TAKE a good look at these four women who are dressed in identical outfits.

While all are different shapes and sizes, they wear size 16 clothes – the “average” for UK women today.

5 (left to right) Gemma Jamieson, Emma Wilson, Caroline Gough and Emma Johnson are all size 16Credit: Stewart Williams – The Sun

Around 45 per cent of British women are a size 16 or bigger, despite a recent survey finding the “ideal” size is a 12.

Here, JULIA ETHERINGTON asks these Sun readers what it is like to be “Mrs Average”.

I have to wear maternity clothes

SOCIAL care assessment officer Gemma Jamieson says she is happy with her weight, but admits being classed as “petite” and “plus-size” can make shopping tough. She says:

“At school I was called “the fat one” and as an adult, I’ve always been this size.

I’ve been on loads of diets but they haven’t made much difference.

Five years ago, after meeting my current boyfriend, I began to feel more comfortable with the way I look.

5 Social care assessment officer Gemma Jamieson is happy with her weightCredit: Stewart Williams – The Sun

It’s taken me a long time to accept my body but I’m finally getting there.

I have polycystic ovary syndrome and would like to have a baby. But first, the doctor wants me to lower my BMI by losing weight. With the help of a food psychologist, I’m hoping to lose around two stone.

Being petite and plus-size is a nightmare when it comes to shopping. Maternity clothes fit me but I don’t want to buy7 clothes for pregnant women.”

I used personal trainer each day

SINGER Emma Wilson, from Maida Vale, West London, has only recently learned to love her size 16 body. She says:

“When I was young I was very slim. I thought I’d always stay that way but not many of us do.

The weight started creeping on in my early thirties and by the time I was 35, I hated being a size 16.

I knew it would be harder to lose weight the older I became, so I got a personal trainer and started exercising every day.

5 Singer Emma Wilson has learned to love the fact she’s size 16Credit: Stewart Williams – The Sun

Seven months later, I was two stone lighter and a size 10-12 and suddenly, men started to notice me.

But after a year, the weight slowly began creeping back on.

Now I’m in my forties, I’ve accepted my body and dress to flatter my curves.

I like having a bigger bust and bottom but I do feel self-conscious about my tummy.”


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Being curvy makes me feel more womanly

TUTOR Caroline Gough has not weighed herself in more than a decade. The single mum from Hartlepool, County Durham, does not own a set of scales. She says:

“Until I got pregnant when I was 38, I had always been a svelte size 10.

Even when I was carrying my daughter Georgie, who is now four, friends said I just had a bump and didn’t put weight on anywhere else.

Any weight I did put on came off again as I breastfed.

5 Caroline Gough has not weighed herself in more than a decadeCredit: Stewart Williams – The Sun

That’s why I was shocked when, over the next couple of years, the weight crept back on.

I don’t know if it’s because of my age or my metabolism slowing down, but I’d like to lose it again.

I have quite a few clothes in my wardrobe in a size 12 that I’ve purchased but never taken the label off.

I buy them because I think it will motivate me to lose weight – I think a 12 is the perfect size.

I live in leggings and loose tops at the moment because I’m trying to hide my body and the extra weight I’ve put on.

The only positive for me is that I have curves I never thought I’d have, which makes me feel more womanly.

Everyone’s a different shape and size and shouldn’t be judged on it but I must admit, I felt a lot more comfortable before I became7 a size 16.”

My height helps me get away with being bigger

STAY-AT-HOME mum Emma Johnson lives in Teddington, South West London with her husband Darrin, 50, a strategist, and sons Ben, 15 and Sam, 12. Being tall makes her feel slimmer than shorter size 16 women. She says:

“I’ve always been bigger but fortunately I can get away with being a size 16 because of my height.

I’ve had a personal trainer since January, not because I want to lose weight but because I’d like to be more toned and fitter.

I see him once a week for a bootcamp-style session and go spinning three times a week because it fills me with energy.

