the first result confidently announced that there are 4 body types. the second told me there are 8. the one after that took a more science/nutrition approach and wanted to educate me about the 3 body types. there’s even a wikipedia entry for the subject (and before you get the chance to wonder - of course there isn’t an equivalent one for men, get real).
so at this point, we girls can be any one of the following: apple, banana, pear, hourglass, straight, spoon, top hourglass, inverted triangle, oval, diamond, bell, endomorphic, mesomorphic, ectomorphic.
none of these guidelines mention the words skinny, slim, curvy, fat, plump, soft, athletic, muscular, chubby, sporty etc etc etc.
the fruit metaphors have always been problematic for me - not because they’re ineffective comparisons, but because the reducing of a woman’s glorious, complex, unique body to the shape of a commonplace, cheap object antagonises the very core of my belief system. all the descriptors, in fact, for what a body can be are reductive and objectifying. have you literally EVER heard a woman be described as an ‘inverted triangle’?
it’s important, i think, at this stage to assure you that this isn’t going to be a contrived feminist smear campaign against ‘the system’. it is important, however, to recognise that these detached, inhuman classifications make it easier to label and compare women, easier to separate and scrutinise. and besides, my overwhelming question is not so much concerned with the overly-complicated but simultaneously deficient outlines of what my body can/must be assigned to - but, more glaringly, is ‘why?’.
if you know that you’re a size 10 on the top, and a size 14 on the bottom, what good is being told that you’re a pear or an upward triangle or a bell? what purpose is served by being assigned a ‘type’? clothes are not sold according to shape, nor does our triangleness/spoonness/banananess indicate whether we are healthy.
to me, at least, the sole outcome of assigning categories - in really any aspect of life - is to provide *other* people with a way of documenting us. very few of the classifications imposed upon us are for our own benefit - and the process of something going from being ‘that which I know about myself’ to ‘how society sees me’ can be reductive beyond words. to you, your sexuality is just who you are - to society you’re Gay. with a capital. to you, your belief system is just the intrinsic way you think people should be treated - to society you’re a Feminist. or you’re a Vegan, or you’re a Liberal, or you’re Fat. the labels are not for our benefit, they’re to allow other people to categorise us within their own world view instantly. to compartmentalise, to decide immediately and almost subconsciously whether we’re going to fit in to their schema or not. we are mythical gladiators waiting for the fateful thumb.
body type is just yet another way to compare us, separate us, govern us. to trick us into thinking that body X can’t wear a crop top and body Y is forbidden to approach patterned trousers. i wonder what google would provide us with more of: info on how to change/improve/dress for/shrink/grow your body or info on how to love your body - your actual body, the one you’ve got, not the one that indistinguishable fitness blogger #762372 can teach you to get with their new e-book for only $49.99.
assigning women designated types is so very high school. think damian in mean girls giving the cafeteria rundown. tell a woman over and over that she is one specific thing, and she will eventually start questioning whether she can be anything else. how about we just let people wear what they want, be who they want, and leave the clique mentality to the plastics & mathletes?
ps. it occurs to me that at least 87% of my references across all communication is from mean girls and, as alienating as this may be to some readers, really if you haven’t seen it then you’re the problem. (too harsh?) but for reals, go watch it. that’s your homework. prepare to have your life changed.