Blogging From A to Z: X-Large

X

Being an X-Large person continues to be a damning label in current societal views of body awareness. There is a trend that has begun to make ripples of valuing health over size but the grip of judgment surrounding a person’s body size is far from loosening. Why is it okay to have extra large televisions, cars, houses, and yet it is not okay to be that in your physical body? Bigger is better when it comes to objects and is a sign of success (or debt depending on how you look at it!) but when it comes to extra large in bodies and clothing, it’s regarded as a sign of failure—a lack of control.

Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D. , a Clinical Professor of Family and Community Medicine at UCSF School of Medicine and Founder and Director of the Institute for the Study of Health and Illness at Commonweal, and author of Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather’s Blessings, was on an episode of “Lunch with Bokara” on rituals and she said, “We have edited life in such a way that none of us can belong to life anymore because we have wrinkles or we have illnesses. We don’t fit and so our love doesn’t matter because we’re not good enough. We’re all not good enough in some way. We are all ashamed of something in [ourselves] that really isn’t worth the shame.”

Media perpetuates this feeling of shame regarding how we look and continues to dictate how we should look. No one ever condemns the neighbor who just bought the large flat-screen TV, or upgraded his or her home theater. As a matter of fact, they are applauded and looked at as being successful. But if that same neighbor suddenly gained weight, then damnation and judgment begins of being regarded as a failure [in self-control of eating] or questions that something might be physically wrong for them to have “let themselves go.”

I just loved that quote from Dr. Remen and it struck a deep chord with me on how we are indeed editing life in a way that none of us could truly feel a sense of belonging unless we play by rules that some other people created. I am asking each of us to stop the judgment and to stop the editing. X-Large, or x-small, so what? As long as you’re a good person, I don’t care what size you are.

Taking it deeper.

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17 thoughts on “Blogging From A to Z: X-Large

    • Thanks Stephanie. Me too. It really bothers me. I’ve been on both sides of the XL size–and the difference in treatment and perception is amazing and disturbing.

  1. Great post. I agree it’s a contradiction within our society, bigger is always better except when it comes to our bodies (with the exception of boobs!). By writing about it, you help others to become aware and that’s a starting point for change.

  2. I’m not sure why we continue to listen to other people’s sets of rules. They may or may not suit our lives. We’d be far better off if we simply listened and lived to our own rules and tried to be as healthy as we can be at whatever size we are. Thanks for raising this issue.

  3. Amen Renata!! You already know how I feel about this topic! Isn’t it more important that we all be healthy instead of skinny? What’s wrong with health at every size (HAES)? You’re right, a dialogue has started and we’re starting to make inroads but there’s still a long long way to go. Thanks for helping to get the conversation moving in the right direction!

  4. Even when I was a size six/eight in NYC, there were shops where I was told, “We only go up to a size 10.” At the time, I’d say in a voice as snooty as the one the sales associate used, “That’s nice. I’m a six/eight.’ Now, I just buy from English shops – the size ranges are larger. Who I am hasn’t changed because my body is larger. I refuse to apologize because health and medication has the results it has. I also refuse to stop being pretty because I’m outside a size range. We’re a silly society. Pieces such as yours, highlight just how foolish we’ve become. Thanks.

    Visiting from A to Z Challenge, Drusilla (http://lovedasif.com/)

    • Fantastic comment and response Drusilla. I applaud you 1,000 percent! I didn’t realize about the size differences in English shops but that would make sense. Yes, we are a very silly society and the limits we put on how people should be/act is ridiculous at times. So glad to hear from you! Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

  5. Well said, Renata. And heavier people also have a harder time finding jobs or getting raises – they definitely are perceived differently. And we also do it to ourselves – I am constantly putting myself down for being overweight. I know I shouldn’t, but I do it anyway. I see what society says we should look like, and I don’t look like that. Even models have become much thinner over the years. Models back in the 1950’s and 1960’s were much heavier than models today. I agree – this needs to stop. We should strive to be healthy and happy, not thin! Great post!

    • Great points Lynn. I didn’t even think of that with the jobs and getting raises. Perception of body image is a fire starter for me. It’s just so destructive. I wish I realized when I was younger how much more important it is to have once health than to fit into a certain size. Thank you so much for your sharing Lynn!

  6. Thanks for shedding light on this important topic. The skinny “perfect” stereotype persists; an impossible standard and so superficial! What kind of person you are is so much more important than what size you wear.

    • Isn’t it a great quote? I fell hard when I first heard her say it and I think it captured the way we think perfectly. I completely agree about the waste of energy. There’s so much more that deserves our energy than this. Thanks for stopping by and congratulations on this challenge!

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