Women and weight.

(150 Posts)
Darkesteyes Mon 05-Aug-13 21:37:39

Ive just had to hide a thread on AIBU about the 5:2 diet. There are people on that thread who are describing size 12 as fat. Saying that todays size 12 was a size 16 in the 70s.

Sorry. Im just having a rant really Ten years ago i went from a size 28 to a size 12. Nice to know that at a size 12 i was still classed as fat.

Apparently we have got so used to seeing obese ppl around that we now see overweight as the ideal Im just having a little rant Sorry.

kickassangel Mon 05-Aug-13 22:21:50

Rant away. Size is a huge issue with a lot of inherently sexist attitudes embedded within it.

Fwiw, a size 14 to 16 woman is likely to live longer than a size 8 or 10. So which is really healthier?

Darkesteyes Mon 05-Aug-13 23:01:19

It just gets up my nose so much When i was losing weight ten years ago it would not go below 11 stone no matter how hard i tried or what i did. I could not get below a size 12/14 no matter what i did I nearly ended up with an eating disorder trying.
So when i see threads where ppl are banging on and on about how a fairly average dress size is fat i just hide them now.
Back in January there were at least 4 body shaming weight bashing threads all on one board Its just getting ridiculous.

wol1968 Mon 05-Aug-13 23:06:38

Well, I've been looking at the sizes on dressmaking paper patterns that haven't changed since the 1950's, and according to those, a size 12 measures 34-26-36 in old money. Now, my personal take on that is that these sizes were a work of historical fiction to begin with (judging by the amount of alteration my mum used to have to do). The other interesting point with them is that they are what are described as 'misses' (i.e. younger women's) sizes. Back in the 1950's women used to wear corsetry to pull their waists in - not quite to 19th century extremes, but still enough to push a few organs slightly out of place and pull in a lower rib bone or two; nowadays that doesn't happen so the 'waist-hip ratio' thing is a bit of a myth. When I think 'OMG my waist is 30/31 not 24 I must be fat' I calmly remind myself that the only person in this house with a 24-inch waist is my not-remotely-fat 11-year old DD. Is it really realistic to aspire to the waist size of a barely-pubertal girl?

aturtlenamedmack Mon 05-Aug-13 23:10:16

There are a few interesting books about fat and feminism.
Fatso? Hot and Heavy and Fat and Proud spring to mind if you are interested in the topic.
Fat activism has fairly heavy links with feminism, particularly discussions about gendered body ideals.
I find the issue really interesting but sometimes difficult to navigate as health often crops up and i'm not always entirely convinced by those who would argue that being fat doesn't detrimentally affect ones health (although this isn't always the case).
There's a massive online community of fat activists and loads of great blogs linked to feminism, health, fashion and all sorts of other topics, so have a quick google to find out more if you're interested!

BIWI Mon 05-Aug-13 23:16:37

Sorry it's making you ranty!

People say horrible things about overweight people, it's shocking. And it's not restricted to comments about women - any overweight person is seen as fair game.

But having said that, I think it is true that sizes are very different now from how they were 40 years ago - it's known as 'vanity sizing' within the industry.

When I was growing up and an avid shopper, it was very rare indeed to see sizes lower than a size 10. Clothes ranges started at 10 and went upwards.

Now it's fairly routine to see size 8 and even size 6 in 'normal' shops. I'm wearing size 8 jeans right now, at a weight of 9 stone 4. But when I was 18/19, and weighed around 7.5 stones, I was wearing size 12!

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Mon 05-Aug-13 23:30:25

I remember being 81/2 - 9st aged 15 and having to shoehorn myself into size 10 jeans. Size 12 were comfortable.
Now I'm over 10 st and still find a 12 comfortable.

It's a fact that sizes have changed, although I do take on board what Wol said about the hip/waist ratio; never occured to me before that all those 1950s hourglasses were corsetted to look that way.

But don't let others' perceptions of what is or isn't 'fat' affect you; you know how far you've come. Some people like to fine-tune their bodies and won't rest until they're a certain size or weight, diesn't mean you have to be one of them.

FreyaSnow Mon 05-Aug-13 23:50:34

I also agree about clothes sizes. I way three stone more than I did twenty years ago and yet I'm still in the same dress size.

