Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday Rant - I am NOT a fruit!

Ever since I was a low-esteemed teenager I've had trouble with using fruit terminology to describe people's bodies. Now that I'm a confident almost-30 year old, I have even more of a problem with it, but for different reasons.

And here's my problem, I have a classic hourglass shape. Large chest, good sized hips, small waist = hourglass. The problem? In the fruit system, this equals an apple shape. And granted, if I were to gain a bunch of weight, it would tend to center around my middle first, and would turn me into an apple shape. But as of right now, I am not and apple shape. But the fruit system doesn't allow for hourglass. It's apple or pear (is there another one I'm not aware of?).

Growing up, my mother used this system (she has a pear shape and would tell me I was an apple shape. Not to say I was large or whatever, but as a statement of fact, since that is how that system works). And I was a teenager in the 90s, and fully embraced the plaid shirt grunge trend, so my shirts went straight down from my chest, which did in fact make me look like I had a big round apple shape. So this made me feel like I was fat, even though looking at pictures now I realize I wasn't.

But now that I have a more confidence voice on me, I'm speaking out against this system, because really, there are so many more shapes than just apple and pear. I like this site, which seems a lot more reasonable. They list three body types:

1. Short waist - your body may be defined as an H shape, or column (Princess Diana, Anne Hathaway), or if you become overweight, you may become an apple shape (Dawn French) - am I supposed to know who that last one is? The thing I really like here is that it says that you may become an apple shape if you become overweight, not just if you have big chest and hips

2. Long waist - shoulders approximately the same width as hips, in either an 8 shape (Catherine Zeta-Jones, Cate Blanchett) or hourglass shape (Jessica Simpson) - I have a really long waist, such that I can be shorter than a guy standing up, then taller than him sitting down

3. Shoulders narrower than the hips, then you're a V shape (Jennifer Garner, Keira Knightly - long waisted, Salma Hayak - short waisted), and if you really must use the fruit system "pear shaped"

I must say I like the letters and numbers system so much better. V-shape, 8-shape, H-shape, all good. No easy letter/number for hourglass, any suggestions?

I just feel like telling anyone, especially a young adolescent girl, that they're an apple shape, or even a pear shape (have you seen a pear? That bottom half is really big!) just reinforces any sense of low self esteem they already have about their body. Because even if you know you have an hourglass shape, you may not be confident about it, and being called an apple focuses your attention on your tummy and how big it is (even if it isn't all that big) and makes you feel bad about it.

Ok, now to get out of my teenage mind spiral. I am confident about my body now, given how well I eat and how much I exercise. I have the same twinges of body issues that all American women have, because seriously, in this society it's hard to get away from it. But I seriously bridle every time I hear someone called an apple shape or a pear shape. Even if someone is truly an apple shape with a "buddha tummy," I don't feel like it's positive reinforcement to say that to them (and isn't necessarily going to inspire them to lose the buddha tummy, even if they can).

Agree? Disagree? Never thought about it?


Leah J. Utas said...

Labelling of bodies is offensive. It does more harm than good to tell people what fruit, or for that matter, letter, they resemble. It may be a good description for medical conditions or in describing a character in a book. It has no place in general use. I'm a pear and I don't care.

The Lethological Gourmet said...

Hear hear! Apart from medical use, it can sometimes be helpful to acknowledge yourself as an hourglass, or V-shape, or whatever, just so that you know what best kinds of clothes to look for. But I don't see any reason to use labels - in the case where you must (like with What Not to Wear, when they're trying to teach people how to dress their body shape), then sticking with very neutral terms are better (V instead of pear, 8 or hourglass intead of apple).

Charlotte said...

I never can figure out which category I fit into with these things and generally wind up feeling worse about myself for the trying. Although you do make a good point about the clothing...

JavaChick said...

Speaking of What Not to Wear - they never say Apple or Pear, do they?

I agree that Apple and Pear as the only two options don't cut it. I could never figure out which one I am supposed to be. I think I fall more into the hourglass category, though my shoulders are a little on the narrow side.

JavaChick said...

No...wait...just looked at that site again, and I think I'm an 8. I have the "shelf hip".


WeightingGame said...

Late last year, there was a story about how these British TV style experts, Trinny and Susanna, came up with TWELVE new ways to describe one's body shape, including Hourglass, Vase, Lollipop, and something called a Skittle. Blah! Here's the link, tho

The Lethological Gourmet said...
Ooh, that's kind of interesting. It's still categorizing, and there's still the apple and the pear in there, but there are some of them that aren't so charged. I can't tell if I'm an hourglass or a cello. But it's still hard to label people this way (especially if you come up categorized to be a brick!)

Charlotte and Java, I think there are lots of people who don't fit these traditional labeling systems. And honestly, I'd rather not fit a label, I think it makes like more interesting right?