Twenty-seven-year-old Deena Shoemaker has been a leader and counselor for teen and pre-teen girls for the past six years – and in that time she’s realized that body image issues start at a very young age.
So, to help combat some of those negative messages, she wrote a Facebook post on Dec. 10 to remind young women that the sizes on clothes are not what determines how beautiful they are.
Deena posted a collage of photos to clearly illustrate the fashion industry’s size problem. She is pictured wearing pants in sizes 5, 6, 8, and 12 — each pair fits perfectly, despite the difference in sizes.
“I’ve listened to countless girls tell me about their new diets and weight loss fads. I’ve have girls sob in my arms and ask me, “if I were skinnier, would he have stayed?” I’ve counseled girls who were skipping meals. I’ve caught some throwing up everything they’ve just eaten.” she wrote.
Shoemaker was inspired to create the post when she was going through her clothes and realized that the sizes of her pants were dramatically different despite fitting her equally as well.
“Let me explain why I’m not happy, America. You Photoshop models and actresses and slap them on the front of beauty magazines,” she wrote.
“At this point it’s a pretty universally known truth that you’re lying to us and those aren’t accurate portrayals of the human body. I can prove it to girls pretty easily by simply showing them how Photoshop works.”
“But when you resize a girl’s pants from a 9 to a 16 and label it ‘plus size,’ how am I supposed to fight that? Photo manipulation is one thing, but how do you expect me to convince her that the number printed inside her clothes is a lie too? How do you expect me to convince her that she doesn’t need to skip dinner for the next month because her pant size didn’t *actually* go up by seven digits?” she continued.
“My dear beautiful girls, my size 2 girls or my size 18 girls, your size doesn’t determine your beauty; your life does … “
” … The size printed inside your clothes is subjective to the fashion industry’s personal taste and it fluctuates rapidly. Stop believing the social normatives about who and what you should be. You are lovely and you are loved. Just exactly the way you are.”
Shoemaker’s post has been shared over 88,000 times and the comments section is filled with other people sharing similar experiences with varying clothing sizes and thanking Shoemaker for reminding people that the size on your clothing labels doesn’t determine your beauty or your worth.