Saying No To The Say No To Size Zero CampaignFrom Our Readers

There has been a lot of media attention recently on a campaign called “Say No To Size Zero”.

Isn’t that great?!

If you’re a “curvy girl” (like me, for example) you might be thinking that this campaign sounds fantastic. I, on the other hand happen to think it’s misguided. This may be an unpopular opinion, but the fact is: If we “Say NO to Size Zero” aren’t we discriminating against skinny chicks? And, if we are, why is that okay?

The image above came alongside the caption:

“CURVY Katie Green shows off the body that crazy model agencies criticised for being ‘too fat’ as she launches a “Say No to Size Zero” campaign outside parliament today. The size 12 Wonderbra girl lost her contract after a bust-up with her agency over her weight. But days after refusing to lose two stone the 30F lingerie model was snapped up by undies giant Ultimo. Today she looks fabulous posing in their skimpies as she urges other companies to ditch the super skinnies.”

“Ditch the super skinnies”? That seems ironic to me. If encouraging the modeling industry to use curvier models is about giving a more unbiased representation of what women look like, then why would we need to “ditch” anyone? Why can’t all women’s bodies be appreciated?

An aspiring model was told she needed to lose weight (not cool)…however, she then landed an awesome job with Ultimo! Fantastic! So, why is she fronting a campaign against skinny girls? In my opinion, it has a lot to do with power. There are models of every body size and shape and it’s a truly wonderful thing, but there is still a lot of Weight Discrimination going on. For some reason a lot of girls think that there has to be a ‘winner’ in the beauty stakes, but I believe beauty is far more than that.

Why on Earth do people think it’s ok to say things like “Curvy Girls Do It Better”? Better than who? What is it we do better exactly? I have friends who are naturally size zero. They don’t like hearing “real women have curves” they are real women. We are all ‘real women’.

Why, when people see the A-listers walking the red carpet at the Oscars, do they feel it’s appropriate to take to twitter and announce:

“Someone give her a sandwich!”

What is that? It certainly isn’t dietary advice. It’s actually none of your business to discuss any other woman’s body in a mocking, unsupportive way and these are often women who champion the rights of curvier women…yet when it comes to criticising a woman for being too thin equality seems to go out of the window.

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Another branch of this crazy faux-motivation is ‘Fitspriration’. To me, it’s completely uninspiring and yet another way for the media to capitalize on dividing women based on their body shape. I like exercise, but do I look like the bodies I see in those images? No. I’m guessing that unless you’re a fitness model it’s highly unlikely that you look like that either and the caption “Strong Is The New Skinny” does nothing for me. It appears to be another way of telling women that if you haven’t got a washboard stomach you’re a failure. I don’t buy it.

So, I can assure you, curvy girls don’t do anything ‘better’ but let me also say this: skinny girls don’t do anything better than you, either. Not because of their body shape. There might be girls who can swim better than you, sing better than you, or do math better than you- but I can almost guarantee that it has nothing to do with how much they weigh.

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I would be described as a ‘curvy girl’ but campaigns like “Say No To Size Zero” just make me feel plain awkward. That’s still sizeist. Still nasty. And still discrimination- no matter how cutely you package it.

Can we look beyond weight and shape? Love each other, applaud each other and stop judging each other? It creates such division when we hate on each other. Most people I know either hate their own bodies and wish they were skinnier/more toned/more curvy, or spend time judging other people for being a certain way. When someone is happy with their own body, they usually don’t feel the need to belittle someone else’s. It’s usually insecurity that leads people to point out the supposed ‘flaws’ in another person.

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  1. I think the sad fact is that women do judge each other based on how they look, whether they are a size 0 or a size 20; we make assumptions on why they look the way they look. Neither I nor you know why they are that size. I have a friend who has had two kids and is as skinny as anything and eats pretty much anything that the rest of my friends and myself eat. We all have our weight struggles whether we are skinny or fat or in between.

    I will freely admit that I am a plus size woman and until I was about 27, I was able to fit into a size 14. I am not excusing my weight gain (I moved away and gain a bunch of weight over the course of 5 and a half months and then was very depressed afterwards for a couple of years), but rather I try to maintain a relatively healthy lifestyle by exercising on a regular basis and by eating healthy.

