July 30, 2014

Size 000? WTF??! Should I Be Pissed – Or Envious?

Sexy Blonde Young WomanBy Elizabeth Shore

Listen up, Ladies. Just in case you’ve started feeling good about fitting in to a size 6 or 8, retailer J. Crew has come up with the whopperist of all buzz kills. Now available: size triple 0!

My first reaction upon hearing the news that size 000 has been added to J. Crew’s clothing line-up was pure annoyance. I mean, size 000? Really? Issues with women and body image go deep and cut hard, and they start when we’re just impressionable young girls. I cringe when I remember how, as a kid, my friend and I would giggle over the class fat girl. It’s a tough memory to stomach now. We were so damn cruel. We didn’t laugh right in her face, but it makes it no more forgiveable that behind her back we were snickering over her supposed fondness for “butter sandwiches.” I don’t know whatever happened to that girl, but if she remained heavy I’m sure not everyone was mocking her quite so privately. J. Crew, it seems, is like the class mean girl, flaunting the tiny size in our faces and daring us to see if we can fit in.

J. Crew, in response, says their sizes run large and the 000 is merely an effort to serve the needs in the Asian market. Indeed, size 000 is only available in the U.S. online. So … hmmm. Is this supposed to make me feel better? The tiny size is just for slender Asian women! No need for us hefty American gals to feel like human Hindenbergs just because fitting in to size 000 is as realistic as skin without pores. Except … well, ah, here’s the thing. I’d love to have my skin look pore-less. When I examine my face in a magnified mirror and see pores the size of volcanoes dotting my cheeks, I confess that if it were possible not to have that you could count me in. And, well, I can’t fit into a size triple 0, but if I could, and if it wouldn’t mean endless days of forced starvation to get there, well then …

When we read romances, we insert ourselves in the role of heroine. We’re young and pretty with the world’s hottest guys turning to mush at our perfectly pedicured feet. For me, part of the fantasy includes being slender. Not “as a reed,” but nonetheless, if I could pick my perfect fantasy body it would be a slim one. So if I’m honest with myself, do I secretly wish I were J. Crew’s target audience, happily victorious that they’re finally putting out a size for me? (gulp). I guess I do.

Nevertheless, I don’t think a woman fantasizing about her perfect body while she’s a romance heroine negates being frustrated about size triple 0. The message is still out there: thin – really thin – is in. Size 000, by the way, fits a 23-inch waist. The biggest irony of all is that other retailers, like the Gap, offer clothes with that same measurement. They just call it either 0 or at best 00. J. Crew’s addition of the third zero seems to me like vanity sizing on steroids. And what keeps it here to stay is women respond to it and retailers know it. Have a female shopper try on two pairs of jeans with identical measurements except one pair’s label says size 8 and the other says size 10. Which one is she gonna buy? Exactly. Therein lies the problem. Coveting the ability to wear that tiny size veers many women either toward extreme measures to make it fit, or spirals them into self-loathing because they know it’s never gonna happen.

How do you respond? Tell J. Crew to get a grip on reality, or wish you could try on a pair of the super skinnies? Sound off in the comments below, and don’t forget to follow us at Lady Smut. Insightful and sexy posts seven days a week!




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  • Post authorBarbara Mikula

    As a romance writer myself (Skye Michaels), I do not write BBW romances, but I do endeavor to have heroines who are not all Victoria’s Secret models, who have real issues to deal with (like scars or a big butt) and still get the HEA – or coveted Happy Ever After. Of course, the heroes are all tall, good looking and rich! This I our fantasy, after all. Who wants real life? The Triple 0 issue, is ridiculous. Unless those women are pre-pubescent teens (or tiny Asian women), I don’t see how that can be healthy or real. They sure haven’t given birth or breast fed an infant – or fed a family real food. I think advertising should be more geared to the real sized women who make up this country and spend the money in the stores. As I understand it, size 12 is the American average. I heard that Abercrombie doesn’t welcome real sized women in the store. Since I don’t shop there, I can’t say for sure. It’s all certainly unhealthy and heartbreaking for our daughters who don’t fit into that demographic. Just my opinion.

    Reply to Barbara Mikula
    • Post authorKel

      I don’t think there’s anything wrong with people having clothing that fits. There are people who are just tiny, and they have every right to have clothes that fit them that larger people do. They are just as real, and just as human as anyone else.

      I think the problems are with the way that the beauty industry treats women, not with the actual human beings themselves. A size 000 garment isn’t better or worse than a size 22 garment, and even an unconscious bias that says it is is dangerous.

      I do resent that the industry seems completely incapable of designing formal garments for anyone over 5’6″ or with my dimensions, but when it gets too much, I just make my own or shop in the men’s department and glare a lot.

    • Post authorElizabeth Shore

      I’ve never shopped in Abercrombie, either, although call me crazy, but I prefer stores that want me there!

      Kel has a point – there are tiny women who need smaller clothes. But it’s the way the clothes are marketed and the unhealthy and wholly unrealistic emphasis on being tiny even when you’re not that gets me.

      Reply to Elizabeth Shore
  • Post authorKel

    I… never really wanted to be skinny. I wanted to be shorter, sure (what tall girl doesn’t at some point – usually when crushing on a shorter guy *grin*)… but I don’t think I ever really lusted after skinny. I did want a less pudgy tummy at times, but I was proud of my ability to run and dance and be strong. The skinny girls all wilted like old lettuce when trying to keep up. It was terribly unattractive.

    • Post authorBarbara Mikula

      Good for you. That’s a healthy attitude!

      Reply to Barbara Mikula
    • Post authorElizabeth Shore

      Haha! Funny. I confess I envy the slimness, but your attitude is enviable further still!

      Reply to Elizabeth Shore
      • Post authorKel

        Don’t get me wrong – I’m still a girl with all the associated body image issues, although I understand boys have those now too… darn you media outlets. I just spent my early years with people unconcerned with appearance in many ways, and very concerned with presentation in others. So I learned how to present what I had very early, instead of to lament what I didn’t.

        I have height; it makes up for many so-called physical shortcomings. I am not a small person. When you could see my all ribs and strangers were trying to focrce-feed me sammiches (growth-spurt, not eating disorder), I was still a size 12. I could also bench press twice my body weight… so I learned early I was just never going to be little. Not even vaguelly.

        It means that Korean Drama Carrying thing is a serious Squishy-Feels for me. 🙂

  • Post authorAlexa Day

    I don’t know, I think when I heard about the Size 000 stir, I just rolled my eyes. During my body conscious formative years, girls and women who looked like me weren’t a huge priority for the mainstream clothing industry. (We still aren’t a huge priority, but it’s much better now than it was.) No amount of diet, exercise, or other body modification was going to make me into a J. Crew or Gap model, so I didn’t experience any pressure to conform to that image.

    J. Crew isn’t worried about me. Abercrombie definitely isn’t worried about me. I guess I’m returning the favor. I’m sure 000 is someone’s actual size, and I’m happy for those people wherever they are, but 000 is no more exciting to me than anyone else’s size is.

    Reply to Alexa Day

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