5 Mum Emma Johnson says that being tall helps her feel slimmerCredit: Stewart Williams – The Sun

I have a really positive body image – the only downside is it’s so hard to find clothes to fit. I shop in Long Tall Sally but take a size 16 in Marks & Spencer.

Recently, I was in TK Maxx and to get a top I liked to fit, I had to buy it in extra large.

It doesn’t do much for your self-esteem if you need to wear extra-large clothes, it’s completely unrealistic.

I also tried to get some skiing gear for a holiday but they don’t go past size 14.

Presumably, they think people in larger sizes don’t do any exercise. It’s really frustrating.

It’s funny to think I’m the size of the “average” woman when really, there is no average.

Everyone’s a different size and shape and we should7 embrace that.”

I remember the moment I had to start buying a size 12 jean and feeling like my entire life was over. What happens if I get any bigger? How will I ever move on from my beloved Topshop Joni Jeans that only go to a size 32? I’ll have to buy plus-sizes at Forever 21!

So now, as a confident size 16 (I can go 14 some days and 18 on others because sizing is weird!), I look back at that girl and wonder, why was she so upset to be a size that is worn confidently by so many women? Ashley Graham wears a 31/32 waist jean, and she’s not over here wondering how her life will go on. She’s just rocking it.

I wonder what it was that led me to believe that once you hit size 12, you’re just repulsive and can never wear cute clothes again. Welp. Looking through the new “extended sizing” at Express finally started explaining it to me. I was beyond excited when Express released they’d be extending their sizes in-store and online to a size 18. I figured, okay, this is a start! However, I was quickly steered away when I visited their site to find that yes, they carry a size 18 in their bottoms, but their highest size available in tops is an XL. In what world does an XL fit a size 18? (Yeah, okay, maybe if it’s REALLY stretchy, but I’d be concerned for my XS ladies out there if the clothes are that large!)

In the modeling world, a size 8 and up is considered plus-size. Yes, I, too, am wondering, how in the world?! I have never found a plus size retailer that sells a size 8, merely because a size 8 in most people’s standards is a straight size and can be found almost anywhere that you could also find a size 2 or 4. This is the same industry that promotes clothes for women a size 14/16 and up by using models who fit more of a size 10/12. I’ve said it many times before, those women are gorgeous, but can’t we start using models who actually kind of look like us?

In the modeling world, a size 8 and up is considered plus-size. Yes, I, too, am wondering, how in the world?!

Then, I started looking into the fashion industry a little bit more. Forever 21 considers a size 12 plus size in their range, along with Missguided and Boohoo. ASOS’s plus sizes begin at a size 12, however, their straight sizes end at a 14. I understand the sentiment (and appreciate some size diversity!), but why not just make all the pieces to fit everyone? When we tell women that a size 12 is plus size, we slowly but surely make it known that it’s not small enough anymore to be with the straight sizes. Yes, it’s seemingly insignificant to others, but all these small things added up to me being ashamed of an arbitrary number such as the size of jeans I wear.

When we tell women that a size 12 is plus size, we slowly but surely make it known that it’s not small enough anymore to be with the straight sizes.

67% of women are a size 14 and up in America, so why do we consistently feel the need to minimize them?

All of these reasons finally made me realize why I was so upset to be a size 12. Because even in straight sizes, we’ve found ways of systemically shaming women who wear sizes we deem as “large.” Whether it’s the largest option available in a straight size store or the smallest option in plus sizes, women are told that it’s not small enough to be straight sizes and not large enough to be in plus sizes. All of this just reiterates how stressful it is to shop for clothing because we’re so stressed out about which she should be wearing and how much it all matters in our heads.

It’s been stated time and time again that we put too much emphasis on the sizes we wear, but what we fail to recognize is just how much the way our clothes are sized and presented to us affect how we view ourselves.

I’d like to say, “and then, I stopped worrying about what size clothes I wear, and I fell in love with my body exactly how it is!” Unfortunately, that’s not exactly what’s happened, and that’s okay. It’s about being able to look at how the fashion industry portrays sizing and plus size women and understanding that they might not always be right. Speaking up on how these things bother us, too, gives us a voice and an avenue to hopefully see a change in the future.