  2. I totally agree! There is always some rift between two types of people and some people feel the need to validated by casting out the ideals of others and I see the aim for this is not only to promote positive body image for larger women (like myself) but also to discourage self-harm activities associated with poor body image and eating disorders. Unfortunately, I personally, have not seen anything like the No to Size Zero campaign make any positive change for anyone and usually, things like this are targeted at designer labels who make clothes to fit a smaller size and while many of those pieces may also look good on larger women, they feel that they look best on the models that they have chosen and if this is true from a designers standpoint, they deserve to display their work in the best manner possible. I agree that no one should feel ashamed of the way that they look and if they wish to change it, they should, but fitspiration blogs do nothing for me. I know that no matter how much I workout, I am not going to look like the women in the photos , not because I don’t think I could be the same size as her but because she’s not me. I am all for admiring beauty when you see it, but I think it’s important for people to realize that their beauty is just as great and you can’t have what everyone else has and that no one should expect for everyone to be a certain way. It’s ridiculous.

  3. Thank you so much! I wear a size 0, barely. I’m 5’0 and 85 pounds. People come up to me all the time and make comments about how I need to eat more and I look anorexic. Those comments hurt. I eat a lot but have a high metabolism so I can’t gain any weight. My mom always says she probably has the only house that steps off the scale and complains they lost weight. I’m glad there’s somebody out there that thinks us “super skinnies” are okay too!

    • I’m glad to hear this. I’m roughly your size, 90 pounds and 5’2 and I always had teachers calling home asking my parents if I eat properly. Teachers pulled me aside to ask if I had an eating disorder, and sometimes would pressure me into admitting it, even though I didn’t. It really hurts to have people constantly commenting on my size. People often mistaken me for a child, but I’m 21 years old. I have four sisters who are curvy and I love them to death, but they tend to put down my size as a way of making them feel better about theirs. I wish they made a campaign for teenage girls that emphasized loving yourself, instead of trying to convince women that size zero is the enemy, and no one looks like that.

  4. I agree with your thoughts on the “Say No To Size Zero” campaign – that is definitely sizeist. I think instead of “Say No To Size Zero”, she could have gone with something like “Say Yes To Beauty Diversity” or something. Simply by wording it more positively, to embrace all instead of negating some, the message would totally change.
    That being said, I do disagree with you on the “Strong Is The New Skinny” slogan. “Strong Is The New Skinny”, at least to me, is about functional fitness. It’s about getting your body healthy and fit and appreciating the amazing things it can do… regardless of size. It’s about accepting that if you are healthy, able to do the things you need and want to do for yourself (i.e. not needing to ask a guy to open that jar for you, or not having to avoid the stairs in favor of the elevator because of they way even one flight makes you huff and puff), and physically and mentally strong and confident, THAT is beautiful and it doesn’t matter whether you are a size zero or a size 20. The problem I have with it, and I think that this is where we would agree, is that the pictures the slogan is usually associated with generally appear to be the fitness instructors and/or marathon runners that not all of us aspire to be.

  5. I am naturally a size 0, and ever since middle school other women think it’s fine to come up to me and say things like: “you’re so skinny I hate you” and expect me to take that as some kind of sordid compliment. It isn’t. I have never figured out an appropriate response to that comment. It’s not like being skinny is making me more attractive than these women, there are many things I envy about their looks, but it wouldn’t be ok for me to walk up to another girl and say: “you’re blonde I hate you.” We all have different body issues, we probably all got bullied for something, life’s rough. But the difference in the way our society perceives comments like: “you could lose a few pounds” vs. “like, oh my god, eat a sandwich!” is kind of messed up.

  6. Really, it should be a say no to size zero, size two, size four, size anything. Those numbers mean nothing. They don’t even mean anything within one brand. We should go back to labeling clothes with real measurements. And for those of you think it’s impossible to be a size zero and be healthy, what world do you live in that a zero is small? I’m 5’4″ and 130 pounds and wear a zero in some pants. Just goes to show you how inaccurate the sizing is. My mom has an old pair of size 2 Calvin Klein shorts from the 70′s. I don’t even think they’d fit around my thigh.

