Monday, May 19, 2008

Vanity Sizing Smells Fishy **Update below

While reading enc’s provocative post about vanity sizes—how size 4 can ironically be considered a “plus” size—I began to reflect on the other end of the size spectrum: the women who wear a size zero.

A size 0 means, quite literally, that the woman doesn’t “matter”—or materialize; there’s nothing to clothe.

I wonder how this can be a point of pride, to have a body that does not matter. For if one does not matter physically, then one does not matter socially, professionally, politically, either.

To be a zero is a double-edged sword: first, there’s the dubiously positive message that the woman’s body is fashionably good; it’s small and slender.

But there’s the flip side too: if one’s body is a zero, then what becomes of the person? Does she have any cultural weight? Or does her bodily lack also negate her presence and authority?

Philosophical dilemmas aside, it must be difficult to clothe a size 0 body. Where does the woman purchase her clothes? In the teen department?

And if so, what does that say about her status as a woman? She’s become culturally diminished once more; whereas her age and experience indicate she’s an adult, vanity sizes tell her she’s a child.

I once knew a man who wanted to design underwear for women. His “brilliant” twist was that they would be in the shape of diapers. He thought they’d be cute; I see nothing appealing about infantilizing women.

To be a “zero,” a “nought,” a “nothing,” stunts women’s personal and professional growth. On a scale of 1 through 10, I rate vanity sizing a big, fat zero.

Update: Check out this link for a lad's take on size Zero!


Thumbelina Fashionista said...

I found your post enlightening. I used to be a 0, and then I hit another decade and became a 2. In NYC, I find that a size 0 sells out fast--and at some point I realized that if I lost any more weight, I wouldn't have anything to wear. In some ways, being a 2 is easier. But instead of seeing it as dressing nothing, most women see a 0 as ideal--0 fat, 0 calories. Of course, that oversimplifies the body and does call into question what most women experience: double digit sizes. The shaming that is involved in that is ridiculous. I personally prefer European sizes, which are actual measurements by inches, rather than by vanity.

Cupcakes and Cashmere said...

What an insightful, refreshing post! This reminds me very much of my days from an all women's college :) I definitely agree with the things you say and feel as though in most cases, women that wear a size 0 crave that feeling of having as little impact as possible. I, too, struggle with the same issues, always wanting to feel small and tiny, but only in regards to my size, and not impact on society.

enc said...

Agreed, Zero is zero. And what is a girl supposed to do when the sizes shift up again, and zero is magically too big? What size does she become then? Minus Zero?

Nice job on this one, miss cav. I'm so glad you wrote this, pointing out an angle that needed to be presented.

Kelly said...

enc - now we're reaching into double and triple zeros. It's all ridiculous.