Over the past few weeks, major brands such as Lane Bryant and the UK-based Evans have debuted plus-size empowerment campaigns; however, some fans were quick to note that none of the models in these campaigns appeared to be over a size 16.

While there’s still much buzz and speculation about which plus size models would be great additions to the Victoria’s Secret angel roster, my concern is with the plus size women that we still aren’t seeing being represented in most mainstream empowerment campaigns: women sizes 18+ and women of color.

Chenese Lewis

I spoke with a few women in the plus size fashion industry including model/host/entertainer Chenese Lewis who first suggested that I cover this topic.

“A long time ago, I tried to do a project with models over a size 18 and had a hard time finding quality pics because all of the bigger girls were being too overly sexual,” says Lewis.

What she is touching on here and that when it comes to high fashion visibility for women size 18+, there are still not a lot of opportunities. Lewis herself was the first woman crowned Miss Plus America in 2003 and went onto to land a gig with Torrid as a size 22 but she found that after that she worked mostly with indie plus designers because of her size and height.

With the exception of Tess Holliday who has worked for Torrid, Simply Be and H&M+ among others just this year alone, the majority of 18+ visibility is from indie designers and small businesses.

Chrystal Bougon is the owner of plus-size lingerie boutique, Curvy Girl Lingerie in San Jose. She regularly casts models and her own customers sizes 22-26 to model for her online shop. Bougan says her customers really connect with the “Joci” and “Jeanette” because of the size 26 model in the photos.

“I find that my customers and social media followers respond like crazy,” Bougon says of her 18+ models who are often not hourglass shapes either. “My customers love seeing our customer and models that look like them.”

But the excuse often heard from the mouths of big brands is that plus size women don’t want to see women who look like them; they want to see women who are “aspirational.”

As someone who designs a size inclusive line, the positive feedback about my models spanning my full size range just doesn’t support these claims. To me, this excuse seems like a replication of exactly what the straight size fashion and beauty industry do to enforce traditional standards of beauty.

Editor-in-Chief of SKORCH magazine, Tiffany Kaelin-Knight books models sizes 18+ and echoed my sentiments.

“It is very important to me to book models 18+ for SKORCH because this industry needs diversity,” says Kaelin-Knight. “We need to see how clothing is going to look on someone that represents larger than the industry standard. SKORCH sees beauty in everything, no size, race, or sex limits.”

I think that’s something that all of plus size women can relate to who fall on the larger spectrum of plus. With so many of our options being online only, I know I’m not the only one who has bought something online off of a size 12 model and been totally disappointed in how it fit on my 22/24 frame.

Like many indie brands, magazine like Volup2 and SKORCH are helping to create visibility for plus size women of all sizes. SKORCH partnered with Torrid to do an all sizes shoot showing the same swimsuits on women sizes 12-32. And the preview photos alone sparked a huge buzz.

“We had three size 22/24 models all with incredibly different body types,” says Kaelin Knight. “Not only is it important to show different sizes but our bodies are so varied with shape that I know personally I would want to see what someone looked like with a bigger bust and belly as opposed to completely proportionate.”

Photographer and former plus model herself Nikki Gomez only shoots plus size women and agreed that we need to see more visibility for women size 18+.

“I strongly believe women everywhere need to see larger size models in the media,” says Gomez. “It’s important for young women growing up to see a diverse representation of beauty. That theory is the main motivation behind my photography. To expand the public’s perception of beauty one image at a time.”

So I decided to begin on a quest to find a list of professional models that to my knowledge are a size 18+ who could helpfully had big brands bridge the gap with the rest of their customers. I asked around on social media for suggestions and scoured agency websites.

Are you ready to see our roundup? Take a peek…

Ten Plus Size Models Size 18+ We Want To See More Of

Although this list could’ve been longer if I included the many plus size bloggers that double as models, I decided to try and focus strictly on people who are models with already established portfolios or runway work. While I recognize this list still leans towards the smaller side of plus overall, it’s a start for the conversation of more 18+ visibility.

