Wednesday, May 4, 2011

In defense of size zero

One evening browsing the internets, I came across a t-shirt printed with a slogan: Zero is Not a Size. It was a quote from a TV show a while back, and has since grown some legs, judging by the number of results my quick Google search returned.

On the surface, this may seem like a good thing. To say that pop culture promotes an impossibly narrow (pun intended) standard of female attractiveness is to completely understate the issues women face with regards to body image. So, to counter all those negative feelings, I can totally get on board with an empowering, body-positive statement that tells pop culture to stuff it.

This is not it. "Zero is not a size" misses the point. If zero isn't a size, then what is the person wearing that size? Nothing? No one? Zero?

Imagine a slogan like "3XL is not a size," for people concerned with the current obesity epidemic in this country. For sure, obesity is a problem (as are eating disorders), but shaming an entire group of people because you disapprove of their body type is condescending and unproductive.

"Zero is not a size" also implies that if a person is currently wearing this size, they must be following some dreadful starvation diet in order to maintain it. Size is just a number; it is not an accurate indicator of health. I'm sure whoever created this slogan was well-meaning, but unfortunately it's stuff like this that keeps those old narrow standards of attractiveness alive.