25 Aug
Reshma Venugopal

Size Zero? That was so 2006.



If you are a fan of watching models stride down a runway on television or the actual show, then you will notice different definitions of beauty. Your definition of beauty may be quite different from someone else's because beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. So now let me ask you, what is your definition of a perfect woman? Or a beautiful woman. Don’t worry, nobody will take your choice against you unless you say size zero is beautiful.

Perhaps that is your requirement for someone to be termed beautiful and perfect. Perhaps having about 0% body fat is what you consider to be beautiful or perhaps beauty stands for curves and little cellulite for you. Everyone is allowed and expected to be who they want to be, or look in a certain way. However, manipulating and pushing someone into thinking that your way and your definition is the right one for beauty, is wrong. That is what went wrong in 2006 when a 22-year-old Uruguayan model Luisel Ramos collapsed on a runway during Uruguayan’s Fashion Week moments after being applauded by spectators; she later died from heart failure (the size zero debate, 2011). It was later diagnosed that the heart failure had been triggered by starvation, as all she survived on was diet coke and lettuce leaves. A few months later, her sister (18) was also found dead due to a similar event; malnutrition and anorexia. Now just imagine what a terrible example is set for girls who look at models as their role models?

I'm not saying that a size zero woman is not beautiful. There are some very beautiful size zero models, but their beauty is natural. They are naturally smaller, and that is their natural body. However, it is wrong, when models are forced to become size zero, and consequently forced into starvation.

The fashion industry surely knows the responsibility they have. They set standards which millions of people blindly follow, especially the younger generation. However, there is some good news too! Ladies and gentlemen, we are now proud to announce that size zero, is no longer a “thing” or a trend. If you still are under some doubts about it, then here are some reasons how the size zero trend is almost over.

The Size Zero Debate

Due to rise in the number of deaths of model’s due to starvation and disorders such as anorexia nervosa, and bulimia nervosa, the fashion industry has decided to make some changes. For example, in 2006 September, Madrid fashion week placed a ban on models with a body mass index lower than 18 which was considered a healthy mass for a woman with the height of 5ft. 6 inches. 


Countries and the size zero ban

U.K is probably one of the first countries to start the journey of the size zero ban. An initiative was led by actress and model Katie Green, who herself was a victim of the size zero trend. Katie said, in 2011, she worked with an agency for the modeling of Wonderbra. The model, who is 5ft. 10 inches, and weighed 64kgs, which was the ideal weight for her height, was asked to reduce if she wanted more work. They said she was not normal for representing a U.K size 8 for a model. She first agreed, but instantly quit. After a collaboration with a Liberal Democrat, she launched a new campaign for banning size zero.

Milan and Madrid had also banned the size zero concept right after the death of the model in 2006. This was followed by Italy, as they suspected about 40% of the models had been victims of some eating disorder. Famous designers such as Giorgio Armani and Victoria Beckham had also made tremendous efforts to cut out this deadly fashion trend.

And what’s the proof?

From Hollywood to Bollywood, from Jean Paul Gaultier to Vogue and Sports Illustrated, beauty has been redefined. More and more women are becoming confident about their bodies no matter what shape or size they embody. Media which decided to step up and show more curves than bones in its representation of beauty has played a large role in this boost of confidence. One of the most influential people in this matter who has undoubtedly done wonders in this topic is plus size models. With great heights, some beautiful cellulite and lots of curves, these women have redefined beauty in the fashion industry, and have become more relatable to the average working woman who does not really have the time and resources to hire dietitians and gym trainers. With time more and more people are finally accepting this positive change.

In fact, why look so far away? We have beautiful and curvy women in our very own film and fashion industry too. Take, for example, the beautiful and talented Vidya Balan. From the very beginning, she had refused to listen to the terrible taunts of the media which at that time was so obsessed with having perfect, petite frames for our actresses. Vidya, however, did not let that kind of negativity come in her way. She continued to look the way she wanted, continued doing her work sincerely and most importantly, continued eating her favorite food."Weight issues" have long been the topic of discussion among Bollywood actresses and the media. While some of them decided to get fitter and healthier by reducing their weight and eating right, others continued being the way they are. Now is that not beautiful? To look the way you want to and be comfortable in your skin and alter it when you want to?