What do you think of our roundup? Did we feature a few of your faves?

Which of these models would you love to see more of?

Let’s discuss in the comments below!

As The Curvy Fashionista editors, we write about stuff we love and we think you’ll like too. The Curvy Fashionista often has affiliate partnerships, so we may get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

Why retailers overlook women who aren’t quite plus or straight size

Fashion’s struggles with size inclusivity have spanned decades. For far too long, women who didn’t fit into “standard” clothing sizes had difficulty walking into a store and leaving with something they could wear. While that problem is still very much a reality, a growing number of retailers sell plus-size clothing or have extended their size ranges to accommodate a variety of women. Now, whether you wear straight sizes, plus sizes, or need a petite fit, you can probably find at least one retailer that specializes in serving you.

For women who fall into the zone colloquially known as “in-between” sizes, which range from roughly size 10 to 14, this may not be the case. These shoppers generally find themselves at the larger end of straight sizes or the smaller end of plus. More often than not, they get short shrift from straight-size retailers (which usually cater to sizes 00 to 12), but they may be too small to wear the offerings available from plus retailers (which generally offer sizes 14 to 32).

If you want to know what it’s like to shop as an “in-betweener,” look no further than Huffington Post’s 2013 investigation into Lululemon. The website found that at a Philadelphia outpost of the athleisure company, size 10 and 12 clothes were rarely restocked and were moved to a separate area of the store, “clumped and unfolded under a table.”

Ava James is a retailer that caters to women sizes 8-18. Ava James

And the issue goes far beyond Lululemon. In her 2016 piece “Why Is Inclusive Sizing So Hard?” Britt Aboutaleb, then editor of Racked, recalled having to beg for size 8 and 10 clothes in New York’s indie boutiques. She said sales associates would often reassure her, “We have bigger sizes in back!”

The fact that in-betweeners are not the preferred demographic of straight-size retailers means shopping still poses challenges for these customers. One new brand, Ava James, launched last year specifically to meet the needs of women sizes 8 to 18, a range that includes the oft-overlooked cusp sizes. And body positivity influencers like Renee Cafaro, the US editor of Slink magazine, focused on fashion, fitness, beauty, and lifestyle, are discussing the unique needs of women of all clothing sizes, including in-betweeners.

Why retailers keep overlooking women on the cusp

Eugena Delman says her sister’s struggles with retail as a size 14 were one reason she created the premium clothing brand Ava James, which she co-founded in 2018 with Saena Chung. With a size range of 8 to 18, Ava James offers mostly dresses for $215 to $250. The average American woman wears between a size 16 and 18, and Delman said she wanted to give the women straight-size retailers ignore more options in the high-end category.

“We think in-betweeners have been overlooked due to the costs and time associated with getting the fit right for a wide range of sizes,” she told me. “The typical designer will usually create their designs using a sample size of 2 or 4. The pattern for this sample will be used to make multiple sizes; however, there are only so many sizes that one can make from this pattern before the pattern gets distorted and fit becomes a major problem.”

That’s why many straight-size designers will stop at size 10 or 12. But plus retailers also have a finite number of sizes they can make from one pattern, so they begin at a bigger size to service the full plus range, usually falling between sizes 14 and 26, Delman explained.

“By starting at a smaller size, plus retailers would run the risk of distorted fit or have to invest in new patterns that enable them to service a wider range,” she said.

Ava James sells high-end clothes to women sizes 8-18. Ava James

Because of the types of manufacturing limitations Delman described, in-betweeners lack the clothing options that their counterparts who fall squarely into straight or plus sizes have. Since it’s more cost-effective to manufacture clothes from one pattern, as Delman said, a cusp-size garment from a plus retailer may run larger than one of the same size from a straight-size retailer.

“My friends who are a solid 14 — they complain of being just a little too big for the straight-sized 14 but too small for the proportions of the 14” Cafaro said.

Just last year, brands like Reformation, Mara Hoffman, and Cynthia Rowley extended their size ranges, as have brands from big-box retailers like Walmart and Target. But as Delman points out, “The vast majority of smaller designers won’t necessarily have the resources or the desire to extend their size range.”

