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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  • Micaela Kauffman

    I am 5’7″ and 100 lbs. I’m on thyroid medication, I’ve tried changing my diet, but nothing has been able to make me gain weight. Believe me I’d love to gain 10 or 15 lbs. It’s wrong to shame anyone for their size, regardless of if you think they are healthy or not. If someone has an eating disorder, they need professional help, not you making them feel embarrassed about it.

  • Szimi

    Lastly, it’s true that people tend to be more accepting of yhose who are very thin. At least from my experience. They are more likely to attribute the skinniness to genetics or smoking (! Lol) than in the case if overweight people. I’ve never heard of a case where someone didn’t get hired because they were too skinny whereas someone i know didn’t get the job at a souvenir store because they were overweight and the manager was worried that she would knock things off the shelves with her boobs and belly. Seriously. This article is pretty old but i wanted to express my opinion, i have a voice and i want to use it.

  • Szimi

    And if you want to change something you should be able to do it without being judged and do it for yourself. I struggle with mu weight, and yes i envy those who are genetically slender because i put on weight easily. I want to lose weight because i want to be able to run more than just a few meters without feeling my lungs burn and want to climb stairs without losing my breath. I also want to be able to shop for clothes more easily without serching for the largest size which is usually sold out. And i want to keep a pair of jeans for more than 3 months because they’re rubbing at my thighs and ripping apart. I want to be able ro wear skirts and dresses without tights and i want to look better in clother. I want theae thing for myself not because i want to please someone.

  • Szimi

    Beauty ideals differ from brand to brand. Of course Victoria’s secret has models with big boobs, small waists and curvy hips because they make lingerie and those shapes emphasize the prodicts. Other designers pit their clothes on women with small boobs and thin figure because that’s what suits the dress. Defining beauty/body ideals based on models os useless. It’s their job. And it’s a physical job based on requirement and offer.
    On the shaming part. Thin girls fatshamed bigger girls. Bigger girls responded by skinny shaming thinner girls instead of promoting that everyone’s body is ok. Like the articles said, there is no one winner. Both “sides” are right and wrong. If a bigger girl wants to lose weight it’s her decision but she shouldn’t be told or forced to just as a thin girl shouldn’t be told to eat more or gain weight. Like essiebutton said, everyone is hot! Everyone should accept their own body and others’ as well. If you like the way you are you shouldn’t feel like something’s wrong wih you because of someone’s opinion.

  • Andi Kttn

    My understanding of plus-size must be incorrect somewhere. When the hell did size 12 become plus sized!? I am a size 16/XL and still see photoshopped pictures of this “plus size model” everywhere. They are not accepting plus sized women, they are still editing it to their liking!

  • Sasha

    Um, size zeros can be “curvy” too. The term curvy refers to the shape of your body – having a larger bust and hip and a smaller waist. You can be curvy at any weight and you can be shapeless at any weight. You can be shapeless because you are too skinny – and your bust and hip do not have enough fat on them – or you can be shapeless because you are too overweight (and your belly has expanded so that it is as large or larger than you bust and hip).

  • Marnie Aagard

    I’m a size zero and I’m 99% healthy. I don’t really think size matters because what matters is on the inside. No matter how small or large you are, people will still love you the same.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=97900401 Melissa Wiebe

    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.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=717779438 Chaniqua Crook

    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.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1385488118 Heather Hall

    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!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=533485952 Nancy Walsh

      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.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1546236577 Jessica Novak

    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.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1480650031 Josephine Patané

    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.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=58803910 Kelli Jackson Broers

    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.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=527665076 Helen Williams

    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?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=46201509 April Bruhl

    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.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000735197095 Amanda Trent

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

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=798560410 Stu Mosby

      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.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1601297875 Elizabeth Jones Crawford

    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.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=7909772 Kialyn Beth

      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.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1195200621 Lisa Fay Carlisle

        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.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000983622381 Carolina Cornejo

      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.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000404343583 Mary Dryer

    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.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000983622381 Carolina Cornejo

      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.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=60607584 Rose Eda

        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.

        • Gisselle Eliana Tirsé

          yet most of the population of the united states is overweight? being over weight is definitely just as acceptable. maybe not is you are obese or morbidly obese, but it is. i know so many naturally thin girls being told they have eating disorders, are anorexic or that they have some fort of problem with them because they dont have curves or hardly any fat. if thinner girls are portrayed in fashion it doesnt mean that they are the standard for beauty. it just means that is what designers think would look best for their fashions. thats why there are many plus sized models too with plus sized fashion clothes.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1145670625 Natalie Elizabeth Coleman

        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.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=537401985 Jessica Gibson

    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!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=41115532 Katherine Christine Hager

    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.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=513791729 Christina Konze

      Yes, majestic effing creatures we are! That is it! Now everybody play nice

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