Is Instagram to Blame for the Rise of Size 000 Clothing?


For a second there I was getting really worried that we were running out of things to blame selfies for. Sure, there area are the ruined relationships, the addiction, and even the Neo-Nazis appropriating Valencia-tinged Brooklyn hipsterdom. But lately the selfie has been getting off a little too lightly.

Well, justice is coming. Selfies are also apparently to blame for size 000 jeans, which Grazia reports have started to exist in mainstream shops as Abercrombie & Fitch. (IMO there are scarier things in Abercrombie than tiny pants, but maybe the Grazia staffers have never been spritzed with Beach Vibez 2000 by 14-year-old sales associate covered in warpaint zinc.) “Right now it’s in to be thin in Hollywood,” an LA source told the magazine last week. “Although there are thankfully curvier role models out there, from Kim Kardashian to Beyoncé, it’s a cut-throat industry and it’s no secret that stars can make headlines out of being scarily skinny.”

So what’s to blame for Hollywood’s resurgence of pin-thin party girls? Alexa Chung or Instagram, probably.

“The selfie craze in particular has intensified [the desire to be thin], and celebrities know that if they post a picture of themselves looking skinny, with ribs on show, they’ll get attention,” A-list trainer and self-described “wellness warrior” James Duigan adds. “But it isn’t always real – sometimes they’re breathing in and sometimes the angle makes them look thinner than they really are.” Duigan admits he’s kind of just postulating here, “because the people I work with are focused on health and not being skinny, which is why they look good and feel good.”

The article then goes on to throw shade at specific celebrities guilty of Instagramming while thin. What do Alexa Chung, 30, model Langley Fox Hemingway, 24, Mary Charteris, 26, and Millie Mackintosh, 24, all have in common? They’re “all fans of the selfie,” it is stated ominously. They also all apparently require ages next their names to subtly remind them they’re old enough to know better than to be thin and famous.

To clarify, a size zero is pretty scarily small. While a traditional zero measures 25 inches around the waist; a triple zero is 23 inches – “the same as the waistband on a six-to-eight-year-old girl’s skirt,” depending on how six-to-eight-sized the six-to-eight-year-old girl is of course. But are we really supposed to believe that skinny socialites are to blame for a new size of pants being invented? It’s not like any of these people can’t afford tailors, and the rest of us are getting bigger rather than smaller.

There is obviously a serious conversation to be had about Instagram and unhealthy fixations with thin bodies. The fact there are now skinny “trends” being born solely from social media — i.e. the “thigh gap,” the (only half fake) “bikini bridge,” and hashtag diets — are all very real reasons to believe Instagram’s nipple hate is misdirected. While we’ve been bombarded with images of “ideal” bodies for decades, on social media it’s sometimes difficult to see where the line is between inspiration and thinspiration. But calling out individual women under the guise of feminist outrage only perpetuates our weird obsession with the latter. It’s like saying, “hey — here’s a list of really skinny people to follow on Instagram!” Just like that video of slow-mo-ing thigh gaps in tiny athletic shorts, skinny-shaming only fuels our fixation while allowing us to shift the blame onto the SkinneePix app — or onto a pair of pants.

Unsurprisingly, the rest of the story is nothing more than a tabloid story with a high-minded headline. “Kate Bosworth, 31, is another actress who appears to have dropped in size in recent months,” it reports with mock concern. (Bosworth has a private Instagram account with only three followers.) “And Nicole Richie, 32, the original poster girl for size zero back in the day, has been looking thinner than ever of late. A “source” claims Richie sometimes goes through a whole day with nothing but a bowl of cereal and piece of fruit in her. Important story, bro.

Women have been using numerical sizing as a measure of self-worth since long before Alexa Chung joined Instagram. Vanity sizing, the reason you’re a 6 at H&M and a 00, is partly a way to keep up with society’s expanding waistlines — not with celebrities’ shrinking ones. “The famous example,” reports Grazia correctly, “is taken from the US department store Sears. In 1937, a 32in bust registered a size 14, but by 1967, the same measurement was transformed into an 8. By 2011, it was a 0.” So the woman who was originally a zero is now sized out of the market, and a new subzero size must be invented to keep her in pants that stay up. The 000 is only the logical (though also ridiculous) extension of the vanity sizing phenomenon. And it’s probably an S at Zara.

Just like the gap between inspo and thinspo is often blurry, so is skinny-shaming clickbait often masked as righteous concern. Hollywood is always going to be obsessed with thin women, and size 000 pants now exist. Pointing the finger at celebrities won’t fix that scary wave of validation that comes with fitting into them.

Related links:
Are Selfies Good or Bad for You? Here’s What Science Says
Lindsey Vonn Shames ‘Skinny-Fat’ Women Before Hitting The Catwalk
Yikes: La Perla Courts Twitter Hate With Scary Skinny Mannequins

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