Saying No To The Say No To Size Zero Campaign

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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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=537228295 Katey Hart

    This is exactly what i have been thinking recently. Great article!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=641044929 Laurie Sanders

      Thank you! :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553741198 Bethany Dean

    Amen, sister! This is so true!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=746842829 Malin Soderlund

    I’m so tired of women always being reduced to their bodies. It’s about time we get appreciated for our minds and awesome personalities instead! Love this!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=646865407 Fernanda Mariscotti

    So true. These campaigns are misleading. I think it’s all in the “recent” marketing strategy of trying to befriend the consumer. Like Oreo and Starbucks “coming out” to support LGB folks, I’m too skeptic to believe it’s a coincidence Starbucks’ revenues having increased since. No company is your friend. Then again, I kind of understand the need to see yourself represented on TV and in magazines…. something to do with acceptance and visibility.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1400640080 Meaghan Lanier

    As someone who has always been overweight and who is engaged in fitness and health now to combat that issue, I totally agree with you. I’m not going to lie – when I see extremely skinny chicks, I feel a twinge of judgment or jealousy, but I let it pass and know that that is my own insecurities about my body talking, not honest truth. I knew several girls in high-school who couldn’t gained weight if they tried. And actually the guy I’m dating now is the same way. I guess I still have some judgment – it seems totally unfair that the skinny chick I saw at Wal-Mart yesterday can buy all the junk food I saw in her cart and stay skinny, but, you know, she didn’t choose the cards she was dealt. It’s lucky for her that she has those sorts of genetics and she probably deals with other problems. She may not even like her body even though I thought it looked great. And I think that’s the key – how someone looks on the outside is not reflective of how they feel and think on the inside. Just because we harbor our own biases and opinions about body shape and fitness does not mean we need to place those judgments upon others. We are all “real” women if we identify as women, regardless of our body shape or size and we should be supportive of one another rather than bringing each other down.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=678270359 Laura Woodhead

      I like this comment even more than I liked this article. All the best to you in your new health/fitness regiment. Staying active and eating healthy is so hard, and takes a lot of will power. Even being skinny and eating unhealthy and not being active takes a toll on your mental and physical health.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=540050362 Hilary June

    I think the say no to size zero campaign is targeting the unhealthily skinny girls. I think it should be targeting the agencies and brands and designers who KNOW that their models starve, eat cotton balls, vomit, use drugs, and do all sorts of unbelievable things to keep their weight down. They are told to do it. All models are told to lose weight, the people telling them don’t care how they do it. Let’s not target the models who are just trying to earn a living … target the people running magazines, designing ads and campaigns.
    But I do understand where this campaign is coming from and props to them for going against “the norm”.

    But semi-unrelatedly, I happen to think it is the absolute rudest thing somebody can do to somebody else, comment on their body. If it is a “positive” comment or not, it is just completely rude. My biggest pet peeve. Um. Excuse me, why do you think it is a) appropriate b) necessary c) wanted d) your business to tell me “You’re so skinny! You look great girliee!!!”
    Why does anybody care what anybody elses body looks like? (Maybe if you’re so skinny/obese you are obviously going to kill yourself if you continue ie. if it’s a health thing, coming from a friend, from a place of concern not judgement) I know my first thought when I look at another women usually does not have to do with her body … is that just me?
    Thanks for the article!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=34407765 Brooke Randolph

    Great article! I’ve been thinking about blogging on this topic lately. As a skinny girl, I feel like maybe my size has been discriminated against as of late. We should not be reduced to our body image. Actually, as we women we should not be “reduced” to anything, but empowered.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1150110276 Melissa Condon

    Thank you so much for this article. As a naturally slim woman who eats four meals a day and has actually been told by someone to “eat a sandwich,” I am incredibly offended by the idea that a size zero is not a real woman and not a thing of beauty. Beauty truly does come from inside, from the confidence that one displays in oneself. If a woman is truly too small for her frame, that is her own personal problem to deal with and no one has the right to hassle her. Instead of targeting slim women, let’s target the idea that any one shape or size is the definition of beautiful. Instead of tearing down women of other sizes, let’s unite and tear down the idea beauty based on size.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=507388189 Sophie Sheldrick

