FEATURE

AnyBody in Argentina: Changing the Face (and Body) of Fashion

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If I told you I recently came across a boutique where none of its dresses fit over my head would you believe me? If you’re a woman who wears a US size 8/10 or higher and who’s lived in Argentina for any length of time, you certainly would. In fact, you’d probably share a story or two of your own. After residing for more than a decade in Buenos Aires, I should know better than to even consider buying clothes in the country, especially considering I’m fortunate enough to be able to keep my wardrobe topped up on my regular Toronto trips to visit family and friends. However, every once in a while I succumb to the temptation of a pretty piece displayed in a store window, knowing full well I’ll need to shore up my self-esteem before reaching the changeroom. If it doesn’t fit me—and more often than not it doesn’t—I remind myself that my body isn’t defective, it’s the Argentine fashion industry that needs reform. And that’s something my team, AnyBody Argentina—the Argentine chapter of Endangered Bodies, an international organization that challenges the culture that teaches us to hate our own bodies—also understands.

On January 11, AnyBody Argentina launched our most recent campaign, El talle único no es el único talle (“One-Size-Fits-All Is Not the Only Size”), in which we recognized five national fashion brands for committing to stock a minimum range of seven sizes in the majority of its jeans and/or trousers, those being the items that Argentines have the most difficulty finding in their size as confirmed by our annual national surveys. In this first phase of Summer 2016, we congratulate Portofem, Taverniti, Florida Chic, Portsaid, and Yagmour for their wide range of sizes, the details of which can be found online in the voluntary agreement each brand signed. The public is able to identify these body-positive brands via a store window sticker, which carries the same name as our campaign.

Our focus on sizes isn’t anecdotal: approximately 65 percent of Argentine women have difficulty finding clothes in their size, a percentage that has remained more or less constant since 2012. The country’s first Ley de talles or Size Law, created to guarantee consumers an ample selection of sizes, was established in the province of Buenos Aires six years ago, a positive step toward eliminating weight discrimination in society.

It would be if the law were effectively enforced.

To complicate matters, additional size laws have since emerged in nine provinces and two municipalities, each mandating different norms, making it next to impossible for national or international fashion brands to fully comply.

Although offering a variety of sizes forms the foundation of our campaign, it isn’t just about supporting brands to comply with an inevitable national size law—the campaign aims to help incite a cultural shift in the representation of women’s bodies. The country’s existing lack of sizes in female fashion is intimately connected to how women’s bodies are presented in the media; more specifically, it’s linked to the glorification of one body type, namely white, tall, and skinny. Unfortunately, the regular exposure to this beauty norm is not benign: studies have established that continued consumption of the thin ideal can negatively impact body confidence in girls and women, in addition to being linked to low self-esteem and eating disorders.

It was with these sobering facts in mind that AnyBody Argentina expanded our vision to not only recognize brands that offer a wide selection of sizes, but to also highlight those which celebrate body diversity. More specifically, we’ve endorsed...

Continue reading at the Endangered Bodies blog.

Bio

2016Sharon grew up in a suburb of Toronto, Canada and earned undergraduate degrees in Psychology (B.Sc.) and Exceptionality in Human Learning (B.A.) at the University of Toronto. In her last year of study, she was a regular guest on the radio program Life Rattle where she orated several of her short stories, many of which addressed body image and violence against women. After graduation she devoted her energies to a career in social work, in roles that included supporting families and individuals with intellectual and physical handicaps, co-facilitating eating disorder support groups, and acting as a literacy assessor and educator for homeless women. Upon reaching burnout, she decided to re-evaluate her professional goals via traveling, studying alternative healing arts, and writing.

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Bio

Sharon grew up in a suburb of Toronto, Canada and earned undergraduate degrees in Psychology (B.Sc.) and Exceptionality in Human Learning (B.A.) at the University of Toronto. In her last year of study, she was a regular guest on the radio program Life Rattle where she orated several of her short stories, many of which addressed body image and violence against women. After graduation she devoted her energies to a lengthy career in social work, in roles that included supporting families and individuals with intellectual and physical handicaps, co-facilitating eating disorder support groups, and acting as a literacy assessor and educator for homeless women. Upon reaching burnout, she decided to re-evaluate her professional goals via traveling, studying alternative healing arts, and writing. After backpacking throughout Mexico, Southeast Asia, and much of South America, she found her second home in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was there she committed herself to writing. She studied the craft, joined a writer's group (Thursdays@Three), and experimented with various styles of fiction and non-fiction, which led to her participation as an author, editor, and presenter at the International Book Fair in Buenos Aires in 2008 and 2009 representing the U.S. Embassy.

Today, she is a freelance writer and editor who has worked with a wide variety of subjects, including but not limited to medicine, web design, the American justice system, wind technology, anthropology, psychology, and the English and Spanish languages. She has authored textbooks and several online courses for colleges and universities throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Latin America. From authoring white papers to copy editing university-level exams, from ghostwriting for bestselling authors to development editing quarterly and annual reports, Sharon's experience is far-reaching.

She especially enjoys combining her love of the written word with her passion for body image activism and feminism. She regularly writes for Herizons, Canada's leading feminist magazine and is a body image columnist (in Spanish) for Entre Mujeres, a supplement of Clarín, the largest newspaper in Argentina. She is also a proud contributor to Fifty Shades of Feminism (Virago), an anthology of "fifty women young and old - writers, politicians, actors, scientists, mothers - [who] reflect on the shades that inspired them and what being woman means to them today."

In 2009, Sharon joined the London-based AnyBody team, part of the international movement Endangered Bodies, which inspired her to organize Endangered Species: Preserving the Female Body in Buenos Aires, one of five international summits held in March 2011. Subsequently, she founded AnyBody Argentina, the Buenos Aires chapter of Endangered Bodies, which fights against sizeism and promotes healthy body image for Argentines, issues that Sharon writes about in both English and Spanish. From 2009 to 2014, she was co-editor for AdiosBarbie.com, a website that promotes healthy body image and identity for people of all sizes, ages, races, cultures, abilities, and sexual identities and orientations; currently, she acts as an advisor for the team. Between 2013 and 2016, Sharon was a Global Advisory Board member for the Dove Self-Esteem Project, in which she advised on issues affecting young people's body confidence, contributed to various resources for parents, mentors, and youth leaders, and wrote various articles for the Dove Self-Esteem site.

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Proud Contributor to:

Fifty Shades of FeminismPublished in March 2013, Sharon contributes "Owning the F-word" to this anthology of "fifty women young and old - writers, politicians, actors, scientists, mothers - [who] reflect on the shades that inspired them and what being woman means to them today."

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