i might break her. she has a myriad of very serious health issues as a result of mistreating her body. it will, inevitably, result in the reduction of her lifespan.

i may eat too much ice cream and have a cheeseburger too often, but i do NOT envy my sister, or her consistent and nauseating series of excuses for why she dropped even more weight, again.

health and happiness are most definitely not determined by weight. if they were, my sister would be the happiest person in the world, but i am sad to say she is not.

Kasmira said...

All - thanks for the support! I was hoping I didn't come off too preachy.

Danja - yes, I've danced on and off since I was 18. I'd do it still if I had a car to get to class!

Stephanie N. said...

Hooray, Kasmira! Well-said! This was my favorite part: "There is no 'perfect' size, other than the one that actually fits your body." I may have to quote you to some of the student actors and dancers I costume.

Mrs. CH said...

I just starting reading your blog a week ago and absolutely love it. You inspire me to want to "play" more with my clothes. This post really hit the nail on the head - bravo!

Lorena Cupcake said...

I'm normally a total lurker, but I just wanted to say, thank you very much for saying this. Listen, at any weight, endless comparison and sniping and worrying and shaming and backbiting is hurtful. It doesn't help anyone stay healthy and feel lovely, which is the whole point.

And, about all the negative comments you engender; anyone living their life out loud is going to get criticism. I'm glad you're not letting the nasty minority scare you into hiding your light under a bushel. Keep rockin' on, dear.

Vanessa said...

I love love love this post! I just started reading your blog and I will definitely be coming back.

Leslie said...

AMEN! Excellent post!

Hannah Rose said...

i love love love this entry! its taken me years to get to being ok with my body, yeah ok i am only 21 but i was bullied all through school for carrying to much weight in their opinion, i lost a bit of weight about two years ago to six months ago (not a lot but a bit) and im still bigger than most girls i know, but im happy at this weight, i really am, i finally tried a pair of skinnies this week and liked how they loked, yes my thighs look massive but my calves and new boots look fantastic!! im proud of my rugby induced calves and thighs, big as they may be but they are mine, i earned them through sport and effort! all in all im happy when i look in the mirror, of course i have my off days, you know my ass looks massive and all, but all in all i lok in and say yes i am happy!! its not the body for every body but its the body for me and im learning how to dress it and make it look good but even if i dont i'm proud of it and i love it!! thank u so much for this entry, i love it!! hope some other commenters feel the same what ever their body shape!!

Brande said...

Psh! Anyone who trash talks you is jealous and has too much time on their hands. Find a hobby, haters!

fitnchic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
fitnchic said...

Totally agree with you.

There are so many women obsessed with the dress size that they don't mind squeezing themselves into a dress two sizes too small but can't bring themselves to buy what fits them well. The dress size is marked on the inside of the dress. Nobody knows what size you are wearing but they can see if your stomach is bulging out of your jeans!!

An ideal dress size is always an elusive number that's relative to your current size. For instance, a size 16 woman would give anything to fit into a size 8 dress and a size 8 woman can't stop envying someone who fits into a size 2 dress!

I have written on similar topics at:

Dress Size - Just Another Number and Right "Size Does Matter"

Sheila said...

An excellent and thoughtful post, Kasmira, thank you.

I do talk about my weight (not the numbers) and my size (because sizes are erratic, and I rant about them too) on my blog, because getting healthy and staying that way has always been something that I've struggled with. Since I've been successful in keeping my weight down and staying fit (knock on wood), I hope that I can share that positivity with others who are also struggling.

I've been lucky not to get flamed, I guess. I can't believe people would do you to you - you are gorgeous as you are and an inspiration.

Navy64 said...

Outstanding post. Well written ("preachy"?...NO!). I don't see how your words here can be misunderstood by anyone with an objective mind. Your post is helpful, informative and inspirational to everyone...and...in a way, "disarming" to those with axes to grind:) --- Bravo, Sister Kasmira...BRAVO!

Jane said...

Firstly, I am shocked that people have left hurtful comments about you.
Secondly, I am grateful for your post. I am very competitive with myself. I am 43 and still competing with myself to get into the best shape ever. It is a losing battle and there is only one result - defeat. From now on I will follow your lead and work hard to be the healthiest and happiest shape for me.

maria said...

I think that those who want to know your size go by the false reasoning: "If only I had the same size with her, I could look just as good, too!"

