Monday, October 29, 2007

The Size Zero Cult?

Who would have thought that zero would have such a powerful impact on the world today, especially women. What is the allure, almost cult like obsession to become a size zero? I only just found out that there is a double zero?!?!

Zero is the ideal status symbol, fueled by a world in which skinny celebrities and models fit right in, where coffee, cigarettes and drugs replace food and you can order a plate of “skinny” sushi – sans rice.

Size Zero is a women’s clothing size in the US system equivalent to a UK size 4, with a waist measurement of a tiny 23 inches, the average girth of an 8 year old girl! If you have thighs that come in more than 34 inches and you have a bust greater than 32 inches you are fat according to their standards.

I have watched America’s Next Top Model and seen girls who are already stick thin be reduced to tears when being lambasted for having the audacity to have a whopping 36-inch hip measurement and told to go on a diet and get into shape. These girls are willing to do anything to squeeze into a pair of jeans with the magic number ‘0’ on the label, no matter the side effects. Experts say that being this thin can lead to loss of periods, hair falling out, dry skin and even thinning bones. Anything to walk the catwalk!

This size zero obsession is not only prevalent in the US but it is a worldwide epidemic. Stores are stocking more size zero clothing because zero is seen as the ideal and only acceptable size today. And if that’s not enough some blink-and-you’ll-miss-them women, some have become so thin that they can squish into the new double zero category, including Desperate Housewives’ minx Eva Longoria.

As the media industry idolizes ever tinier starlets, health experts warn that the super-skeletal trend is an eating disorder time bomb. The numerous ‘diets’, diet pills and miracle products that promise to make you into a stick thin model are empty promises. Not only don’t they work but it more often times than not leads to some sort of eating disorder.

More than 60 per cent of teenage girls use some sort of unhealthy method of weight control. These numbers are frightening and they tell us that we need to help our girls. We need to make them feel better about themselves, not to buy into the lie that the media is feeding to them. We need to teach them to eat healthy and avoid unhealthy weight control behavior. Ultimately, people with eating disorders look to skinny role-models for inspiration, and they have never had so many images to motivate them.

So what do we do? We start by making a stand against the lies bombarding us. We stop buying and looking at magazines and shows that promote the size zero mentality, the ‘you have to do anything to be a zero.’ We teach them beauty starts on the inside and shines through to the outside. Beauty does not have a predetermined size, beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. From the petite to the plus size, we are all beautiful and don’t have to fit into a mould that tells us what size every part of our anatomy should be. We teach them to eat healthy and exercise. we teach them that they can and do look good no matter their size. And most importantly we teach them to love themselves and be… women.