    Fantastic article!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=507388189 Sophie Sheldrick

    Fantastic article!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=709225279 Lucy Jakubecz

    kind of adore this

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=38900828 Emily Stallings

    I’m a size 12, and one of my best friends is a size 0. Sure, she may get hit on by guys a lot more, but why can’t BOTH our bodies be beautiful? I agree that it’s hard to be curvier in a skinny world, but we can’t discriminate against others simply because WE are being discriminated against. That’s the complete opposite of what women should be trying to achieve. The aim should be to accept and appreciate ALL women, not some over others.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=641044929 Laurie Sanders

      Thank you Emily. That is my point completely. There is nothing to be gained by insulting other women’s body types whether curvy or slim.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=517655182 Katie Victoria Braund

    This is a fairly well rounded article. I think one thing that has been missed is what we SHOULD be saying, which, instead of NO to body sizes, is YES to health. That’s what it’s all about really, a skinny girl can be as healthy or as unhealthy as a curvy girl. Health is about looking after yourself, eating well so you can have a happy fruitful life. If eating healthy results in your metabolism giving you a slightly skinnier or curvier body than average, who cares? You’re healthy, and that’s what matters.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1038315420 Amandar Wallar

    I agree with this article SO MUCH!

    One thing though; I really love the slogan “Strong is the new Skinny”, just not the limited range of females used to promote it. Of course, fitness models try very hard to attain their physique, but I would love to see more representation of literally strong girls, not just bodybuilder/cut girls. Crossfit, anyone? http://girlswhodocrossfit.tumblr.com/
    It’s all about health and strength, not body shape. :) Of course, admiring someone for their musculature/physique/shape/frame is a natural human inclination. But that not what this all should be ABOUT. It’s about pushing yourself and getting better everyday.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=29616209 Kassie McCright

    I guess I’m the only one that thinks this is stupid. Now we have to feel bad because some people are skinny? No. People who are not size zeros are constantly made to feel fat and gross and now the skinny people are getting offended? I think this is ridiculous. Maybe if stuff like this wouldn’t make every women feel like there is something wrong with them then there wouldn’t be a problem.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=598927526 Melissa Grace Adams

      I agree.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=777568337 Alyse BeastMode McKee

      You do know lean and skinny girls get made fun of just as much right? I’m a lightweight, I wouldn’t call myself skinny, but heavier girls are always telling me I can’t complain. Or I don’t know what it’s like to have [insert body image]. Yeah I had kids too, I can complain about the dreaded pooch too.
      And as a teen I was a called a boy, because I was skinny and wasn’t a busty girl. So maybe look around you. Heavy girls aren’t the only ones taking heat.
      I like this article. It outlines exactly what needs to be said. Beauty isn’t based on size. Intelligence is not based on what you look like. And doing anything better than another person is not based on your weight. [Unless I guess you’re trying to fly by a bundle of helium balloons or you live in real cold climates where a little more bodyfat makes you feel healthier.]

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=804715327 Kaitlin Kellogg

        I can recognize that there are struggles and comments made about thin and slim girls and of course they are hurtful, but the purpose of the say no to size 0 campaign is just trying to recognize that there shouldn’t be the IDEAL size 0. The pressure to be a certain way, whether it to be more or less slim is wrong, but the pressure to become the size 0 is more prevalent in society which I think the campaign is hoping to overcome

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=641044929 Laurie Sanders

          I hear you, I just think that such a high-profile campaign should have thought a lot more carefully about the message they are sending. I believe there are positive ways to encourage the media to use models of all body shapes…but “Say No To Size 0″ just widens the divide between women based on weight/size.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=669847060 Natasha Wright

