Deena Shoemaker is a 27-year-old counselor from Wichita, KS. She works with an organization called Youth Horizons to help at-risk youth.
Early in her work, she couldn’t believe the things many young girls said about their bodies.
Many of the teen girls called themselves fat, believing that if they were thinner they would be happier. Many even acquired eating disorders along the way.
When Deena was cleaning out her closet to donate clothing to victims of a fire, she noticed something: all her pants were different sizes. They ranged from size 6 to size 12. Then it hit her, if these girls were judging themselves by their clothing size, their views of themselves must be warped.
“Good health is more important than anything. Smaller sizes don’t always mean a healthier person, and bigger doesn’t mean unhealthy,” Deena told TODAY.
See Deena’s incredible body-positive message to women and girls.
Deena wrote on Facebook:
No I’m not selling my pants; I’ve just got a bone to pick.
I’ve worked with teen & pre-teen girls as a leader and counselor in various places for the last 6 years. 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.
But as I was going through my clothes tonight I started to notice how dramatically different the size of all my pants were. And I have a real problem with the fact that my size 5 pants fit me THE EXACT SAME WAY that my size 12 pants do.
Let me explain why I’m not happy, America.
You photoshop models and actresses and slap them on the front of beauty magazines. 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?
STOP telling my girls that a size 4 is the ‘ideal body size’ and the ‘epitome of beauty’ if you’re going to change a size 4 into an 8 or a 12 or whatever number you feel like on any given day.
And to you; 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 norms about who and what you should be.
You are lovely and you are loved.
Just exactly the way you are.
Please SHARE this important body-positive message if you believe size doesn’t matter.