Zero Existence

by Tracee Sioux

I was thin as a young woman. Just the other day my sister-in-law said to me, I saw some pictures of you and you were so thin.

A friend of mine who knew me about 7 years ago also recently said, You were so tiny back then.

I was always “the thin one” between my best friend, Violet, and I.

The thing is – I was a size 8.

A size 8 was considered perfectly thin.

Violet, plagued with a weight problem, would mutter things like, If only I were a size 5 my life would be perfect.

I would always answer back, Don’t be ridiculous. No one is a size 5. There’s no way I could be a size 5 – I have bones. (This was before you could find a doctor who would remove a few ribs.)

I’m in a size 8 again today, but no one is calling me thin. Today, an 8 is considered fat, or at least something to work on. While a size Zero is considered to be thin.

My friend Violet just the other day said, I wish I were a size 5.

To which a size 5 12-year-old girl answered, I wish I were a size 2.

Does anyone remember those old diet commercials – maybe for Super K or Slim Fast in the 1980s – where the tag line was, Look at her. She’s a perfect size 9!

I’ve been contemplating the significance of this size Zero, pro-ana phenomenon.

Do you remember the old feminist theory that women crossed their legs in the feminine way to take up less space because they felt unworthy of it? They also held their arms close to them and made very small hand gestures and sat with ankles crossed. That men crossed their legs in their big way and felt free to move their arms about and even stretch them all the way across the couch. Men feel entitled to take up space.

What if girls today feel they don’t even have a right to exist, let alone take up more space?

Who takes up less space on the planet, or in a room, or on a couch, than a size Zero girl?

Are pro-ana girls actually trying to disappear?

Perhaps the first step to preventing poor body image and extreme thinness and misperception of our bodies is to teach daughters they have a right to exist.

Ainsley, dear, you have as much right as anyone to take up space. You’re entitled to exist. I’m thrilled that you live your life with a loud, bold presence. You are worthy of nutrition and nourishment for your strong, beautiful, healthy body.

(P.S. I’m claiming my thin status back. Those girls aren’t going to steal my womanly thunder. I’m thin with curves. Curves are better than bones any day.)

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