Thursday, June 16, 2011

My Dress Size is a Value

I’m going to start this blog by asking a rhetorical and perhaps embarrassing question to all of us women: When did we allow our dress size to become a priority in our value system? I know many of you are jumping to answer this question by blurting out: “but it’s not a value to me!” But oh contraire it is! And it’s a big one!

I was driving to work today expecting to enjoy an all staff event and in this particular event some kind of meal would be served. Let me back track for a minute, this morning I reluctantly woke up from bed and drugged myself to the gym. My body was already sore from yesterday’s workout. But this particular morning, I had to get out of bed and workout because in the past month I have gained 5 extra pounds, ok 7 lbs. So I had every reason to wake my sore body out of bed to the gym to shed those extra 5, I mean 7 lbs gained. I worked out for about an hour. Showered and started on my way to work. After such a big work out, I was hungry. But the first thought that came to mind was to devise a plan of what I would eat when the meal was served. I subconsciously started on the plan and I became frustrated with myself and sad at the same time. And then I asked myself that same rhetorical question: “when did my dress size become such an important value?”

Women in the west, if we’re going to tell the truth, our dress size is a part of our value system. The word value means something we use as a guide in order to help us make decisions. And the truth is our dress size, our weight, our BMI (Body Mass Index) are a part of our value system. They help us plan out our day, what activities to engage in, where or what to eat and how we feel about ourself.
The reality is we are spending over $60 Billion for the right dress size. And $3.5 Billion of that accounts for weight loss surgeries. While in 1992 we were “only” spending $30 Billion, yes only $30. In less than 20 years we are willing to pay double for the right dress size. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about being healthy. Yes an overly heavy person should lose the weight because there are health risks involved. A person who enjoy a good workout and loves physical activity should continue. Counselors sometime prescribe for their clients to participate in some form of physical activity; believe it or not working out it can help with depression. We all should eat better and participate in some form of physical activity. But there is a majority of us that has taking it to the next level: it has become a guide that helps us make decisions. Yes I’m talking to you.

You statisticians out there please don’t manipulate the statistics by referring me to the “right” way to use statistics. I’m not a statistician, I know about variables and taking into account globalization, inflation and yaddi, yaddi, yadda but my point is: it seems that a shift has taken place in society and inadvertently our value system.

Here’s another shocking statistic, Americans are spending over 110 Billion dollars a year on fast food. If you love numbers like I do, you are already making several correlations.

But I want to ask some questions to help steer us in the direction of coming up with an explanation.

When did the shift in our value system occur?

Was it during the women’s liberation movement? Women were now free to enter the work force and fight back against the violence that has been done to them but not without a price. We were now working not one but two jobs; taking care of our family and bringing home a paycheck.

Was it because of industrialization? Maybe the progress in our nation occurred too quickly. The average income increased over 10 times; again not without a price.

Was it the media? Although the media allowed us to be exposed to more and be entertained but it was not without a price. Watch this woman’s story: Was the media’s plan for selling us the thin woman theory work?

Was it the increase on the divorce rate? The higher the divorced rate, the more depressed, the more we ate and the more weight we gained and the more we searched for significance by controlling our weight through several forms of dieting. And over time we are here wondering how our dress size became our value system.
And do we come up with our value systems based on our community’s value system? For example, if our community value a certain dress size, do we also value that same thing?

I don’t know the cause for where we are but one of the many lessons I learned in graduate school was that correlation does not define causation. Meaning because two things correlate does not mean one caused the other. I can’t answer why our dress size is a value. That seems to be an individual issue that you must grapple with. It is for you to look through your history, your situation and have some explanations and possibly some recommendations.

So…I am still here on the computer as I continue to ponder, how my dress size became a part of my value system?

Before I sign off, I want to leave you with these words of affirmation:
You are beautiful! Whether you’re a size 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18…You’re beautiful!
You are worth loving! Whether you’re a size 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18…You’re worth it!
You are precious! Whether you’re a size 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18…You’re precious!
You are gorgeous! Whether you’re a size 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18…Just gorgeous!
You are created by the One who knows exactly what He was doing when he chose to make you, value that more than anything else.


  1. Thought provoking. Now my question would be, how would we start the wheels of change?
    -Brooke Brooks

  2. Brooke, that's the million dollar question that needs God's grace in finding an answer. It must start with God, our values need to be held up against what God values the most. Change always start with one and change in our values must start with God. I do think we need to start looking at foreign women who don't have those same values and ask the question why don't they?