Skinny Shaming and Saying No to Size Zero

| April 17, 2013 | 0 Comments

“Oh, honey, she only looks like that because she starves herself,” a mother reassures her self-conscious daughter. “Someone feed that woman a sandwich!” she shouts at the red carpet on her television. “Real women have curves,” she proclaims with pride.

Wait—real women? Who gave any of us the right to define what constitutes as a ‘real woman’ or to make assumptions and judgments about a stranger’s eating habits based on her dress size?

No one did. That’s right; we do not have that right. Not a single one of us.

I recently came across a petition to “Say No to Size Zero”. Katie Green, a curvy UK model who experienced pressure to lose unhealthy amounts of weight, created this petition in order to “fight for curvier women”. The petition aims to ban all size zero models from the fashion industry and the catwalk.

The petition has good intentions. It aims to promote a society in which women do not need to feel as though they must be a size zero in order to be beautiful. Body image is a serious problem among women today and it is commendable to want to remedy the issue.  However “saying no to size zero” and skinny shaming does not in any way resolve the problem. In fact, it actually serves to further body image issues.

Banning size zero and denouncing skinny women suggests that there is something wrong with women who have less cleavage and narrower hips. There isn’t. Tearing down skinny women sends the message that it is okay to judge a woman based on the shape of her body. It isn’t. Claiming that “curvy women are better” suggests that one body type is superior to another. It’s not. 

Some women are tall, and some are short. Some women are petite, while others are curvy. These characteristics should not define or distinguish a person.  We should not ban size zero models from the runway. We should not ban anyone from the runway. Society needs to realize that in order to have a world in which all citizens feel comfortable in their bodies, we must celebrate and acknowledge that there are different body types.

The fashion industry should represent all of these body types and promote body equality instead of a one-sided sizeism. We desperately need to stop playing the size game as a competition that must have a winner. Instead of dividing ourselves according to our waist measurements or our cup sizes, we need to unite under the common cause of body confidence and positive self-image in order to truly triumph over the body issues that we are combatting today. We need to not say no to size zero, but instead say yes to size equality.

Because nothing promotes healthy body image like telling beautiful and fully capable adult women that they look like prepubescent boys!

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Category: featured, Social Activism, The (Sex)es

Mackenzie Morgan

About the Author ()

Even though she's not sure how it happened, Mackenzie is a senior. She is also a cake connoisseur, self-declared hobby architect, and co-Editor-in-Chief of Culture Shock. She hails from a small snow globe of a town deep in the mountains of Colorado and is ridiculously proud of the fact that she's half Australian. She's working towards molding young minds as she studies History Education and American Studies with a minor in Political Science, but she would also like to be a princess (or maybe a lawyer). Her weaknesses and greatest enemies include mornings, ketchup, and mascots. Mostly Mackenzie likes to tweet about sandwiches (@Kenz_LM), eat soup, look at the moon, and work towards being Hermione Granger.

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