I also think that the reason why there are some very tiny clothes sizes are because a lot of children's clothing ranges only go up to age ten or twelve. Adult clothes shops sell size 00 because they are catering for girls over the age of ten or twelve. DD has some size 00 adult clothes and she is age 12. Adults wondering why they can't fit into 00 clothes should maybe remember that those clothes sizes are usually worn by young girls.

FreyaSnow Mon 05-Aug-13 23:51:11

Way? I meant weigh, obviously!

LynetteScavo Mon 05-Aug-13 23:56:39

If you look at film footage from the 50's people walking down the street were much thiner than the average person today, though.

I don't think we see overweight as ideal. I think we see thin as ideal. And it's no longer a feminist issue, because men are becoming as obsessed as women about their size.

I can tell you Sainsburys do vanity sizing. I fit into size 12 there, easily, where as in most places I'm a 14.

Darkesteyes Mon 05-Aug-13 23:58:28

Thanks ladies. Ive calmed down a bit now. WOL thats a very interesting post about sizing in the 1950s That never even occured to me.

YY Freya My niece whos 18 has always been tall and she was shopping in adult clothes shops at 12 Id forgotten that.

Darkesteyes Tue 06-Aug-13 00:01:17

Agree about it starting to affect men. Did anyone see the programme about Alex Brooker and his weight loss on Channel 4 last week.
They had lots of young men and young women talking about how looking a certain way is important and "expected" now It was that part of the programme that made me feel really sad.

Darkesteyes Tue 06-Aug-13 00:10:08

Lynette when i first lost weight and got down to 11 stone i found i could fit into a size 12 t shirt in New Look but 14 at Dotty P. Blouses had to be a size 16 due to 34F bust.

Now im a size 20 and 38K Am hoping to start Weight Watchers next week so steeling myself for sexist assumptions from ppl in RL that as im a woman i must be doing it for my looks.
Ive decided to do it for my health because im starting to notice the odd aching joint.
I dieted between April and June of this year and lost a stone but i was living on Weetabix and fish and veg and getting diarrhoea so i was doing something wrong.
I have a friend on the Cambridge diet and shes lost 13 pounds in 2 weeks I did speak to a Cambridge counsellor a few weeks back and i dont think its for me.
My mum did it in 1990 and her hair started to fall out. Much better to do it with food for me i think.

GoshAnneGorilla Tue 06-Aug-13 00:21:42

<Pulls up a chair>

I would love to get into this on FWR, I have tried to start a few threads on it before but it never took off.

I think there are so many issues relating to women, weight and misogyny.

Off the top of my head:

That the "ideal" female body is increasingly unobtainable. The media salivating as to how quickly a celeb can get in a bikini post-pregnancy is a huge example of it.

Shite like the Special K adverts which go on about "bad or tempting food". Food is food, eating a cake is not the same as running someone over ffs, it's nothing to feel guilty abouut.

The placing of being fat as a moral weakness and the WORST thing a woman can be. I have a horrible feeling that there are many women who would rather be called nasty or stupid then fat.

The diet industry which feeds into wider societal pressures which encourage women to hate and disassociate from their bodies.

I could go on and on...

kim147 Tue 06-Aug-13 00:30:21

Just take one look at the Daily Mail or any of the "women's magazines" out there and look at what their main focus is.

EBearhug Tue 06-Aug-13 00:31:46

I'm currently several stone overweight, but it's v stable, varying only by about 3lbs through the month. I think that's probably healthier than when I lost 2st in about 2 months when my father was dying, and the people who told me I looked great... they mostly knew what I was going through.

My lack of fitness worries me more and I should make more effort there, but even when I walked and cycled everywhere, swam far more than I currently do and could walk 25 miles in a day with a full rucksack, I was still technically overweight.

Darkesteyes Tue 06-Aug-13 00:49:34

Oh God yes.. the diet industry and celebrity culture are very intertwined If it wasnt we wouldnt have Patsy Kensit et al advertising Weight Watchers.

Gosh Anne i think i love you
EBear i was still classed as technically overweight back when i got down to 11 stone. My lowest weight which i got down to in Dec 2004 when i was working an xmas in retail (so you can imagine how much rushing around i was doing. In fact there wasnt time to blow yr bloody nose and i only lost 2 more pounds dropping to 10 stone 12 that xmas.

Darkesteyes Tue 06-Aug-13 00:57:16

Sorry to hear about your dad EBear.

kickassangel Tue 06-Aug-13 03:35:05

And increasingly there is the idea that the best look for a body is that of a very young, pre childbirth body. Most women do have kids, therefore the majority of women have a post birth body, but we are led to believe that it is abnormal, and we should be trying to fix it and turn back time.

