I just want to start of saying thank you to all those who participated in my questionnaire, I really appreciate the honest and open responses that I received. It was really interesting to gather different peoples perspectives of beauty and size and what it means to them. In todays society we are bombarded with so many people telling us what we should look like or what we should aim to achieve and from the results it is clear to see that this has had a major influence on us.
The first question was ‘what do you think is the perfect size to be in clothing?’ The responses to this question both did and didn’t surprise me as the majority of people answered a size 10/12 which is what I used to aspire to be. But the most interesting answers were those that selected the ‘other’ option. The majority of people who answered ‘other’ explained that there is no perfect size as it depends on who you are. This made me smile when I read this as it really does depend on who you are. I’m a classic example of this as a few years ago if you’d have asked me this question I would have said a size 8/10 but now I would say exactly what was said here; it really depends on you as a person and what you feel comfortable with.
The second question was ‘are you happy with your current size?’ Now the responses to this one were slightly disheartening as the majority of people said no. Following on from this question was ‘if said no to the previous question what size would you want to be in clothing? and the majority of people selected a size 12. This supports the responses from the first question about what is the perfect size and reveals that the majority of people aspire to be that ‘perfect size’ themselves. I deliberately put ‘perfect size’ in quotations here because as participants mentioned before there’s no such thing, because A size is individual and B how can there be a ‘perfect size’ if shops aren’t consistently producing clothing to the same measurements. I know from my shopping experience I can be a size 12 in some shops and then a 16 in others! Also I’ve often wondered who decided that these specific measurements were going to be a size 12 or size 14. Why does having a 29 inch waist grant you a size 12?
Moving onto the questions about beauty where it was really eye opening. The first question was ‘what is beauty to you?’ The general answers I received were about feeling confident, comfortable and happy with yourself which I would strongly agree with. Confidence is key, everything from body confidence to studying for exams or even going for a job interview. I mean you would’t walk into a job interview with no confidence at all, act all shy and mutter when you’re asked questions, obviously you’ll be nervous, but how can you expect the employer to put their faith into employing you when you haven’t got the confidence to talk to them? This is the same with body confidence how can you expect society to embrace all shapes and sizes when you aren’t confident with the way you look. Everyone has the right to be confident in themselves and more importantly everyone has the right to love themselves.
The next question was ‘do you think you’re beautiful/handsome’ and as expected the majority of people answered no. This is understandable because not many people like to talk about themselves in a positive light. Many people are quick to highlight their negatives but when faced with flaunting their strengths, we kind of go all shy and modest because we don’t want to appear arrogant. My response to this is its okay to admit that you think you’re beautiful. We are ALL beautiful as beauty doesn’t take a specific form. I realise that you wouldn’t necessarily go up to someone and say ‘I’m beautiful by the way’ but maybe when you’re taking those selfies or looking at yourself in the mirror (as come on everyone does that every now and then even if its for squeezing those spots) try and point out the things that you like about yourself as this will not only boost yourself esteem but also boost your confidence.
And lastly the final two questions were ‘would you change anything about your body’ and ‘if said yes to the previous question what would you change?’ There was no surprise here as the majority by far said yes. The most common answer about what you would like to change was generally slimming down and toning up, especially round the stomach area. I myself have had these same thoughts… I need to be slim and have a flat stomach with wash board abs and my bingo wings need to firmer and not wobble like jelly every time I move them. Well my time thinking these thoughts are over as I’ve been slimmer and basically had a flat stomach but you know what it was so hard to maintain and I was so miserable and grumpy all the time because I hardly ate anything and would feel really guilty if I had even a small square of chocolate, that I choose my now size 14 self with a rather large bum and a little pouch on my belly for my food baby. So I may have rolls when I sit down and my thighs may splatter out onto every chair that I sit on but hey ho I get too much enjoyment out of food and more importantly I choose to lead a happy life. This is not to say that my way is the right way by any means as I am a strong believer that everyone is unique and it is just about finding whats right for you and you’re body. There’s no harm in having goals such as toning up or slimming down, but just remember that they have to be realistic and right for you. If you’re happy with the way you are but feel the need to change for others, PLEASE DON’T! Embrace who you are as there’s no one else like you out there and remember to Be True Be You.