How will this change impact the common man?

By average man, I mostly mean the viewers and fans and teenagers who look up to models and actresses for inspiration. With a more body positive attitude shown by the women we view and admire, the chances of their viewers to acquire that kind of positivity is higher. This causes a change in the definition of beauty and reduction in eating disorders which are still so prevalent. Eating disorders are psychological conditions that are caused by abnormal or disturbed eating habits (DSM-5). In other words, conditions such as anorexia and bulimia will be occurring lesser among young teenage girls and boys. More women will be more confident with their bodies and not be affected by any kind of negativity.

To sum up, I would like to share some beautiful curvy women from Hollywood and Bollywood and some of the great ways they have represented curves, cellulite, and beauty together.

  • Ashley Graham: Modeled for Sports Illustrated, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Elle. She is 5ft. 9inches, and weighs 77kgs. 

  • Kim Kardashian: The famous reality star, designer and fashion mogul stand at 5ft. 3 inches and weighs 66 kgs. She is a fitness freak, and is often found eating healthy and occasionally indulge in some fast food. However, her beauty is known to be her fabulous and ample curves. Please refer to the peach emoji.

  • Vidya Balan: She stands at 5ft. 4inches, with a weight of 60 kgs, which is perfectly acceptable for her height. Now imagine people asked her to reduce her weight more because that’s how ignorant and silly the public can be.

  • Sonakshi Sinha: This beauty stands at 5ft. 6 inches and weighs 60 kgs. She has often been criticized for being “too huge”. But honestly, have you seen her dance? She is as graceful as a swan, and no weight comes in her way!

  • Lastly, a great tribute to Singer Meghan Trainor, the singer of “All about the bass”. The 5ft 4 inches singer who weighs 68 kgs, surely represented curvy and thick women gracefully!

Of course, the list could go on and on, but that is something for you to do. Don’t forget to go search for these body positive people and their struggle in trying to be themselves and love their bodies. After all, they are all about the bass!


Responses 2

  • Sneha Chauhan
    Sneha Chauhan   Sep 08, 2017 09:21 AM

    I agree with you Reshma. Women should not be judged by other people and themselves on the basis of their weight. As you have mentioned, they can be curvy and thick and yet rule the beauty world. It's not about how small or huge or thin or curvy you are, it's more about how much you love your body and how comfortable you are inside yourself. If that's the thing you can work with, you are beautiful. Do not let the perception of others on how a perfect female body should be, rule over you. What can be more beautiful than happiness.

    That image of size zero perfect body is now gone, very true. But, it has been overtaken by the curvy and thick image of women. Now the attention has shifted from thin women to thick women; which is equally irrelevant. It doesnt matter still. You can be thin, you can be thick, but it will still be your body. You have to respect that.

    Thank you for the great article, Reshma!

  • Sanjna Verma
    Sanjna Verma   Sep 02, 2017 06:15 PM

    This is a great topic! Thanks for sharing this information. I completely agree with the point you made about standards set by the industry and people blindly following them. Especially for women, they are objectified in every industry on the basis of weight and also, skin colour. This is common in our industry as you gave the examples of Vidya Balan and Sonakshi Sinha.

    It is because of these unnecessary beauty standards set. It is because of these beauty standards that girls have been indulging into eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. But now, it is good to see that things are changing and changing for the good.

    As you gave instances of women who do not have a zero size figure but are still comfortable in their bodies. People should realise that one should be comfortable in one's own body shape, you are born with it. But this does not mean that they should indulge in unhealthy eating habits and be lazy. It means having a healthy diet and being happy always.


    • Reshma Venugopal
      Reshma Venugopal   Sep 14, 2017 05:22 PM

      Thank you so much for reading and your amazing comments :)

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