The Lies They Tell Us

As a one of the new Chicks, I’ve been very conscious of the content of my posts. I mean, duh, right? Us Chicks always want to provide you with informative, entertaining, and maybe sometimes, thought-provoking content. As writers, we expect no less of ourselves, and as readers, you expect no less of us. Personally, I’ve also tried to stay in neutral topic territory. Because, well…opinions. And I assure you I can be quite opinionated about my opinions. The thing is, I saw something the other day that bothered me, and I’d like to share it with you and get your opinion, friends.

On my lunch break, I went to the local supermarket and was all excited to look through the January issue of Women’s Running, which I didn’t find. So, I started looking over the rack. thinking that maybe a Runner’s World would do. Nope, didn’t see that either. On to plan C. I need some help with strength and cross training, maybe a women’s fitness magazine? Obviously, I just wanted to buy a magazine. Any magazine. I stood there perusing the covers, and nearly shouted my disgust aloud when I realized what I was seeing. I snapped this photo, my mouth agape in horror.

I don’t care what you say, you evil, evil magazine covers, I’m not fat!

Aside from poor Katie Holmes’ divorce drama, this scene inspired some epic eye rolling on my part. Okay, I admit I rolled my eyes in sympathy for Katie, too, because we all know Tom is lame-o. But seriously, look at this photo.

Immediately, subconsciously, it triggered several responses in my brain. The nasty, blaring appearance of the word belly on three of the covers made me guiltily think about the six pounds I’m looking forward to running off, forever with any luck. Although you can’t see them all, trust me that all of them had some blurb about a diet or losing weight. The models are beautiful and their figures are inspiring, but for most of us, they are hardly a realistic ideal. Not to mention the store’s thoughtlessness in placing the Family Circle chocolate trifle and Women’s Day cupcake covers RIGHT NEXT to the fitness and diet magazines. Sadly, not even diabetics can catch a break at this store. Thanks for the support, Kroger.

Now, I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. We see this all the time, and I’m the zillionth person to rabble-rabble-rabble about it. So yes, perhaps I’m failing in the informative category this week. Also, I must allow for the fact that it is January, the time when people set new goals to be fit and lose weight. I must allow that it is possible that these magazines are writing to that annual trend. Also, I was looking at fitness magazines after all, and they should have this information in them. I suppose it struck me because I wasn’t looking to read about losing weight or the latest diet, I only wanted some sound advice on safe and effective fitness. I just couldn’t get past the you’re-too-fat messaging. At least, that’s how it made me feel.

Then yesterday, I stumbled upon this Buzzfeed article wherein contributor Marie Southard Ospina tries on ten different brands of size sixteen jeans and all of them fit differently, or not at all. I found it reassuring because I can totally relate. My guess is you will as well.  In contrast to Marie, I’m 5’ 2” and a buck twenty sopping wet. But like Marie, I have 6 different sizes of pants in my closet right now. When I buy jeans, which I hate doing despite my addiction to shopping, I seriously question who, or what, was in control of product development at all of these labels. If I find a pair that fits my pygmy height, it’s two or three inches too big in the waist. If I find a pair that fits my waist, there are 7 inches of extra denim covering my toes. With the latter, I’m always wondering who the eff wears these?! You can see that Marie and I have the same problem only we’re on opposite sides of the sizing spectrum. Based on that,  I would venture to bet that most women have this same problem regardless of their weight.

Let’s talk numbers for a sec, shall we? If I’m 5’10 and weigh 118 (i.e. tall and thin enough to actually fit into those jeans), my BMI would be 16.9. A BMI of less than 18.5 is underweight for that height/weight ratio. Clearly, this is complete and total insanity. The kind of insanity that makes us feel inadequate and imperfect. It makes us feel…not pretty. And whether we’re a size 0 or 24, it makes us feel overweight. Worst of all, it’s not a healthy message in any respect.

What in the hell do these people want from us? More importantly, WHY ARE THEY MESSING WITH OUR HEADS?

When the jeans thing happens to me, I shake it off. Those people who design those clothes are nuts. Maybe it’s the seamstress in me that can say that because I know what it takes to make a pair of jeans, and seriously, some of those people have got to be high. Don’t believe them, gorgeous readers. Don’t let them, or anyone, trick you into feeling shitty about any aspect of the beautiful force of life that is you and only you. Plus, remember this girl?

Neither do I, sister.

Neither do I, sister.

She really wanted to have a pot. Yep. That’s right. The adorable French girl in Pulp Fiction actually wanted a pot belly because she thought they were sexy. And French girls know.


What types of body image messaging affects you most? Do you have opinions? Do you have opinions on pot bellies and/or blueberry pancakes? Hit me up, yo!

11 thoughts on “The Lies They Tell Us

    • Exactly, Karen! How about a message of health and well being for all? A healthy weight is a part of that equation, but not the only part. It is SO frustrating, but I don’t what the solution is. Just keep on keeping oh to support each other to cultivate a healthy expectation of what is health and beautiful for each of us. Hint, it’s not the same for everyone! 😉

  1. Girl – PREACH. The jeans thing kills me. 15 years ago, when I was single and skinnier than I am now, I was a solid size 6. In everything. Now that I am in my 40’s and had 3 children that have spread things out, I’m wearing 2’s and 4’s. WHA? And my latest pair of jeans was listed as being “curvy”. I’m 5’2 and 110. There really isn’t anything curvy about me, although I wish there were. It’s all messing with our heads. And it makes ordering clothes online a complete PITA.

    • It is SO aggravating, isn’t it, Amy? Sizes in my closet range from XXS – Medium and 0 to 6. It’s ridiculous. If I allowed that to be an indication of what my weight should be, I’d be a roller-coasting hot mess. I have not, and likely never will, order pants online for this very reason. COMPLETE PITA.

  2. I was once in a JCrew dressing room and had the pleasure of overhearing the saleswoman tell someone, “Oh, yes, well we make the sizes bigger for the fat women who need an ego boost, not for normal girls like you who end up being a 00.” I think I went blind with rage at that point.

    • Well, J Crew is now 86’d from my life. How completely…BLARG! That mentality isn’t serving a single one of their customers. How about making jeans that look good whilst fitting EVERY size?!

  3. OMG…Jeans! My nemesis! And, I hear Amber on the “curvy” thing. My friends laugh when I tell them I wear a curvy fit. I wear anything from a 00 to a 6 regular or curvy. All freaking depends. On some crazy company and some crazy seamstress! I have runner / athlete legs and a small waist. My weight isn’t something that even matters (I keep telling myself over and over and over) at this point. Magazines, fashion, and clothing industries are just crazy! Simple as that!

    • DUDE, I’m so over the whole pant thing. It’s so annoying and deflating and and and. Vive la leggings!! Just be happy you can wear regulars, you throw the whole petite sizing thing I there and omg. If o didn’t know how to hem pants, I’d live in flowing flowery skirts. Heyyyyy, on second thought…

  4. I think this is why, besides Runner’s World, I have stopped all magazine subscriptions. Because honestly, they all seem more like gossip rags than actual truths. Thanks for writing this, Jenn. I think it’s particularly interesting to read something from your point of view because you are this little tiny thing and I think it’s important to realize that we ALL have our insecurities and they are ALL valid.

    • Thanks, Mer. I wanted to get this out there because as a tiny person with a really healthy body image (the idea of calling myself fat or overweight is laughable and an insult to those who do struggle with their weight) this experience made me mad. I mean, if this shit makes me feel that way, when I KNOW it’s not true, I wanted others to know that. The whole system is so jacked, for ALL of us.

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