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Why The Fashion World Needs To Retire Body Type Labels

"A woman's shape can't be translated into an inanimate object or piece of fruit."
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Every time I flip through the fashion section of a women's magazine, there are two words haunting me on the page: "ruler-shaped." Editors, designers and stylists may think that it's an easy way to call out what best fits my shape, however, I see it as another shameless version of skinny-shaming.

I don't need to be reminded that my naturally thin frame doesn't pour into a LBD as "perfectly" as a woman with an hour-glass figure. Or that I should be "grateful" that I don't struggle with finding a pair of jeans as much as someone with a pear shape. But in my opinion, all of these body type labels are absolutely ridiculous.

Why would I walk into a department store or log onto a clothing retailer's site and think, "Hmm, where is the ruler-shaped section? Because, girl, that's where I need to shop."

Comparing my body to an item on a school supply list belittles me as a woman and human being. And pushing myself and women of all sizes into unrealistic body type categories further perpetuates this warped standard of beauty that exists within the fashion world.

We're all sick and tired of seeing photos of rail-thin models, but we assign labels such a ruler-shaped without thinking how this may impact a woman's self-esteem, let alone spark confusion. Then we attempt to promote a positive body image by putting a curvy girl into the mix. What a way to add more pressure to being comfortable in one's skin.

Crystal Renn said it best in a 2011 interview on the Ford Models blog, when she opened up about being labeled:

"I feel pressure -- probably more from any place -- probably from the public and the media. I think that by placing a title on my head, which is "plus-size," and then the picture that these people have created in their mind about what plus-size actually is, I've basically failed you just with that."

It's as if we are subliminally being told that we should accept these body type labels because we are okay with them or incapable of communicating exactly how we see ourselves, especially when shopping. But a woman's shape can't be translated into an inanimate object or piece of fruit. Nor should it be defined by some mathematical or geometric figure.

If the fashion world (this editor included) is going to get real about women's bodies, the dialogue -- and the vocabulary -- needs to get real. It's time to have more honest and meaningful conversations on why body type labels may hurt and not help make sense of the latest trends. It's time we retire these degrading terms and toss out every fashion dictionary they are printed in. Who's with me?

How do you feel about body type labels in the fashion world? Tell us!

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