Why We Should Ignore ‘Body Shapes’

We are told a lot about body shape. Whether it was when Gok told us how to look good naked or when looking in fashion magazines that tell you what clothes will best suit you, knowing your body shape is apparently crucial to feeling good about yourself.

Tell you what though – my body shape changes. When I haven’t eaten a meal in a few hours, I’m a “rectangular” shape. When I feel like I’ve eaten for six, I’m a “round” shape. Apparently there is a “triangle” option which might also be me. I could be a “diamond” shape, though I’m not sure how that one works.

There’s also those “fruit” body shapes to choose from, like pear and apple – is that where “you are what you eat” comes from? Will I be a pear shape if I eat enough of them? If that’s true, do boys eat bananas? What’s the deal?

Maybe I should just give up this quest and say that my body is simply a “body” shape.

Just Google image-searching “body shapes” is confusing and exhausting. There’s a million different charts telling you different names for similar shapes.

And what’s with this “boyish” shape nonsense anyway? Aren’t we supposed to be accepting of anyone and everyone, and let women (and men) be as feminine or masculine as they would like? I’ve never heard of “girlish” shape being used anywhere, and besides, that just sounds a little too pervy.

I like to think that body shapes are made up of many different shapes. My boobs are little triangles (I wouldn’t get far in Hollywood). My fingers are bumpy rectangles. My face is an oval-ish shape (don’t get me started on all that. I don’t know my face shape and don’t want to know because I’d rather cut my hair however I want it, thank you very much). My stomach and torso can be incredibly circular or a trapezoid (yes, I had to look that up).

I don’t think labelling your body shape to a fruit or whatever is really that important. Sure, some clothes might suit you better if they flatter your specific shape – but what if you don’t want to wear those clothes?

What if you want to wear something just because it’s a bit sparkly or a bit gothic, and that’s just what you are in the mood to wear?

Nobody else cares about it, so why should you? You’re not going to be asked what your body shape is EVER – that would be such a bizarre and unnecessary question. If somebody actually wanted to know what your body shape was, they’d simply look at you, and depending on a few factors, it’ll probably change a bit every time.

We’re not characters from Mr Men – our shape isn’t a core factor of our personality (it’s very important for Mr Tickle, what with the long arms). Our bodies change too much to label them – just think about all those “X gains 4 stone” or “X loses weight fast!” titles that you see on the cover of magazines.

I constantly compare myself to curvy ladies like Iskra Lawrence and of course the Kardashians and think how can I possibly achieve such a lovely shape – I am a plank of wood compared to them. Sure I can tone myself more and gain a lot more muscle on my hips, thighs and bum, but even if I did achieve that shape I would probably still be comparing myself to a different shape; the new-in shape that everybody is lusting over.

Accepting the shapes we are given is going to be a huge stress relief.

No longer will we be wishing we were her – instead we’ll be thinking about how to keep ourselves healthy and happy. Only we know what our body’s normal shape is and consequently know when we feel that we are healthy.

Maybe we should create names to better fit our own individual body shapes. I would say “be a hexagon” but that just sounds like an impossible yoga position.

Your body shape should be exactly that – yours. Own it, be proud of it, and dress it however the fuck you like.


This post was originally published on 9th June 2016, but has been slightly edited.

2 Comments

  • I have never figured out what shape I am, or what shape my face is. It’s a shape. It’s a face shape! It’s the shape of a face. If anything I find those guides MORE confusing. I thought they were supposed to simplify things?

    I do think it’s interesting how different shapes become “popular”.. I mean think about the huge difference between Kate Moss’s ‘heroin chic’ look and Kim Kardashian’s cartoonish hourglass. They couldn’t be more extreme opposites and yet Kate Moss is the last body ideal I can think of before KK. Bizarre to think ideals can swing so widely based on pop culture…

    • That’s so true – probably worth a post in itself, how the ideal body changes with who the ‘it’ girl is.

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