Imagine finding a stunning dress at the mall. You’re ecstatically walking into the fitting rooms to try it on. You’re excitedly putting on this new dress, zipping it up, fixing your hair, and then you look up at yourself in the dirty fitting room mirror. That’s when the eager smile on your face quickly droops into a frown as you notice that this dress was not made for you. You expected it to look one way, but it turned out to look completely different.
For as long as I can remember, malls often triggered my negative self-body image. I’d sit in the fitting room to try on new clothes and would rip myself apart for looking the way I do. I’d think that it was my fault that the outfit would squeeze my body where it’s not supposed to squeeze and droop loosely where it’s not supposed to droop.
However, it took me some time (and still does take me a minute) to realize that it is most definitely not my fault. Firstly, there is no way that anyone can look “good” in every single piece of clothing ever made. So, this is really step 1 – realizing that not everything will look good on me. Step 2 is realizing that it’s actually the companies who make these outfits that are somewhat at fault because it is them who are still stuck in the past and are making clothes that try to mimic a woman’s “ideal body type.” The fashion industry has come a long way in trying to be more inclusive of different body types, but there are still major milestones to be met.
I know it’s unfair to solely blame malls and the companies that make these clothes, but this is just my perspective on how malls make me feel. Instead of placing all of the blame on the clothes itself, some of my negative self-body image is also my fault. Negative self-body image comes from a place of insecurity. Thus, I want to develop a healthy relationship with my body so that I don’t concentrate on the parts of myself I don’t like. In fact, having a healthy relationship with one’s own body means that we are attuned and comfortable with the fact that our bodies are beautifully flawed. I am aware that this is so much more easily said than done.
Bodies are extraordinary and it doesn’t matter how skinny we are. In order to feel more comfortable in a fitting room, I first need to be comfortable being who I am within my own skin.