A note on swimsuits and sizes

28 Apr 2017

So, I’m going to Corfu in a few weeks. Yeah I know, soz to just drop that in like a smug lil bitch but I needed to mention it cos it explains why I was online shopping for swimsuits the other day.

I moseyed on over to a popular clothing website to browse their swimwear and find myself something sassy to lounge around a pool in for a week.

I should say, for the record, that I have clothes in my wardrobe that are a size 10, size 12 and size 14, and this entirely depends on what shop I bought them from so I no longer spend much time worrying about what dress size I am.  When you can change a dress size simply walking between H&M and New Look, you learn not to be too bothered about that little number on the label. But on this shopping venture… I became very, very bothered about that little number.

Because when searching for swimsuits on this website, I was greeted with 19 pages of tall, bronzed women who were ALL skinner than I have ever been in my life.

And then every couple of pages, a plus sized model.

Obviously I wasn’t particularly surprised; I do a lot of my clothes shopping online and am a big supporter of the ongoing movement to try and stop reinforcing this idea that skinny is the only way to be beautiful.

So I don’t know what it was that made me get particularly irritated on this shopping venture. Maybe it was because I was looking at swimwear which caused me to be even more aware of these women’s bodies. Maybe I just couldn’t find a swimsuit I liked. Or maybe it was because I was just bloody fed up of this shit.

In the 700 different swimwear options I was given, there wasn’t ONE model that was even vaguely representative of what my body looks like.

All those models looked fab but the plus sized models were modelling clothes that started at size 16, which are too big for me, and the rest were all modelling clothes at size 6-8, which are too small for me. Yes, clothes the size 6-8 models were modelling were available in my sizes but how am I supposed to even get an idea of what those clothes might look like on me when they are being modelled by women who are taller, blonder, more tanned and toned than myself?

I want to say it made me scream and shout, but really it just made me feel done with the whole thing and move to a different website. I am so BORED of seeing campaigns for better representation of women of all sizes (which are awesome) and yet, every time I do some online shopping, still finding myself wading through pictures of size 6-8 models with the occasional plus sized model thrown in for good measure.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan that there are now plus sized options and models; that is brilliant. But it annoys me that the for every plus sized model, there still seems to be about ten size 6-8 models. And, hey, there is NOTHING wrong with being a size 6-8. But where are the rest of the women huh? Where are the size 10, 12 and 14s? HOW is this representative of real life? Cos the last time I checked, the world is not split into fat and thin. In fact, as far as I can tell, every single body is a different shape and size.

I know that there is movement towards better things; there are curvy ranges and fuller-bust ranges etc but why does ‘curvy’ or ‘fuller bust’ or ‘plus sized’ even have to be a range huh? Why am I offered pages of skinny women the moment I click on a website, as though that’s the norm, yet have to click on a specific ‘range’ to find clothes representative of other shapes? The change may be happening but it doesn’t feel fast enough.

Why do I not see women with hips and bellies the moment I open online shopping websites? Why do I not see women modelling the size clothes I would wear? I know they exist, I know they’re there, I know the campaigns… but I’m still barely seeing them on standard high street shopping websites. And it’s ANNOYING THE HELL OUTTA ME.

I want to see a WIDE VARIETY of clothes for women of ALL SIZES. I want to browse a clothing website and see women who are a size 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22… you get the idea.

So yeah, high street retailers, stop promoting this idea that the only form of beauty comes in size skinny because women are beautiful in all shapes and sizes and we're bloody sick of being told otherwise.