  7. As much as I agree that discrimination due to body size is unfair I thought it was important to point out that this is a UK campaign. A size 0 in the UK is 2 sizes smaller than an American size 0.
    If you look past the slogan the campaign is not so much about clothing size as it is about modelling agencies encouraging its modals to loose weight to the point of becoming unhealthy. (based on BMI, and yes I am aware of its flaws)
    Yes it is wrong to say that you cannot model if you are a size 0 however, is it not also wrong for the media to promote what is essentially an unhealthy body image as the norm?
    If there where as many woman shown by media, in a positive light, at the other end of the spectrum I wouldn’t have so much of an issue but the fact remains that it is rare to see a modal or celebrity who would be classed as clinically obese.
    if the roles were reversed would people be criticising campaigns trying to stop women classed as obese from being (for many) a role modal? or would it be applauded for promoting a healthy lifestyle?

  8. I love this. I am not and have never really been my own definition of “Skinny”. I have friends that are, or used to be.
    It seems so easy for us to criticize people that are or have what we want. Why can’t we all keep opinions to ourselves or get to a point where we don’t think them! Our own self-confidence would rise if we didn’t think ugly things about others!
    I am beautiful and so are you, no matter your size or shape.

  9. Everyone should be loved no matter the size. People are beautiful. That’s it.

    • I agree

      If someone is superficial enough to ‘love’ only skinny women, then that is their problem. What you see with your eyes is only the outer layer of a person – for example, take a conker. Hard prickly skin on the outside, yet smooth on the inside. It’s about time people stopped judging others based solely on how they look and actually tried getting to know the person instead.

      Discriminating against anyone skinny or curvy, is still discriminating – and it’s that, that people need to abolish.

  10. I have never seen a naturally-sized zero woman in my life. Even the skinniest teenager I know has outgrown size zero before they grow up. Even the anorexic ones (and yes, I do know them). So I don’t think “no to size zero” is off base. Should we discriminate against skinny girls? Or fat ones? No, we shouldn’t. But we should encourage and put forth as the ideal any and all sizes considered healthy by doctors.

    • I’m naturally a size zero and very healthy, but luckily I’m short and haven’t caught too much hassle for just being who I am. My mother was also naturally a size zero until she had kids, but she’s 5’6” and was harassed through her teens and twenties about why she was so skinny and asked repeatedly if she had an eating disorder- and that’s just how she was built, and passed her physical with flying colors yearly. There ARE people who are naturally this thin, and your comment just exemplifies why this campaign is derogatory towards people who can’t help their thin size any more than those who can’t help that they’re naturally a 12. As you said, healthy comes in all sizes, and any doctor will tell you a general BMI scale isn’t the end-all word in what is healthy. So let’s celebrate ALL of them and encourage a celebration of our own natural beauty.

      • I think they are referring to models’ normal height of 5’10 or so. A size 0 on someone 5′ tall is probably a regular occurrence. A size 0 on someone almost 6′ tall is not natural. I am 5’10 and a size 10/12, and I am told that I am skinny.

    • natural size zero, as my sister, as my mother’s sisters and as my dad’s sisters as as many many of my cousins on both sides of the family.

  11. To all the skinny girls: I’m very sorry if you were bullied; no one deserves that. But people are infinitely more tolerant of underweight people than of girls who tend towards the other end of the spectrum. In my experience, people don’t usually make assumptions about your character when you’re underweight, as they might when you are fat: lazy, greedy, selfish, lacking in self-control, et cetera. Also, the abundance of very slender models has caused the general perception of “fat” to encompass even more girls — healthy girls. People have been against fat people for years. Now that bigger women are gaining more defenders, some of them a little over-zealous; we need to unite, not divide. I don’t like the, “Dogs prefer bones” slogan anymore than you do, it’s very wrong. But that being said, I think the Say No to Size Zero campaign is PERFECTLY justified!! Most women are NOT size zero. The average woman is thicker, pear-shaped, and heavier through the hips and thighs, but how many models do you see like this? Skinny is a body-type. Curvy is a body-type. But the reality is that the runways are populated predominately with the former, which makes up a very small portion of women! Heavier women are incredibly under-represented, for sure. And it really isn’t fair!!

