I constantly see my newsfeed filled with images of curvy women with captions like “Curves, because no one wants to cuddle a stick”. Wait a minute — isn’t that just as hurtful to thin women as the “Eat Less” t-shirt released by Urban Outfitters just last year?
As a naturally petite woman, I feel very offended by both of these examples. On the one hand, no one will want to cuddle me because I’m too thin; and on the other hand, I must be unhealthy because I am a size zero. These statements are simply not true. I am healthy and happy with my body; I don’t hate or discriminate against women who aren’t a size zero. I encourage everyone to feel good in their own skin, and to stop allowing messages like these make anyone decide to eat more or less during their next meal.
Sophia Bush, actress from “One Tree Hill”, released an open letter to Urban Outfitters in her blog explaining the disgust she felt and her plans to boycott the company as a response to the “Eat Less” shirt. Bush stated in her letter that the shirt promoted anorexia and other eating disorders. Her character on One Tree Hill was a fashion designer who launched a campaign against the fashion industry called “0 is not a size”. By even saying the words “0 is not a size” we are excluding an entire group of women who may naturally be a size zero, and be healthy in it.
Model Katie Green lost her contract with Wonderbra after refusing to lose weight, as she says on her website katiegreenofficial.com. Good for her, right? Then she launched a petition to ban all models from the catwalk with a BMI less than 18.5 or who wear a size zero. Wait — what? She was fired for her size, and retaliates with a petition to have other models banned from any potential job for being what she considers “too” thin. While I admire her sense of duty and response to what she saw to be a call to action, campaigns of this nature are just as harmful to the esteem of thin women as the rejection of size 12 models can be to real women who wear a size 12.
Once again, we see the same hate and misdirected message pointed at women of a specific body type. Being a size zero shouldn’t be anyone’s goal unless it would be healthy for their body. Aerie is taking a step towards promoting positive body image by launching their Spring 2014 collection with real women as models, and not retouching their photographs. That is promotion of women in a positive way. They are not bashing any body type in promoting their product this way.
Sending the message that a pants size doesn’t dictate a woman’s beauty or self-worth is a positive message. But to say that zero is not a valid clothing size is outrageous. Just because the prejudice is directed the other way doesn’t make it any less harmful to the body image in women that these people claim to want to protect.
While I agree that the entire world shouldn’t strive to be a size zero or have Barbie-like waistlines, thin women shouldn’t feel ashamed of their bodies.
Healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes. That’s the message I want given to my future daughters and granddaughters. The number on the tag of your jeans should only let you know which pair to pick up next time you shop. Not that you’re not beautiful. Not that you’re wrong for being yourself.