This is especially the case, she said, with higher-end clothing brands, notorious for not offering a wide range of clothes beyond about a size 10. Cafaro says her family members and friends who wear sizes 10 to 14 never know if they’ll be able to fit into the clothes from high-fashion brands. (The lack of standardized sizing across the industry doesn’t help — more on that below.)

“I think many people have no idea about the challenges of the in-betweener,” Cafaro said. “Or they lump the in-betweener into the plus-size category. The two groups face different issues: In-betweeners may find options with straight-size designers, but those options will be limited in terms of sizes and styles, whereas plus customers have no options with straight-size designers but there are retail options that cater specifically to them. Both groups are still massively underserved!”

Irregular sizing only makes shopping more complicated for in-betweeners

The lack of standard sizing in women’s apparel can make clothes shopping challenging for everyone, especially women in the low double digits. Last June, H&M announced that it would change its sizing to be more in line with North American standards — so that a size 12 would now be a size 10 and a medium a small — after customers complained that the clothes fit too tightly. When clothes fit smaller than expected at straight-size retailers, in-betweeners may be unable to find anything that fits them since they’re already at the higher end of the size range.

“It’s particularly tough to be a 12 or a 14 when that may be the last size a brand carries,” Cafaro explained. “If you are usually a 10/12 in one brand but another runs small, you are stuck leaving empty-handed.”

True Fit, a company that helps customers find their best size across a spectrum of retailers, found that waist sizes in women’s jeans can deviate by up to 5 inches. According to the company, the average woman fluctuates between three different clothing sizes because of inconsistency from retailer to retailer, though customers have complained of their clothing size varying at the same retailer too. Online shoppers are particularly vulnerable to this since they can’t try on clothes beforehand.

“As a new brand, this was the one thing that really drove us crazy, the lack of standardized sizing across the industry,” Delman said. “We spent hours trying to figure out the best way to create our size guide. At the end of the day, we decided to average and extrapolate the measurements from a number of different brands.”

Delman says the only solution is to get the clothing industry to standardize sizes or to make sure that customers know their measurements. That said, size 28 jeans in one brand still may not fit the same as size 28 in another.

Curve models are typically in-betweeners, but they haven’t made these customers more visible

Some of the biggest plus or “curve” models, like Ashley Graham and Robin Lawley, are actually in-betweeners. Graham has said that she’s a size 14, and Lawley wore a size 12 when she appeared in the 2015 Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. Despite the mass media attention both of these women have received, they are widely regarded as plus models and have not necessarily influenced retailers to serve the needs of in-betweeners, Cafaro said. Curve models are typically used to represent all women considered curvy or plus rather than just those from size 10 to 14.

Model Ashley Graham says she wears a size 14, making her an “in-betweener.” Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

“There are certainly more conversations around body positivity and inclusivity that weren’t happening 10 years ago,” she said. “Having said that, I don’t think using curve models has necessarily drawn attention specifically to the in-betweeners; rather, it’s more about how insular the fashion world has been in using only super-slim models and raising awareness around the plus movement generally.”

In addition to models like Graham and Lawley, actresses such as Mindy Kaling and Amy Schumer reportedly fall into this category, but they are also often lumped into plus by media outlets, despite their objections to the label. Schumer has openly resisted being described as plus, and Kaling has described herself as “normal American woman size.”

By ignoring women above a size 10, Cafaro said that retailers are “leaving a lot of money on the table.”

“I think the idea is to expand the profit margins by being more realistic and serving all women,” she said. “Sixty-seven percent of women are over a size 14 in America, and brands must allow an inclusive range to ensure all customers have the flexibility to find the fit they desire.”

But beyond the profits that can be made from in-betweeners, society is slowly accepting the idea that there’s more than one kind of physical standard of beauty, Cafaro continued. She argued that retailers need to recognize this by expanding their styles and sizes for all women.

“With the majority of women in America being considered plus size, it is absurd to me that we are considered the outliers,” she said.

