What Body Shape Are You?

pear

I hate this thing where our bodies are categorised into fruit shapes.

You all know those maddening articles you get in magazines, with images of different girls in their underwear, each labelled as ‘pear-shaped’, ‘apple-shaped’ or ‘lemon-shaped’. You’re then prompted, of course, to stand in front of a mirror in your own underwear, study your own body and compare it to the magazine guide to determine which winning fruit it is that you are most aligned to.

It’s not good enough to have just compared you to a bulbous plant of course. The experts then advise you what exercise you should do, what diets you should follow, what clothes you should wear to make the most of out of looking like whichever spectacular fruit it is that you resemble.

But while I love a good apple crumble, a scrummy baked pear in wine or a lemon meringue pie (extra meringue) and am all for the wholesome goody goodyness of having more fruit in our lives and diets, I have to say I completely disagree with identifying ourselves after them.

So, no. I protest.

We all boast different sizes and shapes and physiological make-ups. We’re each such remarkably unique hybrids of physical difference that I think it’s impossible to just plonk us into one of a few labels and say, ‘Here. You’re this-shaped so you need this method and this approach and those tapered trousers to make you look more presentable.’

I’ll eat whatever the damn hell I want and dress however the fuck I feel like. Even if it makes me look like a lemon. Heck, maybe because it makes me look like a lemon. Thank you.

We each have our own, special, identifiably singular body shape. We each react to foods and movement very differently and for reasons that go far beyond the shapes our bodies have assumed. One very skinny girl may reach her optimal physical fitness doing yoga; another may find it in running. A chubby girl may find that she feels at her best health when she’s following a vegan diet; another, when she’s eating as much pasta as she is steaks. One sporty, muscly girl may feel her sexiest wearing jeans and a tank top all the time; another feels more body-confident in a mini dress.

You can see then, how silly it is — even pointless — to ascribe certain, specific modes of behaviour and living habits to what are very broad categories of body-types.

It’s also potentially damaging — for what if a girl is told she is ‘pear-shaped’ but she is completely uncomfortable following any of the subsequent advice for eating, working-out and dressing? Is she then made to believe that she’ll just have to make do with ‘looking like a pear’ for the rest of whenever? And in the first place, what’s wrong with looking the way she does right now—pear, apple, orange, whatever?

Why is there always that horribly implied message that whatever shape you are, there is something that needs fixing? Some flaw to be adjusted and righted? Something to be done to make yourself look better?

So, no. I protest.

I am Jamie-shaped.

And I will run if I want to, or do yoga, or swim. Or perhaps even just lay out in the sun on a deck-chair by the pool. I will wear a maxi-dress if it takes my fancy or a mini-skirt or a suit or a pencil-skirt or flared trousers or skinny jeans. I will eat carbs and protein and pots of yoghurt and whatever else it is I’m craving.

For I have only one body. And it’s all and only mine.

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