Walk into any California high school or university, and you’ll find dozens of girls looking exactly the same, a mass of crop tops and long legs.

The craze for Brandy Melville has taken hold of the nation. Girls are crowding into the stores, seeking the perfect high-waisted shorts or skater skirt.

I’ll admit it—I do own Brandy’s clothing. It’s a crop top maybe meant for a girl who has boobs 3 sizes smaller than mine, and although it fits, it’s a very cropped cropped top. It’s one of the only items I own from there, because as a girl with boobs and a butt, most of Brandy’s clothing makes me look like an uber-skank.

I wanted to like Brandy, I really did. It’s California-chic; their models are beautifully effortless, with long hair and long legs, almost ephemeral in their perfection. Who wouldn’t want to be the bubbly blondes laughing in their Instagram photos? They’re skinny and they’re happy and seem to embody that coveted California ideal girl. I’m from Southern California, and let me tell you something: while there are plenty of girls who could be Brandy models, the majority of girls come in all shapes and sizes, just like in the rest of the world.



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Brandy epitomizes the core of what is wrong with our societytelling girls that in order to be beautiful, they must be a certain size. And that size is dictated by society. So many girls are plagued by eating disorders, whether its bulimia, anorexia or binge eating. Even for the girls who aren’t categorized as having an eating disorder, there is always this love-hate relationship with food.

I’m sure you have experienced it before: You eat too much and hate yourself afterwards. You count calories. You make sure that the amount of exercise you do is in proportion to the calories you consume. You don’t reach for that slice of pizza because you can already see the weight forming on your body. Whether it’s as extreme as an eating disorder or as simple as depriving yourself of that last bite of chocolate, relationships with food is something that girls have struggled with for ages. We are told that we must stay thin order for boys to like us, in order for society accept. We are told that it’s ok to be different, that it’s ok to be whatever size we naturally are, but then are flooded with images of size 0 models on the runway and brands like Brandy, which claims that “one size fits most” and Abercrombie, which didn’t make plus-sized clothing because they don’t want their brand “associated with fat people.”

Brandy claims that anyone walking into their store will find something, “even if it’s just a bag.” Having something for everyone isn’t the issue. Having “one size fits most” instead of “one size fits all” isn’t the issue. The issue is the message they’re sending—that in order to be “popular,” to be one of those girls who can pull off a big sweater and a crop top and high-waisted pants in size 0, you have to be skinny.

Thankfully, girls have started speaking up against this:

Body peace is powerful. It’s something that’s much needed in today’s world of mixed messages and “one size fits most” beauty standards. It’s something that should be spoken about, something that should be fought for, something that we should help girls seek to achieve. If we can make girls feel like they’re beautiful just the way they are, without society telling them otherwise, without adhering the size standards of a single clothing brand, then that’s all that really matters, isn’t it?

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