Beauty in all sizes

Recently, a woman named Rachel posted a selfie with a thanks to Old Navy for offering cute plus size clothing after overhearing other shoppers pick up a patriotic tank and mock how “huge” it was. Rachel was hurt, spent a few minutes crying about it, then tried on that very tank and decided to buy it and rock it.

I think she looks fabulous.
screen shot from

Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.

This post is not about Rachel or her shopping experience, but I will take a moment to say thank you to every store offering clothing to fit all shapes and sizes, because every woman should feel good in what she wears. Period, the end.

And while I’m at it, could we please just STOP with body shaming? I’ve seen “fat shaming,” “skinny shaming,” and even “fit shaming” for women who have any sort of visible muscles. Seriously, let’s stop it. Online, while shopping, or anywhere else.

womens portrait project by Jamie Worley

When I was active in photography, I did a project celebrating beauty across five decades, a variety of shapes and sizes, and quite a few colors. It was my all-time favorite photography project because several of the two-dozen women involved told me they’d “never had a good a picture” until their session with me; I still smile thinking about some of their reactions.

But can I please address the elephant in the room?

Although beauty come in all sizes, health does not.

Maybe it’s because body size is a hot-button topic, but I find it odd that no one is offended when we urge each other to keep learning, to improve our minds, to grow spiritually — but people tend to take offense if we urge self-improvement on the physical front. Maybe that’s because our mind and our soul aren’t visible to the public, but our shape is, and that’s what makes us feel so vulnerable.

One more related point, though: a person’s physical appearance does not indicate their fitness level. Yes, being overweight carries health risks but I’ve been easily outrun by overweight folks in some of my road races. Should they get to a healthier weight? That would be wise, but I’m proof (in my first 40 years) that just being slim doesn’t equal healthy.

Let’s stop confusing two separate issues.

I’d love to see us all learn to embrace beauty within ourselves and others at whatever point we’re at in regards to life and fitness — but as we do this, let’s be careful not to inadvertently glorify being unhealthy.

**I typically shy away from these topics but this seems to be coming up repeatedly in social media lately, so I’m sticking my neck out there and hoping my heart comes across in this post.