So what size will make me happy, again?

“Why Being Size 14 Wont Make You Happy”

I read this headline, and thought to myself now how would anyone know what size makes me happy? I read the headline, and though that this had the potential to be an epic disaster, or at the very least some seriously poorly worded and reported research.

Early on it seemed to confirm my suspicions, talking about a recent study saying women who are size 14 are the happiest, then saying

The road to happiness does not come with being a size 14. In some of the recent articles exposing the view that it does, a photo of Fern Britton was used.

The same Fern Britton who had a gastric band fitted, which is a serious operation for those who are very likely to be very unhappy about their weight. The other ‘go-to’ person for picture editors with stories on this sort of topic is Kate Winslet. Kate Winslet. A woman with one divorce behind her, who has recently separated from her second husband. So perhaps being a size 14 doesn’t necessarily signal the right passage to continuous happiness.

Those illustrating and writing these recent pieces, of course chose to ignore the Jada Pinkett Smiths of this planet. Pinkett Smith, a woman who quite clearly has her life and her A-list husband, Will, in order, would look ridiculous as a size 14 – she is far too small in height and build.

Holy shit, you mean the number on a dress tag doesn’t guarantee that my marriage will last?? I have been seriously misled by the marriage and size 14 clothing industries. After reading this I was seriously concerned that this article was written by someone with a grasp on causation and science not even up to par with the average child.

Then it begins to slowly struggle into ‘actually, you should just be the size right for you’ territory, which was a relief (although it does indicate that you should be replying on BMI, although not actually using the term BMI)

Contentment does not come with dress size. It never has done. As long as you are in the medically acceptable weight range for your height and bone structure, then that is what is important. My best friend is a size 14 and looks incredible. I was a size 14 once and a photograph of me at this weight caused Lorraine Kelly to exclaim live on GMTV: “You’re not yourself there, are you?”

That was because Dr Hilary Jones was sitting next to me on the sofa and I was on air to talk about how I had been seriously ill with a thyroid problem – and my weight had ballooned and overwhelmed my 5ft 3in, small-boned frame. During my size 14 phase I was lethargic, depressed and unhealthy. When I got my physical condition back on track, through a combination of natural supplements and exercise, my state of mind improved immeasurably. The smiles returned to my face – at a size eight.

Everybody is different. Being too curvy for your frame is as bad for your health as being too thin. America spent $147 billion (yes, billion) on the health related problems of overweight Americans last year. Some of those will have been petite women who were a size 14 and too big for their bone structure.

Ended with a sweet indirect dose of reinforcement that you probs are too fat, actually. So apparently “everybody is different”, huh? I guess different is ok as long as it’s within a certain narrow range. As Dr. Spaceman from 30 Rock would say, “Now Jenna, medically speaking for your height your weight puts you what we call the “disgusting” range”.

The MSN article ends with

So ignore the size fascists. Happiness is not about your dress size. It comes from within you.

Yeah, talk about messages that are all over the place. ‘This study says size 14 women are happiest; but look at this example of a size 14 lady who got divorced! So happiness doesn’t come from dress size; everybody is different! But also, being “too curvy” is as bad as being “too thin”! So do what’s best for you; but remember eating healthy and doing exercise will make you happy. But happiness comes from within yourself, and isn’t about size at all!’


  1. Katherine says:

    Being size 14 won’t make you happy because society keeps moving those goalposts around, and in any case EVERYONE is either “too fat” or “not curvy enough” or “too thin” or “too whatever”. There’s just no way to be P2K compliant without spending every waking moment working towards it (except that you need lots of money to get all the necessary surgical modifications, so you’d better get a job where they pay you to work on your beauty).

    • steph says:

      Moving the goalposts is the best description ever of what is considered acceptable for women. We can never win. And yes, you’re right, there’s no way to be exactly ‘right’; even with every waking minute consumed by it, by the time you made it to perfect then there would be a new ‘perfect’. Isn’t it great when there is a standard to aspire to that is completely unreachable?