Sizing Up The Competition: The Size Zero Battle Continues
Beauty has always been a subjective term and its definitions have varied across time and geographic boundaries. Buxom women with curves and sex appeal were the rage for decades, up until a new trend emerged of super skinny girls.
The label size zero refers to women, and in most cases models that fit a specific, extremely tiny mold. The measurements are somewhere around the range of 33-25-35 at the maximum point. These size zero models are seen floating on catwalks across the globe, and staring at you from glossy magazine covers. They are muses for prominent designers and the face of multiple brands. They are beautiful in their own right but the one thing most of them are not is, healthy.
Size zero models have been at the center of much controversy in the fashion world. They have sparked heated debate about body image, eating disorders and the promotion of an unrealistic, unhealthy body type. They definitely do not represent normal women across the world, and yet the size zero model is the first choice, in most cases, to showcase fashion.
The main contention is with the image and message such perceptions of beauty send to other women. Conditions such as anorexia are very prevalent in the modeling world, and as a socially transmitted phenomenon more and more models fall prey to this temptation. The desire to fit that mold, whether it is to be accepted or to get hired as a model, permeates the lives of working and aspiring models to the extent that they lose track of what matters more. Health is sacrificed for temporary short-term gains that adversely affect their quality of life.
After the death of Luisel Ramos from anorexia in August, 2006, Madrid Fashion Week banned size zero models the following month, and the Milan fashion show took the same action shortly afterward, banning models with a body mass index (BMI) of 18 or below.
Designers such as Armani, Prada and Versace agreed to ban size zero models while the British Fashion Council promoted the idea of paying attention to the health conditions of models. In 2012, Victoria Beckham banned such models from her show at New York Fashion Week and a number of prominent fashion personalities, including working and retired models spoke out against negative body image and the pressures of the fashion industry.
On the flip side, many designers and fashion personalities such as Karl Lagerfeld have declined to do any such thing, and have reserved the right of choice. They feel that their clothes look the best on certain frames and as long as women are willing to be a size zero, then there should be no discrimination against them. They support healthy eating habits and encourage models to look after themselves but they also stress that they have a right to hire whomever they please.
Do you know anyone who is a size zero, or is heavily influenced by size zero models? Are they healthy or simply sacrificing health as the price they pay for fashion?