When Ben Cooper’s girlfriend was cleaning out her closet, he noticed many of the items were labeled “extra-large.” “I decided to try on her shirts because I couldn’t believe they were XL,” Cooper told Motto in an email. “Growing up, I was always kind of the little guy, and here I was with an extra-large shirt in my hand the looked like it would fit me like a glove. And it did.”
Cooper says he was immediately taken aback by the fact that the difference in clothing sizes for men and women could seem so skewed, so he posted photos of himself in his girlfriend’s clothing on Facebook—and his post has since been shared more than 280,000 times.
“The biggest surprise has just been the sheer mass of response,” Cooper told Motto. “I’ve received countless of messages from across the globe, almost 300,000 shares, and so many journalists have been reaching out to me. It’s unreal.”
Cooper told Motto his girlfriend is happy he chose to start a dialogue about body image on Facebook. “She’s told me she proud of me, offered me pep talks when I started questioning my words, she’s been great. You never question the things you’ve said quite as much as when you know millions of people from all over the world have seen them, and she’s been there to remind me, ‘You’re starting the right conversations, you’re saying the right things.’ Things that, it seems, women have been saying forever.”
Cooper says he’s hopeful that his post will help women approach their own bodies in a more positive way: “If I have encouraged at least one parent to teach their children that there is nothing inherently wrong with a size, then I’ll be happy with that.”