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They don’t take care of their health, are lazy and undisciplined and can be too physically dominant in bed.

These are just some of the brutal reasons a growing number of young men are giving for not wanting to date women over a size 8.

6 Models Charli Howard, who is size 10/12, and Jada Sezer, who is size 16/18, have spoken out about the fashion industry’s unrealistic beauty standardsCredit: Getty – Contributor

At the same time body positive models proudly show off their figures on billboards, a growing number of the opposite sex refuse to date anyone who doesn’t look like a Love Island contestant.

Their outrageous views will incense women up and down the country, not least because the average dress size in the UK is 16.

Here, three single men break the taboo and reveal why they wouldn’t go near a woman over size 8.

‘If they can’t look after themselves how are they going to look after me or a kid?’

Take Zack Smith, a 24 year-old entrepreneur and social media influencer from London.

“I just don’t find big thighs or a big stomach appealing to me,” he says.

“I have friends who have girlfriends who are overweight and they’re lovely but I can’t see myself holding hands with a girl like that.

6 Zack says that he does not like being with bigger women because he “can’t take as much control” in the bedroom

“Being with someone bigger just isn’t good for my image. I’m not the fittest person and I don’t have a six-pack but I still eat well and maintain my health.

“It just takes discipline. It’s not hard to change your image and look and eat well and exercise if you really want to.

“If a girl’s overweight it makes me think they can’t look after themselves or their own health, and so how are they going to look after me or even a potential kid one day?”

Zack – and others like him – will need tin hats to shield them from the wrath of women who will be appalled by their shallow outlook.

While Zack’s outrageous views might incense women, it seems it’s not alone in fancying slim women.

A 2015 study asked 1327 men from 10 countries to rate 21 images of women with varying BMIs according to the attractiveness of their bodies.

They discovered that the most popular card depicted a card of a woman with a BMI of 19 – borderline underweight and associated with youth.

‘You can’t take as much control during sex’

Zack, who’s been single for over a year now believes that how you look reflects how you are as a person.

“If I was walking down the street with my face covered with acne or fuzzy hair, I know no-one’s going to approach me,” he says.

“It’s the same with girls who wear those tight tops and are obviously a bit podgy.

6 Zack says that a bigger woman “isn’t good for his image”Credit: Zack Smith

“Really they should be wearing a bigger top and putting a belt around it so they look more presentable and people notice them in a good way.”

Zack says has been on many dates over the last year and claims he has been catfished by women who appear slim on their social media profiles, but look very different in the flesh.

“If they can’t be real with me online, then they can’t be real with me in person,” says Zack.
He says he’s slept with a bigger girl in the past but he’d never do it again.

“I don’t regret it as an experience but when you sleep with a larger girl, it’s hard to be dominant,” says Zack.

“I’m big built and big-boned but when you have sex with a big girl, you can’t take as much control and don’t know where to start.”

Zack says that the rise in social media and shows like Love Island showing off size 8 slim bodies means a lot of his friends have the same ‘high standards’ and are trying to find women to enhance their image.
“I need to be seen with a certain type of girl and she can’t be over a size 8,” he says. “My last girlfriend was a size 6!”

‘They’re so sex hungry and lazy’

Reiss Smith, 33, a plumber from Hornchurch in Essex agrees.

“My experience hasn’t been great with bigger women,” he says. “I’ve slept with a few in the past and they’re so sex-hungry.

“Because they’re on the large side, they don’t get enough attention so when they do get it, they eat you up and swallow you.

“I wouldn’t sleep with a bigger woman again – size 10 would be pushing it even. I want someone with a little waist and a lot to offer.”

6 Reiss Smith says he wouldnt have a relationship with anyone larger than size 8Credit: Reiss Smith

Reiss also thinks being bigger makes for a different, less healthier mindset.

“I find larger women more lazy and a lot of them aren’t living a healthy lifestyle and are often eating rubbish food or smoking and not looking after themselves,” he says.

“It turns me off. I had an ex-girlfriend who was a size 14-16 and I’d end up telling her and it became a problem.

