Let’s talk about the intrinsically Fatphobic Y2K fashion and its return

Pranjali Hasotkar
4 min readFeb 2, 2023

Gather the crowd because size-zero fashion is back- and it’s time we fought against the trend.

TW: This article includes mentions of eating disorders, weight stigma and diet culture.

Back in 2022, the Y2K fashion made a roaring comeback with its low-rise jeans, butterfly clips, baby tees and pleated mini skirts. While nostalgia is a good emotion- are we sure we want to go back to the systematic fatphobia and the 90s ‘heroin chic’ look that monopolised the early 2000s?

Source: edited on Canva

Millennial fashion, popularly known as the Y2K fashion, is the fashion trend of the early 2000s. In recent years, old is becoming the new gold and retro fashion is making a comeback- an ode to high-waisted flared and bootcut jeans- but so are the flashbacks of this trend that led to an increase in eating disorders.

The early 2000s is considered one of the iconic eras with movies like Mean Girls, The Princess Diaries, How to lose a guy in 10 days, Legally Blonde, etc releasing and forming a cult-like fan base. This era brought the logos on clothes trend and the colour pink became a fashion staple. But, it also introduced size-zero bodies that became a norm- and soon, there was a sudden erasure of any other body type that didn’t fit the charts.

While there is nothing wrong with the reviving trend, we need to understand that this comes with the risk of bringing back the underlining fatphobia that existed in the early 2000s. As I mentioned earlier, the 00s carried the heroin chic look from the 90s- they basically pushed an emaciated-looking body. Moreover, the media played a pivotal role in its weight-loss listicles and fad diets that spurned the existence of any other body type.

This led to the unavailability of larger sizes in the stores and formed a worrisome idea that trends suit smaller bodies. Women with larger bodies were demonised and were deduced for wearing low-rise jeans as they seemed ‘unflattering’ on them.

Needless to say, this Y2K was designed with a stereotypical white thin woman with a thigh gap and straight blonde hair. In fact, several rom-com films had a female protagonist with the exact same description as above and a fat best friend that only existed for a comic role. It’s ugly how the media let young women believe that they’d just be comic relief if they didn’t have conventional bodies. Please note, if someone like Drew Barrymore was considered ‘chubby’- it’s evident how unfortunate it was to live in the 2000s.

Source: Forbes

Only now, a decade after the horrifying Y2K fashion, we have come to terms with our bodies. Albeit we have partially eradicated the weight stigma, we need to realise that these trends can pull us right into the rabbit hole. Most importantly, we have survived COVID-19, and it’s highly critical to take care of the body that helped us persist the deadly virus.

Let me clarify, this trend was not just damaging for people that didn’t fit into the role, it was equally damaging to the ones that fit the role because they were constantly under the radar of not gaining weight which could eventually falter validation.

To be candid, I don’t necessarily have any issue with old trends coming back- after all, I own my share of high-waisted flared and bootcut jeans. What’s alarming is that we need to fight back against the obsession with emaciated bodies that ruled the era.

It is easy to say that we won't let the heroin chic look defeat us, but the destruction has already started with weight loss pills and injections getting approbation. Several news pieces have started talking about how curvy is yesterday and heroin chic is back. Interestingly, an article in the New York Post suggests that the infamous Kardashians have allegedly reversed their Brazilian butt lifts.

All I am asking for is acknowledgement.

On a happier note, I have seen several women with unconventional body types donning low-rise jeans and baby tees. So, as a society, we definitely are changing and becoming more accepting of different body types. However, there is still a chunk of people that aren’t comfortable with their bodies, and it is important to understand that these trends that promote smaller bodies could have a lasting impact on their lives.

To conclude, the 00s fashion was highly damaging, and we need to instil this in our minds that WOMEN’S BODIES ARE NOT TRENDS. Lastly, even though the Y2K trend is making a comeback and weight loss pills and injections are in the news again- it’s up to us as individuals to violently reject this life-threatening come back and strive to make the world more inclusive.

--

--

Pranjali Hasotkar

A reader, writer and an aspiring journalist- I love words, and I hope I give them justice by writing social commentary, perspective and opinion pieces. She/Her.