Body Confidence via ‘Mad Men'

I know it sounds impractical. “Rachel, you’re really crediting Mad Men, the show that generally paints a bleak picture of womanhood, with any sort of female empowerment? Aside from empowering women to continue thinking that Jon Hamm is very, very, pretty, of course.” I am, yes. Yes to all of that.

Here’s the deal. I’m a pretty small girl, but I’ve long been a victim of the physical insecurity that comes from being ten or twenty pounds away from a [insert name of virtually any Hollywood actress here]. At 5’4”, the lightest I can recall being is 112 lbs and the heaviest about 140. But I now feel very comfortable at around 130, while many of the most visible actresses are 120 or under. Or physically less visible, as the case may be.

So, why the newfound confidence? Well, as I alluded earlier, I finally got around to watching Mad Men. And yeah, sure, in terms of plot, the women aren’t treated well. Even when (spoiler alert, kind of) Peggy and Joan start to move up the ladder, they’re still subjected to the usual cat-call-like treatment.

But forget about that for a second, and look at them. Look at them! Christina Hendricks is a bombshell and she’s not a size 2 or 4 and she owns it. And I never use the phrase “owns it”. In fact, I don’t know what size she is and I don’t even care. She looks amazing. Of course, it helps to have a wardrobe department on your side, but… sorry, I lost my train of thought thinking about how good she looks.

What I love most about the whole thing, though, is that it serves as a good reminder that being ‘not a size 2 or 4’ was normal. And IS normal. The only thing that’s changed is the body type that clothes are designed for. Super tall, super thin models set the bar and they are the blueprint by which most clothes are now designed. In other words, when I try on jeans, they’re usually too narrow and too long. And 5’4″ isn’t that short, right? RIGHT?

“But what can I do, then?” you might ask. Well, look up to people who have more similar body types to yours, and see how they dress. An America Ferrera or a Scarlett Johansson, if you will. And when it comes to clothes, shop around. Buy jeans with shorter inseams. And if all else fails, buy vintage. I’ve just started doing it recently. I figure, if I can’t be one of the women on Mad Men, I can at least dress like them.