Opinion: Triple-zero sizes for women deserve a big fat zero

An iPhone app called "Skinnee Pix" allows the user to choose whether the selfie photo should make the subject look as much as 15 pounds thinner. Some clothing brands are now marketing a size triple-zero to women -- clothes with the same waist size as a first- or second-grade girl

The new ideal size for a woman is … negative.

Remember when women’s clothing lines started selling a size zero? Well, evidently size zero was just a grotesque accommodation for women who can’t control themselves and scarf down an entire wedge of iceberg lettuce at one sitting.

Because now size 000 — triple zero — has become the dream-girl goal. And I do mean “girl.” On some brands’ measurements, a size 000 has a 23-inch waist, which is about the same size waist as a first- or second-grade girl. Britain’s Telegraph newspaper named some of the Hollywood notables heading into triple-digit territory, the likes of Nicole Richie and Kate Bosworth. These are women other women — and worse, girls — want to be like.

The body type is far worse than author Tom Wolfe’s scrawny “social X-rays.” They come closer to the duchess of Windsor, a punishing dieter whose reputed 31-23-31-ish measurements, along with her cushions smugly embroidered with “You can never be too rich or too thin,” put her in the avant-garde of the grotesquely thin.


These are more like actress bobbleheads, a monster noggin on a stick-figure body. The torso is so devoid of flesh that you could play the ribs like a xylophone. The gap between the thighs is measurable; the hip bones are so sharp you could plow with them, except that emaciation weakens the bones, not to mention playing havoc with fertility.

I expect that anyone who wants to be way less than zero has been hypercritically regarding her virtual self — omnipresent in Twitter pictures, on Instagram and Vine and in selfies — rather than her real self, given that the virtual world is eclipsing the real one.

Girls pick it up from celebrity media that reproach women all the time: If an actress can get back to her pre-pregnancy shape within a month or so of giving birth, what excuse do other women have? Normal is the new fat.

Maybe what we need is some social scrawny-shaming, the way some people practice fat-shaming now. Tweet the very thin and very famous pictures of food or order a prepaid pizza to be delivered to their homes.

As with anorexia, bulimia and self-cutting, weight is one thing — maybe the only thing — some young women may feel they can control, in a world that feels out of control. In a political context, it’s hardly a surprise that some women might want to simply disappear. Amazing shrinking women’s bodies are paralleling a moment when some political forces seem to want women to disappear from the public sphere altogether, and become — not unlike the size they want to wear — like children, not heard and almost not seen.

Follow Patt Morrison on Twitter @pattmlatimes