July 2010

Battling the Beauty Myth in Argentina

mannequinsMaría Pérez (pseudonym), a 34-year-old Argentine, works as a sales clerk in a clothing store in the capital of Buenos Aires, but she doesn't wear the clothes she sells. She's a size 46 (UK 18/US 16) and the largest size her store offers is 38 (UK 10/US 8). She told AnyBody, "The only clothes that I can find to fit are imported name brands like Levis but they're really expensive, at least twice the cost of an Argentine brand. The problem is, I can't fit into any Argentine brands. There aren't that many speciality shops for larger sizes and even then the clothing is quite boring, not fashionable at all." She deals with the problem by asking friends who travel to North America or Europe to bring her back the clothes she wants.

Kasandra Shay, a 40-year-old American living in the province of Buenos Aires wears a US size 6-8 (UK 10-12) and said, "it's impossible to find anything that fits." She told AnyBody that for the last three years she has resided in Argentina she only buys clothes when visiting the States. "I feel like if you aren't five feet tall and an absolute stick with twigs for arms and legs, (and no hips), then clothes just aren't for you."

Luciana La Morgia, a 34-year-old Argentine residing in the capital of Buenos Aires, doesn't know what her size is. Depending on where she buys her clothes, her size ranges from a 30 to a 40 (UK 2-12/US 0-10), sometimes even in the same store. She stated that it is challenging to find clothes that fit properly and said that women's clothing in Argentina "is made for little dolls and girls without hips."

According to Monique Altschul, the executive director of the feminist organisation Fundación Mujeres en Igualdad (Women in Equality Foundation), approximately 70% Argentine women have difficulty finding clothes that fit. As a result, women have no choice but to shop at speciality stores that carry larger sizes, but in Argentina, fashion and larger sizes are not congruous. By comparison, women in the UK and the US can shop at popular and style-conscious chains like Marks & Spencer or specialists such as Evans and Lane Bryant. AnyBody also spoke with Dr. Mabel Bello, the executive director of ALUBA, Argentina's Association Against Bulimia and Anorexia who said, "Argentina has the second highest rate of eating disorders in the world … and 95% of its women believe they are fat." Taking such facts into consideration, the lack of a full range of clothing sizes isn't just an inconvenience. It's feeding a national health crisis ...

Read the full post at AnyBody.

(Originally published on July 6, 2010).

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