Woman Is Counselor At Camp, Then Young Girl Makes Confession That Haunts Her
FaithTap Staff 3/9/2017
Vanity and fashion are not new concepts in human culture, but over the years, especially in the western world, the fashion industry has increasingly dictated the standards for what is considered beautiful.
The outlook of accepting thin as the secret code to beauty is often hard to ignore even by adults with experience, education and stable self-esteems; one can only guess the damaging effects it has on young people who are still forming a lot of their personal opinions based on how the world perceives them.
Knowing a bit about this first hand is 27-year old Deena Shoemaker who has spent many years working with young children and at-risk youth as a mentor, counselor and coach. During her time, she's had many painful conversations with adolescent girls regarding their weight - ones which she will never forget.
"I've listened to countless girls tell me about their new diets and weight loss fads. I've have girls sob in my arms and ask me, "if I were skinnier, would he have stayed?" I've counseled girls who were skipping meals. I've caught some throwing up everything they've just eaten."
Although she herself has always been aware of the misguided fashion and beauty standard, what brought out her recent frustration was the simple chore of organizing her own closet. While looking through her clothes, Deena realized that the sizing numbers were all over the place. She recalls,
"... as I was going through my clothes tonight I started to notice how dramatically different the size of all my pants were. And I have a real problem with the fact that my size 5 pants fit me THE EXACT SAME WAY that my size 12 pants do."
Deena knew it was important that more people were aware of this issue - so she decided to do something about it in the hopes of helping others with their self-esteems (especially young girls). She took pictures of herself wearing various shorts and pants she already owned. Then she posted these images side-by-side on Facebook, along with the sizes from the tag of each piece of clothing:
"Let me explain why I'm not happy, America. You photoshop models and actresses and slap them on the front of beauty magazines. ... I can prove it to girls pretty easily by simply showing them how photoshop works. ... But when you resize a girl's pants from a 9 to a 16 and label it "plus size," how am I supposed to fight that? ... how do you expect me to convince her that the number printed inside her clothes is a lie too?"
The frustration in her words are magnified once you look at her pictures, which showed her fitting perfectly into shorts sized at 5, 6, and 12, and pants sized at 6, 8, and 12. Speaking about her daily interactions with young girls, she further added:
"How do you expect me to convince her that she doesn't need to skip dinner for the next month because her pant size didn't *actually* go up by seven digits? ... STOP telling my girls that a size 4 is the "ideal body size" and the "epitome of beauty" if you're going to change a size 4 into an 8 or a 12 or whatever number you feel like on any given day."
She ended her post with a simple message to young girls everywhere:
" ... to you; my dear beautiful girls, my size 2 girls or my size 18 girls, your size doesn't determine your beauty; your life does. The size printed inside your clothes is subjective to the fashion industry's personal taste and it fluctuates rapidly. Stop believing the social normatives about who and what you should be. You are lovely and you are loved. Just exactly the way you are."
Deena's post quickly went viral as those who read it also shared the same sentiment. Eventually, the post was shared over 90,000 times and had over 4,000 comments in solidarity to this unusual and disturbing fashion industry practice. Deena couldn't be more surprised and pleased with this reaction:
"I remembered all the times I've heard girls say they're ‘fat' because they went up a pant size, or talked about all the diets they've been on. I've tried telling them it's not true but they never really seemed to believe me. All the pieces fell into place for me when I saw my own pants. The lies they were believing were coming from something so commonplace that they didn't even recognize it as the source of their hurt."
The conversation that Deena has started, is a conversation that we all need to carry further and often to the girls, and boys, in our own life. While there is no real hope that the fashion industry will change their ways anytime soon, we can at least empower our youth to know where the fault lies and that beauty is defined in more ways then one!
Sources: Huffington Post, Facebook/Deena Shoemaker, FB Image Credit: Facebook/Deena Shoemaker