Hollywood champions an unreasonable standard for women’s body types, and more than a few Americans are sick of it. Three admirable celebrities discuss their comfort in their own skin.
|Jennifer Lawrence||Source: Herald Sun|
I don’t know about you, but I can’t go a single day without hearing another Hollywood story about a female celebrity’s weight. Tabloid covers are plastered with photos of “best and worst bikini bodies,” with the honor of “best” reserved for those chosen few who can strike the right balance of expensive personal trainers and plastic surgery.
The “worst” category, however, is where things get interesting. Take one step to the right or left of the perfect-body line, and Hollywood will find something wrong with you. Christina Hendricks, whose va-va-voom curves help keep “Mad Men” a smashing success, has been pressured for being overweight. And slender Keira Knightley, widely considered one of the world’s most beautiful women, fights rumors that she’s anorexic.
In an industry with so many different voices calling for ever-skinnier women, it can be hard to single-handedly propose a more realistic beauty standard. The only solution is to praise beautiful women of all body types and hold up average women as role models.
Anorexia rumors are one of Hollywood’s most insidious weapons. With eating disorders and weight anxiety on the rise, the media has taken a well-deserved beating for pushing women to be thin. In recent years, by accusing actresses or singers of being underweight or malnourished, Hollywood pretends that it values women who look more natural and healthy. That way, people will take its side and trust its beauty standard.
Then it turns around and mocks anyone who puts on an extra pound. What a sucker punch.
In an industry with so many different voices calling for ever-skinnier women, it can be hard to single-handedly propose a more realistic beauty standard. The only solution is to praise beautiful women of all body types and hold up average women as role models. Three leading celebrities are proud to fill that role.
Jennifer Lawrence, star of “The Hunger Games” and “Silver Linings Playbook,” spoke in a recent interview about the damage done by Hollywood’s obsession with being thin. By Hollywood’s standards, Lawrence considers herself a “fat actress” and is familiar with the industry’s demands that actresses lose weight for their roles.
Lawrence occupies an especially delicate position as a role model for younger girls. She’s aware that weight expectations are particularly hard on young women, and she sought to model a healthy, confident body type. While honing her physique to play Katniss in “The Hunger Games,” Lawrence strove to look “fit and strong—not thin and underfed.”
It’s true that maintaining a healthy weight is just that—healthy. But being thin is only one aspect of health, and being undernourished carries its own health problems. By focusing on fitness instead of bone-skinniness, Lawrence shows young women how to rank their priorities—and looks like a fox doing so.
Another celebrity, Jessica Simpson, came under fire recently as she struggled to lose the weight she gained during pregnancy. No intelligent person would argue that a woman needs to be perfectly skinny while carrying nine pounds of baby on her stomach, and no kind person would ridicule a new mother who focuses on her child instead of her waistline.
But leave it to the women of “The View” to criticize. Simpson reacted with humor and grace when told that her baby weight was excessive. She proudly discussed her indulgent eating habits as a pleasure of pregnancy, and she has since partnered with Weight Watchers to return to a healthy weight with a sustainable plan.
What about the women who aren’t thin but don’t have a pregnancy to blame? Singer Adele has endured an array of much-publicized attacks on her weight, but she has wisely chosen to ignore the opinions of her critics. She recently stated that she has no plans to lose weight and will only do so if her health or sex life were affected.
Thankfully, Adele’s fans are quick to defend her. They call for Hollywood to focus on Adele’s considerable talent and to leave her body image out of the picture. They also assert—as does Adele—that being a size 14 to 16 is not “fat” by any stretch of the imagination and that Hollywood’s standards are too confining.
When it comes to rejecting Hollywood’s call for skinniness, Lawrence and Simpson would surely agree with Adele’s confident statement to the media:
“I’ve never wanted to look like models on the cover of magazines… I represent the majority of women and I’m very proud of that.”