Last night, while I was walking home I passed La Perla, a lingerie store on Madison Avenue. Being the shopping enthusiast that I am, I stopped and without much thought I went into the store to see what they had. Well, the first thing that caught my attention was a particular mannequin that they had on display.
As if societal pressures to stay thin aren’t enough, this mannequin was beyond thin. You could see the outline of where every bone would be: the hips, the ribs, the collar bone, the spine and the shoulder blades. It was really sickening. Basically, it looked like they had taken a pre-pubescent girl who had grown too fast and made a mold from it so that they could play dress up with it. Needless to say, it was hard to imagine being sexy wearing their lingerie when not even their mannequin looked like it could pull it off. They might as well have hung their stuff on a hanger. In any case, I left the store without buying a single thing; but I brought home with me a very bothersome feeling about the kind of person I am expected to be (or look like at least).
As someone who wasn’t born thin, and who works EXTREMELY hard to look the way I do, I felt appalled in different ways for the two kinds of people I have been: the kind of people who, like me, felt like they would never measure up, and then the kind of people who, like me, no matter how thin they get they never feel thin enough.
Growing up, I remember going to stores with mannequins that were always size 4. For me, being a size 4 embodied what the perfect woman should be like. While I was dieting, my eye was on that ball. But then, as I got older and I left a society where eating wholesomely was a joy, not a guilty pleasure, I noticed that a size 4 isn’t the ideal anymore. Ironically enough, in a society where women on average are a size 14, the ideal is either a “small 2” or a 0. I practically drove myself to anorexia to meet this ideal, which I did, and then up until the moment I stepped inside of this store, I lived a life for the sole purpose of upholding this ideal. Now I don’t want this anymore.
I would like to thank La Perla for making me realize just how ridiculous society’s expectations of the human form are getting. For making me aware of the fact that even if I can already see most of the bones in my body, there is someone out there who will always try to make me feel like I should be able to see more. I would like to thank La Perla for showing me how unsexy a simple, flat, body can be (though this I have always known-hence the reason why I own VS chicken cutlets). Last but not least, I would like to thank La Perla for leading me to Baskin Robbins to eat the first non Tasti D’ Lite ice cream I’ve eaten in three years. I had forgotten what real ice cream tastes like, and how much pleasure one can get from it.
As for me, I am not going to go out and be on a mission to regain the weight I worked so hard to loose; but I will definitely try to shake this obsession with thinness that has taken over my existence. For a while there I forgot that beauty comes in all different sizes and that at the end of the day, real beauty comes from within. Plus I just want to be healthy, you know?
Oh! and in protest, I will not buy anything anymore from vendors that continue to push such beauty standards on consumers.