You have a great talent to find the perfect proportions and colors for your shape and body size. Doing such a great job, It's hard to believe you have to tackle any insecurities.

Kim said...

All the comments have pretty much got it covered but I just wanted to chime in as well and say that was awesomely inspirational and worded perfectly.
For a long time I've looked forward to a new post from you every day and it makes me sad to realize there are people out there just waiting to take a positive and fun thing and poison it with their misery. Eff the haters; you bring a lot of happiness to a lot of people.

zulema2 said...

Hello i think you are right. Hey i was wondering if i could have your e-mail i purchased several new items for my wardrobe but i wanted to accessorize the, I have lost 20 pounds and i am feeling better and more confident but i wanted a lot of new and fresh ideas to update my wardrobe.

Thank you Zulema

just my style said...

Perfectly said!!! I too am shocked that anyone would leave any hurtful or negative comments! You are FANTABULOUS!!!
Danielle

http://fashionablyalaskan.blogspot.com/

Pretty Little Pictures said...

Great post lady - although i'm wondering who these silly people are that are saying those terrible things about you. I think using the internet to say those things and then hide behind the anonymity of it is ignorant, rude and just plain childish. I believe if you have something to say to someone, then say it to their face!! I think you are lovely and i love reading your blog :)

Ella said...

I think this post was amazing Kasmira. I've been following your blog but not commenting often but this spoke to me a lot. I find that the more numbers obsessed we become, the less in touch we are with our own bodies. You cannot capture health or beauty for that matter in a few digits. Thank you for not feeding into the nonsense.

~Ella
polishedlife.blogspot.com

chic said...

Great post! S.

L said...

Excellent!!!

Tanyetta said...

Well Said!

Great blog.

Really like your style.

Amy said...

wow! I like your spunk and strength to be yourself.

Lauren said...

Well stated... especially the part about BMI because it isn't a perfect system and many athletes have BMIs that are "too high." Sizing in stores is so annoying, and it's so easy to get into the size trap.

theprettyyear.com said...

I completely respect your choice and I understand and agree with your reasoning. It would seem I am taking the opposite tack, what with asking folks to guess my weight, LOL... But I think we are coming from the same place-- wanting to destigmatize the numbers associated with size and weight and encouraging others not to define themselves by those truly, TRULY arbitrary numbers.

Sarah said...

I admire you for this post! Women need to stick together, whether thick or thin. We've come a long way toward equality in our society, but we battle with ourselves over weight & give up a lot of power and confidence in doing so. I applaud your courage in admitting your struggle with the issue, and your confidence in yourself despite it. You are beautiful & you wear it well. Don't let anyone tell you differently!

Wasteland_Roses said...

That was deep, passionate, and inspirational. Very great stuff. And I completely agree. I have not weighed myself since September 2004 (yes I remember the exact day. lol) and I love it. I have always, since way before the day in '04, thought that if you are comfortable with your body, feel like you are beautiful, are able to look in the mirror and say, "Yeah I'm okay", then weight holds no importancy. It's not about what we should be, what we could be, it's about who we are and I feel like if I can look into the mirror and see myself as beautiful, it doesn't matter a single bit how much I weigh.
It's awesome that you feel the same way and understand. Everyone always asks, "How much do you weigh? I bet you weigh ....." It's like, it doesn't matter! I am healthy, feel healthy, and eat waaaay better than even you* so it obviously doesn't matter.
Great post!

-Aisha
chicclothesjunkie.blogspot.com

*not YOU, but the people who always ask about weight questions.

The Fabulous Gloria Blackwell said...

Sorry to be so late to the game here but I agree that your size/weight info. is off limits. Afterall, this is a STYLE blog...not a WEIGHT/SIZE blog. Your sizing is not pertinent to this discussion. As onlookers to your daily outfits, we can observe that "hey, this is a healthy lady who looks like she takes good care of herself." What more needs to be said here? I enjoy seeing your outfits everyday and thank you for sharing.

Jodi said...

Funny...I just caught up with this and I don't see you as an egomaniac in the least. You are an attractive woman whom loves style and is mega-confident in your own (as you should be)...and there it NOTHING wrong with that Kasmira!!! God Bless!

deb said...

long-time lurker here...
I have been following you around the internet for years but I only just came across this post.
I LOVE THIS POST! I have always loved your style and your creativity but you have a lovely heart as well!
thank you, thank you for all the sharing you do! :))