We should be thinking of our bodies as going through different stages, with different looks suited to each stage. I have no desire to look 18 again. Having dd wrecked my body and gave me a lifelong illness, but I see my scars and weight and stretch marks as signs if victory - I fucking had her, and am raising her and that is success, not failure. Anyone thinking I should be putting myself through hell and risking my health can do one. I am intensely proud of what I've survived, glad to be alive, and fed up that I feel like I need to apologize or explain why I am overweight and unfit.

There's so much more to this, including people's career prospects, it's depressing.

Chottie Tue 06-Aug-13 04:15:38

GoshAnne I do agree with all your comments.

I weigh just under 9 stone (5' 6") the same weight as when I got married 39 years ago. My wedding dress was a size 12, but now I am wearing size 8 or 10, in fact I bought a pair of size 6 trousers from GAP last week, so I do agree with the comments about vanity sizing.

People were much slimmer when I was a child in the 60s and 70s, at school I can only remember one 'fat' child who would probably only be considered plump nowadays.

As a child I rarely had fizzy drinks and crisps / snacks. These were considered treats and only eaten at birthday parties, the only fast food were Wimpy Bars or fish and chips shops. Restaurants serving food closed between lunch and dinner, food wasn't available 24/7 like it is now. There wasn't so much emphasis on food, I didn't realise that pasta came in any other shape besides spaghetti until I was about 15!

Nowadays every other shops sells some type of food or snack.

Nexus6 Tue 06-Aug-13 04:58:51

The issue shouldn't be about dress size as this is more based on the persons frame, it shouldn't even be about weight. It's better to look at the percentage of fat that you have- woman must have an absolute minimum if 10% to be healthy. BMI isn't a great indicator of health either, firstly because it works on averages. Considering we are a highly overweight country the average would actually be slightly overweight. It also doesn't take into consideration weight distribution or muscle mass (muscle weighs roughly double fat so you could be measured as obese according to your BMI if you were well built).


The thing that annoys me about the whole fat feminist issue is that naturally skinny people start to get judged and overweight women applauded. It can happen both ways.

Also, people were actually smaller in the 1950s so that whole size thing is bollocks. We are the fattest country in Europe and I really do think the focus should be on healthy rather than fat or thin.

So that's my rant.

AlanMoore Tue 06-Aug-13 06:25:05

Agree wholeheartedly with GoshAnne especially re 'moral' judgement and fat being seen as worse than mean etc.

I believe people's bodies are not public property and condemn 'real' women rhetoric (do I mean rhetoric? Correct me if I don't!) but if you believe that some are 'naturally skinny' and 'can't' gain weight then there must also be those who are naturally chubby and struggle to lose weight! That cranks my handle I tells ya, especially on here.

Thinness is a way of policing women and increasingly men too, see all this cheap tv - compulsive eaters vs borderline anorexics etc, freak shows of our time.

peteypiranha Tue 06-Aug-13 06:37:40

It all depends on your frame. There is no doubt that a size 12 on me would look overweight. I was wearing size 12 at 9 months pregnant.

aturtlenamedmack Tue 06-Aug-13 07:57:00

I've been waiting for this to come up too.
Completely agree with goshanne and Alan.
The fat community that i'm involved with talk a lot about body positivity and don't stand for the shaming of thin women either or any negative comments about anyone's body.
It would be difficult to argue that women's bodies should not be public property and that moral judgements should not be made about the body and at the same time condemn or mock the body of another woman.
I also hate the phase 'real' women and hearing it on the tv or in the media makes me itch.

Isabeller Tue 06-Aug-13 08:23:17

I am really interested in this and want to plant a footprint on the thread.

Gillian Riley eating less and ditchind diets is very sensible about health as the priority and tackling overeating in a mentally healthy way.

I've been obese and intermittently trying to get fitter/healthier/smaller for years from a BMI slightly over 30. I used to be a strong woman and feminist but the amount of pink goo flying around these days has definitely clogged my consciousness somewhat so I do get really down on myself for being a blob at times.

Like a lot of large women I'm also very strong.

I really like America Ferrera in Real Women have Curves (memory triggered by your comment aturtle - agree 100% about power play sexist body comments in the media)

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