Label My Body All You Want, I’m Not Afraid


Look, I get it. I understand that labeling women, especially their bodies, is a big no-no, and I can see why. It can make people feel bad. I’m not interested in making anyone feel bad about their body. And I don’t think a survey out of the UK detailing the newest kind of “body type” does that. As Natalia Hawk over on Mamamia notes, rectangles are the newest body shape to have been identified. But Hawk isn’t thrilled with the rectangle label or any of the labels, for that matter.

“I know that there are all these different kinds of body types, and that working out what you are might be potentially helpful for when you are buying clothes and such, and working out what suits you. But. I’ve never been good at working out my body type. Because I have boobs, and a butt, and various other body parts in between, but I don’t think they make up any particular sort of shape. Besides, you know, the shape of a body. Not the shape of an apple. Or a pear. Just a body. Women should not be called ‘rectangles’. I don’t think it’s healthy to assign particular shapes to people and make them feel guilty about being that particular shape.”

While I fully realize that not allowing anyone to label us or put us in a box is wonderfully feminist of us 21st century women, I also know that being able to categorize oneself can often be extremely helpful in life. For instance: I recently diagnosed myself as an introvert as opposed to the sparkling extrovert I always imagined myself to be. This label has allowed me to understand myself and better deal with certain personality quirks I used to berate myself over. This theory isn’t strictly about personality types either. Have you identified your color season? It can help when it comes to choosing which colors to wear and which make-up to purchase. It’s not about making you feel bad. That’s why I think Hawk has it wrong when she says that being identified as a particular body type is guilty or embarrassing. Over on Mamamia she writes:

“How embarrassing for you. If you are a rectangle, you should probably just pack up and go home right now. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. And take Kim Cattrall and Nicole Kidman with you apparently they are also rectangles and therefore no longer worthy of any more red carpets.”

Being a rectangle isn’t embarrassing. It simply means you are now armed with knowledge that can come in handy when shopping for clothing styles and cuts that look best on you. If you’re a rectangle, you know to gravitate toward clothing that might help simulate a better waist. If you’re an “apple,” you can accentuate your legs over your waist. If you’re a “pear,” you can wear heels to elongate your legs and make your body appear more proportioned.

Ain’t no shame in being an apple or a pear or a rectangle. Natalia is the one injecting shame into being a rectangle. Have we become so lusty in our pursuit of some kind of warped feminism that we can’t eyeball our own wonderful bodies with honesty and say: “Why yes, I do have a tiny waist and a bigger booty which makes me an apple, but hey! I can wear this and this and this to help me make the most of my features.”

Those of us who have birthed a kid or two or five know that the body is ever-changing during this process. Rectangles transform into pears, hourglasses blow up into apples — it’s how it goes a lot of the time. When trying to negotiate the wilderness of jeans currently available, I can use all the help I can get knowing which ones make my booty look as ‘licious as possible. (I’m a curvy girl with short legs, so boot cut isn’t the right cut for me as it tends to make me look like a Corgi on its hind legs.)

Being a particular body type isn’t a bad thing. Super sexy J-Lo is a pear. Nicole Kidman is a rectangle. Salma Hayek is an hourglass. Demi Moore in an inverted triangle. All of these women are smoking hot. Are we all so sensitive that we can’t identify a body type in the same way we learn about bra sizes and seasonal colors in order to help us dress our best?

What about you? Do you think identifying your body type is “embarrassing” or empowering?


Image courtesy of iStock.

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