Wednesday, May 8, 2013
You Are More Than a Number
Anyone who follows my blog regularly knows I like to write letters from time to time. You know like Dear so and so letters, some of them are written in the hopes of reaching a broad group that I literally do not have addresses for Dear Little Girl's Everywhere and some of them are written in hopes of being read by the recipient (s) one day A Letter To My Boys. Ever since I was a little girl I have loved the written word. I have loved the power of words to move people, to express feelings to others, to make people laugh, cry, understand something, anger people, just to stir up emotions that may otherwise lie dormant, to literally make the writer and the reader feel alive. Let’s face it without feeling there is no life.
Words can move us in great ways but they can also wound us in worse ways. If you are on Facebook or Twitter you know that they are both lit up today with the story about Mike Jeffries the CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch. This article has everyone up in arms, and I get it. I get it big time. There are times that asses like this guy can be ignored but there are times when they can’t and this one for me just can’t be ignored. The problem though with people like Mr. Jeffries is he could clearly care less what we feel about his views on his company. He is obviously a pompous ass who thinks he can tell people whether they are “cool” or not. I don’t want to reach out to him. No thank you. In fact I would love to ignore the fact that he even exists but I will not ignore the people he is affecting with his hurtful words.
Dear Teenage Girls,
You are more than a number. You are more than a clothing label. You are more than the group you feel labeled by in high school. Life is bigger than all of that. It may not seem like it now but trust me life is bigger. It is better than the walls of the school you call home right now. There are mean girls, and jerk guys throughout every stage of life clearly Mr. Jeffries is proof of that, but you will be more confident. You won’t care at some point about what other people think. You certainly won’t care what a clothing line like Abercrombie & Fitch thinks of you.
Here is the thing Mr. Jeffries doesn’t understand. There are girls who are a size 0 or a size 2 or gasp a size 4 who struggle more with their body image than someone who is a size 16 and confident in who she is. He is damaging the so called “beautiful” girls he wants to wear his clothes at the same time he is hurting the size 10+ girls. He is forgetting some key things about you all, how smart you all already are. You have the ability to make his store one of the most popular trending clothing lines or one of the least. You are a generation of social media. You are a generation that will gather your peers and follow through. You have the ability to stand up and send a message. You have the power to say enough is enough.
You have the power to tell him that it is the end of the damage being done to girls self -image. You can tell him that you will not be a generation bullied about dress size. You will not be defined by a number. You will not starve yourselves, compulsively exercise, and make yourselves vomit all to fit an image defined by guys like this:
You as a group have the ability to say ENOUGH. We will not shop in a store that doesn’t respect who we are, and who we are is human beings. You have the ability to show him numbers he never even thought of. Show him the number of girl’s size 0-24 who are done. Done with stores telling them they are a number, they are nothing more than a number and being skinny is what makes you beautiful. This is not new. As women we have struggled with body image for quite some time and it’s certainly not going to go away overnight, but changes have to be made. You can be that change.
When I was in college I struggled with body image. I have rarely talked about it but those close to me knew it. I used to count calories, and exercise compulsively to fit into the image I thought was “beautiful” I remember going to a lecture class one day and we had a guest speaker who was handing out muffins. I ate one and the guilt I felt from the “fat” content I just inhaled made me head right out for a run even though I had spent an hour and a half at the gym that morning. By the time I came home my feet were bleeding. My roommate was sitting on the couch waiting for me and she looked at me and said: I love you, but I can’t watch you do this to yourself anymore and if you can’t stop I will call your family. She saved me. I was a size zero at 5 ft. 5 and I hated by body. I always felt “fat” and it was depressing and sad. I’m sure I lost many friends by constantly complaining that I felt fat, but I did and I know now that I wasn’t. It is a daily struggle for a lot of us, but it can only define us if we let it.
I am a mom now. I have two boys. They think I am beautiful and my priorities are so different now than they were when I was 20 years old. I hope as future mother’s to a whole new generation you will all stand up and say it. Just say ENOUGH! We are beautiful. We are beautiful at a 2 or a 24. We are special, we are not a number and Mike Jeffries you can kiss our asses! We will not shop at Abercrombie and Fitch because you sir have made it so uncool with your dinosaur thinking we now laugh at your clothes. In the end you have the power.
All my love & support,