The size zero heroes

They must be heroes. How else does one squeeze themselves into size zero jeans and still manage to breathe, smile and bend over? ESPECIALLY after having children. No matter how much weight you lose, there’s still skin, right? RIGHT??
I won’t lie. I am smaller now than I was before I fell pregnant and the same thing happened after having my daughter six years ago. That’s just me. That’s how I know that people lose weight and not always through dieting. People are all shapes and sizes and some people are actually, you know, size zero. I won’t be writing about how gross it is to be that thin (I know some naturally thin people) for this reason. BUT I am going to have a rant about the pressures women- and girls, ok children- are facing to try to achieve a pair of unreasonably sized jeans…

I read an article on the Guardian online, entitled Where are all the size 10 models?, which asks an important question of designers during London Fashion Week in February this year. Apparently, Maria Grachvogel’s autumn 2011 collection was compromised by the lack of real sized women and she was forced to re-make most of her garments to fit the models’ smaller frames. She’s found it difficult to find models big enough to fit her size ten samples. Now hang on. Size ten- big? Since when, in the real world, has size ten been big? After two kids, size ten fitting in the changing rooms is a real cause for celebration and always the first thing I tell my husband afterwards. Hell, even before kids, size ten was a pretty amazing feeling. But in this world of high fashion and high pressure, it seems size ten is equivalent to looking like you consumed one pie too many. And all this after the industry recognised the need to re-assess the rules when it came to hiring larger models and making samples that actually fit them.

The article does go on to say that, for some women, a small frame may be perfectly natural and that these women will of course require smaller clothes. But,
… “The problem, as Grachvogel points out, is that “this is an unachievable body shape for most women. It is absurd and frustrating that women are so obsessed with trying to conform to a body shape which is simply impossible for most of us.”

This is the part that worries me. I know, at the age of 33, that I will NEVER be a size zero and actually, I don’t think I would be happy to be that small. But does my daughter know this about herself? Does she know that being herself is way more important than trying to be what someone else says she should be? Of course not. She’s young and impressionable and she needs guidance. How far can designers and model agencies influence our children?
The article raises an interesting point:


“The size zero debate is emotively linked to several high-profile deaths among anorexic models, but Grachvogel is not convinced that anorexia is to blame for the shrinking size of models”
and claims that internationally, women are shaped differently and body frames are naturally smaller in Eastern Europe. Fine. But does that mean we can’t celebrate larger models too? Does that mean that normal, size ten- or maybe even twelve and fourteen- models can’t be considered good enough to model too? Designers like Grachvogel are only too willing to make the samples in larger sizes, but what can they do if none of the models can fit into them properly? Who is to blame? Who can make the changes that are needed here? Aaagh! It really is a “chicken-or-egg question of who is ultimately to blame” and one that regularly hurts my head. SO what do you think? Is it wrong to covet the size zero? Is it wrong to dump these girls for bigger models? Will anyone ever be brave enough to do it?


9 responses to “The size zero heroes

  • Kate

    I will never be a size 10, let alone a 0. The models aren’t out there because the agencies don’t hire them. They say they don’t hire them because there’s no demand from the brands to have “larger” models. Someone, somewhere is lying.

    Much as they didn’t like it, I did like it when the Madrid fashion week banned models under a certain size. I think that’s quite right.

    From my own point of view, I never ever EVER complain about my size in front of my children. My 4yo daughter (she’ll be 5 in July) still thinks it’s great to have a “fat tummy”. But then, we don’t watch programmes that feature celebs in that way a lot and I never buy the sort of magazine that obsesses over the size of female slebs. (One week, someone is too thin, then next week they’re getting fat). I am not 100% happy with my size currently and I’m losing weight but I set my kids an example by eating healthily and exercising but not making it a huge issue. I also tell my daughter she is beautiful quite regularly (she is!). She will never be small as she’s taller than some of the kids in the year above but she is most definitely not fat. She’ll just never be petite. I hope she doesn’t obsess over her size like I have. What I can’t protect her from is the exposure she gets to other parents’ attitudes through her schoolfriends.

  • Mummy Beadzoid

    I don’t think the media and fashion world will ever change, unfortunately. There are models out there who are size 10 and above and they are represented by so called ‘plus size’ agencies, so if designers want larger models they darned well know where they can get them. So her argument?BS I say.

    I’m a smallish person but am absolutely adamant that my daughter will have no pressure from me. I am VERY worried that her Grandfather (my FIL) will attempt to influence her though. He’s already been banging on about my step son’s weight for years (he’s 11) and responded to a funny story about Babyzoid eating a huge pub meal by looking disgusted and saying that she doesn’t need all that food. I am terrified she will take these opinions on board from him and others. I’m at peace with my body, but I know it will be a battle once peer and family pressure become an issue xX

  • Jacq

    I don’t think there is anything heroic about being a size 0 if it doesn’t come naturally. Diets only work for 2-5% of the population, and yo yo dieting is a well known cause of weight gain.
    My children are being bought up to know that people come in all shapes and sizes and being thinner doesn’t make you a better, or healthier person.
    I’m teaching them to exercise and eat well, and to accept their own bodies the way they are and hoping this will be enough in a size and appearance fixated world.

  • TheBoyandMe

    I haven’t been a size 10 since I *was* 10!

    Don’t get me wrong, I know that I am carrying several thousand more stone than I should be, and to be honest I am the heaviest that I’ve ever been, even during pregnancy (I gained 1 stone in total & produced a 10lb 5oz baby). That said, they are appalling role-models for our children and I thank the lord that I have a son!

  • Crystal Jigsaw

    This is really quite worrying; I must be seriously obese at a size 16! I’m happy, healthy (as far as I know) and in control of my life and being a size 16 does not make me feel fat. I might look a bit podgy round the edges and perhaps could do with shedding a few (a lot) of pounds, but for heaven’s sake, that woman in that picture looks like a zombie. And that’s an insult to a zombie. Don’t they realise how ridiculous they look?

    CJ xx

  • tamsyn

    i am actually a size zero- that was a straight up lie btw, just thought i’d like to see the look on ur face (not that that’s possible, but u get what i’m trying to do here…..!)

    it’s a difficult one, but i think the whole point is that confronted with nothing but ‘skinny ginnies’ it’s not wholesome or healthy as it does put pressure on ‘the youth’ to be that way, when any shape is beautiful, as long as u are (cliche coming up) beautiful on the inside. sorry for the cliche, but it’s so very true.

    get some bigger models in the mags and on the cat walks i say!

  • Metropolitan Mum

    Unfortunately, lots of the clothes on the catwalks look completely hideous if worn by a bigger (read: normal) size. I have blogged about this here:

    I don’t think that the fashion industry and/or the media will ever change. Just too many sickos with too many very sick ideas.

  • kate takes 5

    I think that the onlu way we can pass on a positive body image to our children is to stop obsessing ourselves. If she sees Mummy looking in the mirror and being happy with what she sees then this will come naturally to her. Easier said than done sometimes though!

  • mummy@bodfortea

    What I don’t understand is how anyone thinks that models that skinny look attractive?! The model in your photo looks positively ILL. I agree with Kate that we need to show our daughters (and sons) that we’re happy in our own skin so that they hopefully will feel the same way. Unfortunately the fashion and mag industry will probably always use super skinny models and airbrushing to create an image of women as perfect clothes hangers. I vote with my purse and don’t buy those mags. At least in Woman & Home their models are more realistic!

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