    I think size 0 ought to be abolished altogether, and rebranded as something different, purely for the psychological implications — girls are being taught to aspire to become nothing. Just picture a man asking for anything in a size 0.

    • i think you are insane, there is no way say no to the size zero can be justified, there is nothing wrong with using skinny models on the runway it is mainly because the show off the lines of the clothes better than someone with a bunch of chunks and bumps no one is saying that they are a standard for beauty; That being said i love being a size zero, it is the way i was meant to be by nature and i am sick of fat girls skinny shaming me, even if i am a culinary student that spends most of the time eating to them i say: ME BEING TOO SKINNY OR HAVING A BOYISH FIGURE DOES NOT CHANGE THE FACT YOU NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT.

      • This is extremely offensive, full of hate and bitterness, and riddled with unhealthy assumptions. Look, I’m truly sorry that you’ve been skinny-shamed! No one deserves those kind of cruel insults! I grew up chubby my entire life and was ridiculed and bullied from the time I was five all the way through the end of high school. I know what it’s like to be mocked and constantly insulted and I don’t doubt for a second that your pain was any less than mine. Like I said, I’m sorry that you, me, and so many others have to go through experiences like that.

        That being said, it’s still a fact that being a little underweight is much more socially acceptable in this culture than being a little overweight is. The skinny shaming is simply a response to the fat shaming that has gone on for years (albeit a wrong, cruel, and unhealthy response, but still a response). However, your attitude in response to your skinny shaming exudes wrong, cruel, and unhealthy assumptions as well. Like your statement that models on the runway NEED to be a size zero because otherwise the “chunks and bumps” won’t make the “clothes look good”? First of all, a size zero on an average 5’10″ model is not even a healthy BMI. And your statement implies that any model (who’s going to be tall, because all models are tall) can’t be ANY BIGGER than a size zero or else her “chunks and bumps” will make the clothes look bad and probably disgusting and people won’t want to buy the clothes. Do you even realize the sick and unhealthy assumptions your statement (and clearly your belief as well) rests on? It rests on the assumption that any woman with a HEALTHY BMI has “chunks and bumps” that look unappealing in clothes and that a woman needs to starve herself and go days without even drinking water (as Victoria’s Secret Models do, you can even look this up!) in order to look “better” in clothes. Now you tell me, how is this a healthy perception??

        I think that you’re hurt, angry, and bitter that you’ve been skinny shamed and you’re not reacting to it in a kind and healthy manner. Just like the fat girls who’ve been fat shamed and now want to bash skinny girls, you’ve been skinny shamed and now feel the need to bash those fat girls. Your reaction is just as unhealthy and cruel as theirs. Like I said, I grew up chubby my entire life and was bullied for years because of it, but I don’t use those experiences to belittle or shame others. I don’t hate the skinny girls who made me cry every day for years. Instead, I used those experiences for good. I lost the extra weight and now I look for and appreciate beauty and kindness in everyone, no matter their size, shape, or appearance. And I absolutely abhor all forms of bullying and cruelty. I suggest you consider taking a similar approach in response.

      • And this comment isn’t shaming anyone? If you’re so proud of your size, why do you feel the need to then shame others for theirs? You are perpetuating the problem you so vehemently refuted.

  12. Hear, hear! :) couldn’t have put it better myself. It’s about time women realised that discriminating against another person based on size or shape, whether it is because they are slim or curvy, is judgemental, emotionally damaging and just plain old rude. I wish size and weight weren’t an issue for any of us, and I wish we weren’t constantly subjected to the media and other men/women telling us what is attractive and what isn’t!

  13. Ladies, ladies — until we say “enough is enough”, there will always been campaigns like this. I don’t care if you are slim, fat, short, tall, lesbian, straight, etc. All women are majestic fucking creatures that need to be respected. So, why not end this with, “We honestly don’t care.” Once you stop caring what other people think, you accept yourself. I’m a size 22 and I approve this message.

