Thursday, January 3

Introducing the "Size 0" crusade

If you are also reading my other blog regularly, you're familiar with my crusade against "Size 0" or, recently, even "Size 00". If you're not, this is your chance to get an overview of the problem.

"Size 0" is a very popular size - and one only very few adult women can reach while staying healthy. The German equivalent to "Size 0" is a size normally meant for 12-year-old girls. In other words: the only people supposed to wear it, are pre-pubescent girls, not fully grown women.

When I first heard about the new trend - about two years ago - I thought (and rather hoped) it was a fad. Just something that came up as a short-lived fashion trend. Unfortunately it wasn't.

Ever since then we've been treated - if this it can be called - to the sight of famous women getting thinner and thinner (and not necessarily more attractive). And we've been faced, only last year, with a couple of models actually dying to stay that size. The fashion industry has wept about them - and then carried on.

While some countries, like Spain, have actually taken precautions against it (in Spain, only models above a certain BMI are allowed to appear on magazine covers), most haven't. So a lot of younger girls do everything to reach this size and either make it, at the price of their health, or fail and get a low self-esteem.

Beauty and women, that's a topic even without the "Size 0" crusade.

"Women are much more aware of their looks" - and much more unsure about them as well - or so they say. But what they - male psychologists, I should guess - say leaves a lot to question.

Right at the top of the list is, of course, this question: "Why are women much more aware of their looks?" Because it's natural to them? Because they know they will be judged by society for their looks and not for their abilities? Because the media suggest that there are only very few ways a woman should look?

Quite often it is pointed out that, in nature, one gender has to attract the other one with something special. Unfortunately for those who want to say "it's natural for women", other species do the game the other way around: males have to attract females with their looks. That goes for birds, mammals, reptiles, even fish. And the insects, too, quite often. The peacock has its tail-feathers, deer have their antlers and so on. Yes, in nature, males have to go a long way in order to find someone to produce offspring with. Females usually only have to sit and wait for the right one (or best-looking one) to come by.

I rather think it's a combination between "being judged by society for their looks" and "the media suggests a limited number of acceptable looks". Unfortunately, this works both ways around. If a woman doesn't look 'good enough', it doesn't matter what qualifications she has, she will never get an important job. If a woman looks 'too good', it doesn't matter what qualifications she has, she will never get an important job. For men in normal jobs (anything apart from 'male model', really, even actors may be quite unattractive, provided they are good at acting), looks don't matter at all.

What a 'good look' is, is mostly determined by the media these days. And the list is awfully short: Slender to thin, long hair (of course full and possibly blonde), full lips, no wrinkles, no hair except for the one on the head, eyebrows (but shaped) and lashes. That's about it. A twenty-something plastic doll seems to be the only 'good looks' acceptable today.

Women are compared to this picture found in magazines, on TV, in movies, in music clips and so on. And it doesn't matter the least whether or not the picture is in any way realistic. Men, on the other hand, often are found whining when a woman mentions a male model (for underwear, for preference) or other man she finds attractive.

As long as women are judged by their looks this much - even if 'looking good' means 'being on the verge of dying because of a size too small for normal women' -, men and women will never be considered equals.

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