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Man wears girlfriend's clothing to call out body-shaming sizes: 'Straight up sexism'

A Pennsylvania man photographed wearing his girlfriend's clothes is determined to make a point about sexism in sizing.
/ Source: TODAY

One man photographed wearing his girlfriend's clothes is determined to make a point about body-shaming and the "sexist" discrepancy between men's and women's sizing.

Benjamin Cooper of Delta, Pennsylvania wrote in a now-viral Facebook post that he was helping his girlfriend clean out her closet when he realized that many of the garments she was throwing out were size extra large. Cooper tried some of them on and was surprised to find they fit.

"It pisses me off," Cooper wrote. "I am not an extra large man, and more importantly, a woman my size is NOT an extra large woman."

The 26-year-old told TODAY the point of the post, which has been shared more than 275,000 times, was to highlight how "labels are being placed on people so arbitrarily and inconsistently."

"I'm fitting in something that tells a woman she's an extra-large and that's ridiculous," he said.

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In the Facebook post, Cooper went on to say the sizing perpetuates sexism and helps explain "why we have 8-year-olds with eating disorders."

Some commenters countered that clothing sizes have actually gotten bigger over the years, reflecting growing obesity rates, but Cooper was quick to respond.

"My point wasn't about the sizes," he wrote. "It's about the disparity in sizing between men and women. The fact that I got into both a men's small and a women's extra-large is straight up sexism. Body-shaming sexism."

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He takes particular issue with sizes labeled with the words "extra" or "plus."

"Sizes with the word extra in them are always going to leave someone feeling like they're on the wrong end of the spectrum," Cooper, who works as a warehouse operative, said. "It doesn't matter if it's extra-large or extra-small. I think they're both terrible."

One solution might be to label clothes according to actual measurements, he suggested.

"I've always thought that men's pants sizing has it right," Cooper said. "You have 30 inches around, 32 inches down — done. And that's part of the solution. But I think, more importantly, society needs to learn that there's nothing inherently wrong with a number."

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Or, at least, that that's not for the fashion industry to decide: "I think a clothing size should be a measurement, and between you and your doctor, you should figure out what that measurement means to you," Cooper said.

He and his girlfriend have been bombarded with messages since Cooper's post went viral.

"It's crazy," he said. "I've gotten thank you messages from all over the globe. It’s unbelievable. There have been a few sour apples but the overwhelming majority have been extremely positive and I can’t express my appreciation enough.”