Recently Chris and I were talking about how easy it is for men to pick out clothes. Obviously there are many reasons, and you can yay or nay them based on the person or your personal opinion, but the most glaring or obvious to me is that for a man a size 34 is a size 34 is a size 34. No, those are not typos. I wrote in that way for emphasis. A woman’s size 8 is not a woman’s size 8. Even within the same company a women’s size 8 is vastly different, and from company to company it is grossly different.
Chris can go into a store, not try on a single item, make a purchase and be happy. I do not have that luxury. I have to try everything on and even then I am slightly (or maybe more than slightly) indecisive about making a purchase. Sometimes the day I try something on it fits fine and when I come home and try something on a day or so later it fits differently.
Alas, the dilemma of shopping as a woman. Our conversation about clothes, sizing, and fit made me think about Marilyn Monroe. I started wondering about her and what was considered beautiful in the 1950’s. After a bit of research, what I learned was a bit mind-boggling and I think that says something about our society. You can read full details here, but in the 1950’s Marilyn was a size 12-16. I know that is a big range, but as you look at pictures (or if you were around to remember her) you would think “she was not a 12-16.” As the article states in the 1980’s, the Department of Commerce changed our sizing (umm…can we say how vain we have gotten). A size 16-18 in the 1950’s is equivalent to a size 8 today. A big difference. The article even states:
“Those measurements were 5 ft. 5.5 inches tall; 35 inch bust; 22 inch waist (approximately 2-3 inches less than the average American woman in the 1950s and 12 inches less than average today); and 35 inch hips, with a bra size of 36D.”
Marilyn had a 22 inch waist, and the average today is 35 inches. Shocking. That is a crazy difference. Regardless of all the changes to sizing from the 1950’s to today, it is still a man’s world. Most of the time a woman cannot go into a store, grab her size, pay and leave. Is it time for a size revolution?
I know most blogs probably look back at their year, so I am just another cliché. Yet I have to do it. I need to take a moment to ponder all that poured forth out of my mouth and my fingertips. It was fun to look back on some of my favorite posts of the year. A few of my favorites were of course about my better half, who inspires me, keeps me afloat, and well probably the most important, keeps the cranky me away because he feeds me. Other posts were about finishing my first 1/2 marathon, food, farts, and you know those days when your pants are on backwards. These were my top ten favorite posts of 2013 (in no particular order), okay so I could not stop at ten so you get a top thirteen:
Ah reminiscing. Over the weekend I went through a file folder of writing from childhood through to college. I came across a packet of writing from May 2000. It is a compilation from a woman’s writing class by all the women in the class. One of the exercises, I believe (based on the result), was writing our “woman seeking” ad. Here is my ad from 2000:
“single, white, midwest female seeking: single man who is not afraid of short hair or loud voices, who can listen and share, who is CLEAN and knows how to cook, who likes to sleep and demands comfy beds, who would rather know my thoughts than my bra size, who wants to influence this world, knows how to change a diaper, and can cuddle all day long.”
I laughed out loud when I read it. Then I found Chris and read it to him. See, it is a perfect fit. How did I ever know three years earlier that I would find my single man who loves to cook, sleep, cuddle? Who not only knows how to cook, but loves to, and he listens, shares, and definitely cares more about my thoughts, and just laughs at my bra size. I have seen him change diapers, but know once that day comes he will sleep less, continue to cook, and we will listen and share with that little one together.
Maybe now I should write an ad for what I want my next ten years to be like. If it comes anywhere close to what my senior year of college mindset gave me, life will be bliss.