I recently promised my daughter that in a few more weeks, I'd take her back-to-school shopping at a huge clothing warehouse store just outside Boston -- a place I remember from when I was a teenager.
So I went online to find the store's website and take a look at the driving directions. There was a section for comments and reviews from shoppers, so -- curious -- I clicked on it to see if others felt that shopping there was a worthwhile experience.
There were plenty of comments about the store, of course, but the main topic of conversation?
The communal dressing room.
Ah, yes. That large, mirror-walled open room -- without dividers -- where women strip down, try on, lament, criticize, curse and make fun of their bodies. It's an experience like no other.
But it's also an opportunity for a body image education. Here's what I've learned from my time spent in communal dressing rooms:
- No body is "perfect."
- Every body is beautiful in its own way.
- It's all about attitude. Some women are perfectly comfortable with themselves in the center of the room, while others try to hide in the corner, hoping no one will see. The most interesting thing is that their bodies may be similar -- it's the attitude that's entirely different.
The comments ranged from those who loved the energy and camaraderie of the communal dressing room to those who refused to shop there again because they were so freaked out at the thought of disrobing in front of other women.