Navigating the clothing aisles of high street shops can be a monumentally tiring task.
Facebook user Benjamin Ashton Cooper was recently helping his girlfriend de-clutter her wardrobe when he noticed something: the vast majority of her clothing was marked with an 'Extra Large' (XL) tag.
Cooper, who fits into a men’s small was appalled to find his girlfriend’s XL fit him like a glove.
I am not an extra large man, and, more importantly, a woman my size is NOT an extra large woman.
Some users commented on the idea of "Vanity Sizing" - that is the so-called practice of sizing 'down' large items of clothing to encourage sales:
To which Benjamin responded:
My point wasn't about the sizes, it's about the disparity in sizing between men and women. The fact that I got into both a men's small and a women's extra large is straight up sexism. Body shaming sexism.
And went on to say:
Two men of equal weights can also have VERY different body types. Weight and height are not end-all, be-all indicators of body type.
Look at me, and then look at a girl of my torso size, and tell me with a straight face she's an extra large woman.
A study from Northwestern University looked at “enclothed cognition”, which is:
how clothes systematically influence wearers’ psychological processes.
The report concluded that:
The influence of clothes thus depends on wearing them and their symbolic meaning.
In her book, You are what you wear, Dr Jennifer Baumgartner identifies disorders that may develop as a result of the unhealthy affect clothing has on one's self esteem:
Body dysmorphic disorder…is a psychological disorder characterized by excessive concern about and preoccupation with perceived defects or minor deficits in one’s physical features…Treatment is essential owing to the disorder’s distressing symptoms as well as its high risk of suicidality.
Cooper's post has garnered over 250,000 shares so far, and has created an intense discussion between women and men about the topic of beauty and health and the way those concepts are approached by society.