“Going out to eat was tricky too because food was so important and they’re the ones who have to choose and prioritise it.

“I’ve been single for a year and I am looking for love and seeking a spiritual connection, but they have to be a size 8 too.”

The Ariana and Love Island effect

While their reasons seem incredibly shallow, relationship psychologist Mairead Molloy, believes we shouldn’t necessarily be so quick to judge.

She said: “On an evolutionary basis, men and women are both designed to be ruthlessly pragmatic in their criteria for a mate.

“Men, regardless of their conscious attitude to having kids, are designed to look for someone who can reproduce and beauty is associated with grace, intelligence, popularity and in general fitness for survival and good health.

“Social media is giving people this tremendous pressure to conform and have the ‘perfect’ appearance, much like the Ariana Grande or Love Island effect, thinking that only skinny is beautiful.”

6 Relationship psychologist Mairead Molloy, Global Director of Berkeley International says social media plays a part in how men manage relationshipsCredit: Berkeley International

‘I encourage them away from junk food’

Kurtis Hartman, 23, a business development manager from Essex says he likes his women super-skinny because he thinks it shows they’re interested in their health.

“I met my last girlfriend on social media from the States and one of my initial attractions was her athletic figure.

6 Kurtis says he was initially attracted to his girlfriend’s athletic physiqueCredit: Kurtis Hartman

“I keep myself groomed, have meal plans delivered every day, train five times a week and don’t eat rubbish food and I want my girlfriend to have the same attitude.

“Even when I’m with someone I’ll encourage them away from the junk food.

“If they don’t care about their health and wellbeing then we wouldn’t align very well.”
Kurtis has been single for five months now and does agree that looking for slim-only women may seem superficial.

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“Maybe I am missing out by not dating bigger women because if you go just on looks, it won’t run deep, but I’m still going to keep trying.”

Mairead’s advice? “Men should be looking for a fun, sincere, honest, low maintenance and independent woman,” she says. “Someone who they’re not just attracted to because of her looks.”

It sounds sensible but whether Kurtis, Zack and Reiss follow her advice remains to be seen.

Woman tries on a PrettyLittleThing size 8 dress which barely fits one leg

No doubt you’ve heard things like, “Clothing sizes don’t matter” and “Size is just a number” plenty of times, but you’re also probably aware of the clothing sizes you usually wear. It’s normal if you have some emotions all tied up in those numbers, even if you know they don’t mean anything. But take heart: This woman has some serious proof of how meaningless clothing size can be.

In a powerful new Facebook post, Deena Shoemaker features photos of herself wearing six different bottoms that fit her the same way—and they all have different sizes, ranging from a size 5 to a size 12. “No, I’m not selling my pants; I’ve just got a bone to pick,” Shoemaker writes. She notes that she started to notice how dramatically different the sizes of all of her 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,” she says.

Shoemaker says she has worked as a counselor for preteen girls who think size is everything. “I’ve listened to countless girls tell me about their new diets and fads,” she says. “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.” Shoemaker says she can prove pretty easily to girls that images in ads are often doctored, but clothing is trickier.

“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?” she said. “Photo manipulation is one thing, but how do you expect me to convince her that the number printed inside her clothes is a lie, too? 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 said.

And finally, she says, this isn’t just about girls—all of our lives would improve if we could stop focusing on the number on the tag. “The size printed inside your clothes is subjective to the fashion industry’s personal taste and it fluctuates rapidly,” she said. “Stop believing the social about who and what you should be.” Check out her full post below.

The size obsession is a struggle many people can identify with. “It’s body anxiety but manifesting itself as ‘what is my size?’ because size is a common way to evaluate your body,” Gail Saltz, M.D., a psychiatrist and the author of The Power of Different, tells SELF. The fact that size is usually a number is significant, Saltz says, because numbers seem like a scientific measure, plus people may even unwittingly relate to them the way they did to grades they received as a child. “We decide what number we feel is success and what feels like failure,” Saltz says.

Size 18 woman image

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