  14. A few days ago, a crazed woman nearly hit me with her car and swerved around me. I had to turn my brights on to see (since her brights nearly blinded me), and she stopped in the middle of the road, waited until I got in front of her, and proceeded to chase me for about ten minutes. When I stopped to call 9/11, she called me a fat bitch. I’ve been called a fat ass when buying salads at the grocery store. A group of nail techs once puffed out their cheeks and imitated the way I walk, and there was nothing I could do, because I was already ten minutes into my pedicure.

    My point? I struggle to empathize with skinny girls who are bullied, because I am still subjected to such much hate, all from skinny girls. Skinny girls feel bullied by big girls, and we feel bullied by skinny girls. I think the “When did this, because sexier than this?” meme is disgusting, and I think thin bodies are beautiful. I’m not on the “Curvy Girls Do It Better” bandwagon; even though I acknowledge “curvy” girls can be beautiful, I hate my body, and any body over a size 18 doesn’t look particularly healthy to me. That said, and I must stress this, the “Say No to Size Zero” campaign isn’t something that should upset anyone, because it’s not about women overall. It’s about models. A plus-sized woman doesn’t want to see a woman who is a size zero modeling clothes that are supposedly made for her. Models at Torrid and ACOS are only “plus-sized” because they are tall. Most of them *are* skinny. I think it’s a good thing to see a variety of sizes when it comes to models. The “Say No to Size Zero” movement isn’t about hate toward skinny girls.

    I have noticed a lot of articles here have, of late, vaguely shamed the subjects they claim to support. (The bearded lady comes to mind.) I understand you don’t want to see hate toward thin girls, but this article doesn’t read from the point of view of someone who is accepting of all sizes. I am a size 26. I have a lot of weight to lose, and I’m trying to say “Yes to Health,” but society is so sizest that I cannot even go to a gym. Would you say my size is okay? I doubt it, but you say there is nothing wrong with a size 0. I just have trouble believing anyone who puts down a movement that encourages plus-sized models for plus-sized fashion is truly accepting of all sizes.

  15. I wish men would read these kinds of articles……instead of focusing on how women tear down other women about their size, we should be asking why we care so much. Could it be because if we aren’t in the category of “sexually attractive” created by the male gaze then we feel LESS than confident? As young girls/teenagers we are surrounded by young boys/teenagers who are discovering the female image standard of magazines and movies and video games. They begin to judge all of the female images around them on that standard. And thus, we begin to realize that if we are closer to that standard, we are “acceptable” to the boys. We get their attention and when we don’t meet that standard, they show their disapproval and disappointment by calling us names or bullying or ignoring. We see all of this and in an effort to get in line with the males and have them accept us as potential romantic interests—-we start to bash each other too. Because we’ve realized that being attractive to boys equals teenage societal power. And it stays with us for the rest of our lives. Not matter how much we ignore it or refrain from it, the whole thing still happens around us and affects us in some way. Even when we are comfortable in our own skins, if we don’t meet the standard of the male gaze, we are seen as less than human. Even when we don’t care about—–its still happens.

  16. Reality check here: campaigns like this are being used as a club against women who are naturally slender, aka skinny. I’ve been slender (skinny) all my life and when I was younger I was brought to tears by the hateful comments about my size. I have a medical condition (not anorexia or bulimia) that makes it nearly impossible to gain weight, no matter how much I eat. Which is really nobody else’s business, I don’t owe anybody an explanation . But if I had a buck for every time somebody has said “Go eat a cheeseburger” I’d never have to work another day in my life. I eat enough to satisfy my hunger, anything more would just be a waste of food. And I take a list of medication as long as your arm, trying to help my body process what I do eat properly.

    But self-righteous people can’t leave me alone, it’s considered socially acceptable to hate and discriminate against slender (skinny) people. Campaigns like Dove’s “Real women are curvy” is an insult to every woman who is slender. I feel it is hateful and painful in it’s intent, which is to denigrate anybody that isn’t “curvy”. I’m a “real woman”, my doctor says so. But these campaigns try to make us somehow less than women, some sort of subspecies that don’t deserve being treated in a dignified manner.