      No one asked you to feel bad because people are skinny. It’s the idea that no-one should feel bad about themselves for their weight, no matter what their weight is. It’s not my fault that I’m naturally slim, and it’s not another person’s fault for being naturally curvy. Why should either end of the scale be discriminated? ‘Saying no’ to certain sizes, shapes and weights is discrimination, regardless of which size, shape and weight it’s aimed at, and bullying can affect both sides too.
      Even those with eating disorders – it can’t help someone with such low self-esteem and self-confidence to be told we’re now ‘saying no’ to their size and shape. Yes, we should do everything to prevent and fight eating disorders, but this brutal media attack against skinny people surely isn’t the way to go about it.
      The point is, we should accept everyone of all shapes and sizes for what they are and how they feel comfortable. Us women should stick together and fight this ridiculous discrimination. The most important thing is that we’re healthy and happy in our bodies.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=581384342 Hayley Louise Butterworth

      I’m all for campaigns to make people realise that you don’t have to be skinny to be happy but I think that you need to realise that thin girls are judged by their size too. I’ve been called names etc for being “too skinny”, I’m naturally a size 6 (UK) and sometimes even size 6 is too big depending on what store I buy my clothes from; I’ve been called names, people have ordered extra food for me and tried to ‘feed me up’ by force. and I’ve received messages saying “no one likes skinny girls, skinny girls aren’t real women”. Why is it not okay to send offensive messages to ‘bigger girls’ but okay to send them to smaller girls.

      Saying that, I don’t think this campaign is discriminating against skinny girls and I’m certainly not offended by it. I don’t see this as an “anti-skinny” ad, I see it as a “don’t starve yourself, don’t become unhealthy, you’re lovely the way you are” ad.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=623555639 Maddy Tighe

    Kinda glosses over the unhealthy aspects of both extremes of being skinny and big, but I think the underlying message of “leave my body the f*ck alone and focus on my brain” message works. You teach a girl or a guy that what your body looks like isn’t important, but how you treat your body is, that would be a serious victory.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=598927526 Melissa Grace Adams

    I believe that this was supposed to be toward the “unhealthy skinny” girls out there, because I originally saw this on Tumblr, and Tumblr has a lot of pro-anorexic blogs out there and I am sure someone was just trying to make a point.

    But point is, no one should judge you by your shape and size, and the media shouldn’t focus on it either. (I am 300 lbs and trying to become Fit & Slim in a healthy way).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=682480315 Leah Morehead

    This article is great! Whatever your natural shape is (as long as it is healthy for you) IS BEAUTIFUL! We need to stop beating up on each other to make ourselves feel better and start realizing that we are all women, united, strong, and beautiful!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1310431250 Kelsey Tupper

    I think this is a good point, however I think she MISSED the point of the add represented. I agree – say no to size 0 is a terrible way to get a point across because not all size 0 women are that way because of eating disorders, self esteem issues, etc etc. Some women are just small!! I myself am a proud size 8-10 and it took a year of hard work to get me here. I could NEVER be a size 0 even if I dropped another 50lbs. My body just doesn’t work that way. In terms of the actual slogan used, I agree and dislike it as well. However, the picture of the models is maddening. Victoria’s Secret models are notoriously starving and doing horrible things to their bodies to look the way they do. To put them on a picture and write “Love My Body” is just wrong. They probably do love their bodies, but that doesn’t mean they look the way they do because they were born small. The things they do to their bodies is just wrong, so to put them up there and then add a quote basically saying “love how you look” is just…it isn’t ok! The Dove ladies however are workin’ it. Love it and love them.

    I agree with the frustration that goes with discriminating against smaller women because it’s wrong, just like it’s wrong to discriminate against bigger women. However, the add itself is sort of ridiculous. We’re all women, despite our sizes, and we all need to stand up for one another. We aren’t our enemies, ladies. Let’s save the anger and hate for men, who REALLY deserve it (kidding!! sort of…haha)!!!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=517479553 Micayla Bussieres

      I think you have an unclear view of what the Victoria Secret Models do in terms of staying in shape. While in the past most models did have to do some unhealthy things in order to maintain the weight they were told was acceptable, now it is very different. They aren’t doing “horrible things”, they are working out to stay in shape, which is incredibly healthy of them. They even have a youtube channel to show others how to do the work outs that they do. The models in that victoria secret photo are all naturally thin, so the fact that you are saying they are doing it in a horrible way is completely false. As a former fashion design student who is still very informed about the fashion world, I completely agree with this article.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=756835933 Caro García Roldán

    As long as someone is healthy I think it’s okay the way they look.

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