Just when we thought we'd laid size zero to sleep, along comes size triple zero!
"American shoppers," wrote Metro, "are now able to buy size triple zero clothes, with very small 23-inch waists, the same size waistband in fact as 6-8 year-old girls would typically wear."
The newspaper was writing off the back of a report from Grazia magazine, which highlighted the trend emerging in the US.
Talking to HuffPost UK Lifestyle, Alex B, a model and writer (and soon to be LUX model) who also represents older models, says: "Hollywood is constantly infantilising women and this trend is yet another instance of this unacceptable, ultimately coercive treatment of women. Women embracing such extreme thinness are bound to make themselves ill in the shorter and longer term. We should try to stop it."
Dr BJ Epstein, lecturer at the University of East Anglia and HuffPost UK blogger agrees. "What is wrong with our society that women feel they need to look like little children? This is incredibly disempowering, and it means that by focusing on women's looks, we're missing out on what women actually can contribute to the world."
Why would women do this to themselves? While we don't agree with the Mail Online saying it's a 'badge of honour', we do think that in such a highly competitive industry, this has - worryingly - become a new standard to work to.
Rivkie Baum, editor of Slink magazine and plus size campaigner says: "The fact that it exists is pretty frightening. While we can't assume that all women with a 23-inch waist are on a starvation diet,- any more than we can say size 16+ women eat all the time, it is a huge concern that we seem to have come full circle in terms of measuring our self worth by measuring our waists.
"The fact that this trend seems to be trickling down from celebrities and high street brands is hugely concerning as they need to consider their social responsibility to young and impressionable girls. Many professional models have a 24-inch waist (and are on average are still in their teens) - the fact that a triple zero is smaller than their average measurements, suggests that even those we hold as the most slender in our society no longer cut the mustard."
"There isn't anything wrong with having "pencil thin legs" or "sharp collar bones," as many may suggest. Bodies rest at different weights naturally; some of us are small and some are large.
"It's simply a fact of life. Seeing tiny bodies in our media isn't the problem; the permeation of the thought that smaller bodies are worth more is. Not only because it's simply not true, but because it affects all women whether we know it or not."
There may be some good to come out of this. Whereas size zero may have been attainable, because size triple zero is so extreme, it may actually unite women against the quest for super skinny.
"The fact that the triple zero body is so unattainable actually offers a positive opportunity though: to band all women together to reject the impossible body standards we see," says Jes.
"Until now, we have seen a separation of shapes, "straight sizes" vs. "plus sizes." Women occasionally choose to shoot the other down to build themselves up- thin women calling larger women "lazy" and large women calling thin women "sellouts." Neither of these are true, and maybe it takes a standard that no one can truly reach to help us realise that we are ALL IN THIS TOGETHER."
On Twitter, #triplezero is being discussed:
Dr Epstein adds: "Women come in a variety of sizes, and we should celebrate that. Likewise, we should celebrate women's different looks, skills, abilities, and contributions to society. A 23-inch waist is nothing to celebrate; it's shocking and depressing. When will we ever learn that women are more than objects, more than bodies?"
But, how can we stop the size zero pressure? As a first step I've taken size 6 off my options with immediate effect - I don't really want it to be seen as normal, when clearly for LUX customers it isn't. We need to stop the photoshoots that serve only the propagation and glorification of the starvation of hundreds of young women, and offer alternatives.
And I just wanted to balance all the negativity, by saying, in the world of handmade luxury leather lingerie, my best selling sizes remain 10 and 16, 12 running a close third. Very occasionally a size 8 or 14.
Happily, I've never been asked to make anything smaller than a size 6, and even size 6 is a rarity - twice since 2003.
Hopefully this means that Lux women, men and those in between love their bodies just the way they are.
This is the message we need to be spreading.
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