    I boycott any corporation that supports and endorses this kind of hatred, such as Unilever, the owners of the Dove brand; and encourage others to do the same. Just say no to Dove.

    • Reality check here: the “Say No to Size Zero” is a movement that supports plus-sized models for plus-sized fashion. End of. I’m sorry you were bullied, but all big girls don’t think you should eat something, and we are not corporations that shame slender girls. Plus, it isn’t socially acceptable to discriminate against slender girls. I find it is the opposite: any time someone hates on Keira Knightley, posters swoop in and call that person a fat ass.

      Just, stop. You’re being hateful. Skinny girls are beautiful. Don’t let someone who tells you otherwise turn you into someone who hates and shames a body positive movement.

  17. No one should have to defend or feel bad about their size, whether it’s a size 0 or a size 14. They’re just numbers! I worked in women’s clothing for many years and was shocked at how seriously some women take these numbers, like the actual number defined who they were. It’s time we move beyond the number and onto what really matters…the ATTITUDE.

  18. AMEN!! Recently I saw a post showing Victoria Secret Models [as the 'skinny unhealthy' models] and Dawn Soap models [as the 'real women' models]. So many accusations of the thin ones looking unhealthy and ribs showing… I didn’t see that. I saw two groups of people.

    I know models, thin and curvy. People are people, and to define them all like that is wrong. To imply one is better, is to put all at risk. The only ones ‘wrong’, are when you take things too far. Curvy isn’t bad, but it can be unhealthy. Thin isn’t bad, but it too can be unhealthy.

  19. In freshman year, my friend told me I needed to start eating. I mean seriously, if I wasn’t doing it before, I wouldn’t have made it that far anyways. People were gossiping about me saying I was anorexic or bulimec whatever.

    I told her, as long as I know I’m not, and you know I’m not, I do not give a fuck what they say. Girls like that only want something to talk about to pass the time. They don’t genuinely care if you’re healthy, you’re just an amusement to them.

    Those rumors quickly dispelled after lunch time. I eat like a boss and I eat to my fill and I’m done. I’m probably one of the few who are happily fed with what is considered the right proportions. When people buy you food and you can only eat half of it because America is bent on selling the most that they possibly can, you feel bad because you wasted some of their money. You feel like you shouldn’t eat out when people offer to take you. You feel like, why should I get that $10 of food that I love when I can’t eat it all.

    But then you realize it’s not your fault, it’s societies for telling you you’re not eating enough because the ones selling the food at the top of the economic chain want you to be fat and buy lots of food. That’s even more money for them. My bf buys me food when we’re out and about. I’ll eat most of it, but there’s a little left and I can feel those judmental eyes. I remind him of the absurd proportions and he lets it go.

    If I try to eat it all after I’m full, I feel like I’m going to throw up as I’m trying to chew it all up and get it down.

    To all the naturally thin girls, NEVER let someone tell you YOU NEED TO EAT!!! I mean honestly, if we weren’t eating before we would have died. Don’t let some girl tell you that you’re not REAL, because apparently real women are curvy. Real women are the ones that accept themselves for who they are and others for who they are.

  20. I coooompletely agree. And I’m a fat girl. Okay, “curvy”. Whatever. I’m fat. It’s a descriptor, not an insult! Discriminating and/or excluding a woman for having a thin body isn’t fair and it’s counter-productive to a message of equality and respect. Saying “no” to someone’s dress size?! Huh?? Now, there is the issue of ‘thin privilege’–the fact that thin people, overall, don’t have to deal with many of the things that fat people deal with. Yes, I know many naturally thin women who have been wrongly accused of having an eating disorder, and that’s horrible. However, ‘thin’ has always been more socially desirable than ‘fat’. But that’s neither here nor there. Bottom line is, this campaign needs to take the focus away from rejecting one dress size in favor of another, and put the focus on a call for equal treatment of all women, regardless of their dress sizes!!!