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Media Spot-Lite: Bigger in Hollywood

November 13, 2012

Ah, celebrity gossip. Can’t live with it, can’t live without it…or is that just me? Probably just me.

Regardless, there has been a slew of actresses/singers/famous people speaking out and making positive statements about their weight and/or talking about their reasons for being positive about their bodies in the face of constant media criticism. And I think this is really fabulous. Instead of having to be defensive and apologetic for their weight in an industry where standards are completely unreasonable and detrimental to well-being, these women are standing up for themselves and not letting their success and beauty be dictated by others. You go, Jennifer Lawrence, Melissa McCarthy, and Adele!

Jennifer Lawrence came under fire after the great success of the Hunger Games, with critics making pathetic statements about her weight and then coming under fire themselves.

“A few years ago Ms. Lawrence might have looked hungry enough to play Katniss… But now, her seductive, womanly figures makes a bad fit for a dystopian fantasy about a people starved into submission,” wrote The New York Times.

The Hollywood Reporter similarly referenced her “lingering baby fat” as taking away from the movie’s realism, and  she was labeled “too big” for Josh Hutcherson, who plays Katniss’s romantic interest, by Hollywood Elsewhere.

But the media’s backlash against Lawrence’s so-called “big bones” has ignited a backlash of its own.

“This criticism is absurd. She makes a point of being healthy and not too thin, and calling her fat is a great disservice to the healthy body image that she represents,” John Sharp, M.D.leading psychiatrist and Harvard Medical School faculty member told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “As a society we are moving away from this too thin ideal. I think that Hollywood is moving away, too, but it takes a long time and it takes a lot of work. It’s been too thin for too long. It takes a long time for people to accept it that Jennifer is not fat, for example, and that she looks healthy.”

And now, Jennifer herself speaks out and has a wonderful outlook on the whole experience.
In a new interview with Elle, the statuesque 22-year-old gets candid about the unattainable body standards in showbiz, revealing that, among her peers in the industry, she is inexplicably thought of as someone who is overweight. “In Hollywood, I’m obese,” notes the Kentucky native. “I’m considered a fat actress.” To make her point she adds, “I’m Val Kilmer in that one picture on the beach,” referring to the 2007 photo of the actor in his bathing suit, which generated a slew of nasty headlines. She then goes on to talk about her food habits, saying, “I eat like a caveman. I’ll be the only actress who doesn’t have anorexia rumors.”
While many actresses have gone to extremes to lose weight for various roles — think Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman in “Black Swan” or, more recently, Anne Hathaway in “Les Miserables” — Lawrence won’t be one of them. “I’m never going to starve myself for a part,” she tells Elle. “I don’t want little girls to be like, ‘Oh, I want to look like Katniss, so I’m going to skip dinner.” Instead, she wants to be a positive role model for her young “Hunger Games” fans. “That’s something I was really conscious of during training [for the movie], when you’re trying to get your body to look exactly right. I was trying to get my body to look fit and strong — not thin and underfed.”
Thank you, Jennifer, for being one of the only voices of reason in this seriously f’-ed up industry that feeds directly into how girls across the country and the world view themselves.
Melissa McCarthy has played many hilarious wonderful roles in movies and TV–from the absurd future sister-in-law in Bridesmaids to a teacher who meets her husband in an Overeaters Anonymous group on Mike and Molly–and is one of the only actresses in Hollywood to consistently be appreciated for her talent instead of beaten down for her body. And her positivity about the issue shows why.
In the December issue of Good Housekeeping, the 42-year-old opens up about her ongoing struggle to lose weight. “Sometimes I wish I were just magically a size 6 and I never had to give it a single thought,” admits McCarthy, whose hilarious turn in “Bridesmaids” also helped put her on the map. “But I am weirdly healthy, so I don’t beat myself up about it — it wouldn’t help, and I don’t want to pass that on to my girls.”
McCarthy, who has two daughters — Vivian, 5, and Georgette, 2 — with her actor husband Ben Falcone, say she stays active by doing Pilates and playing tennis, but her exercise regime hasn’t made her Hollywood skinny. “I don’t really know why I’m not thinner than I am,” the Illinois native candidly tells the magazine. “I don’t really drink soda; I don’t have a sweet tooth, and we eat healthfully at home.’
Although she has some insecurities, McCarthy is realistic and knows she’s not the only woman out there struggling with her body image. “Pretty much everyone I know, no matter what size, is trying some system,” she says, referring to the seemingly endless list of weight-loss programs on the market. “Even when someone gets to looking like she should be so proud of herself, instead she’s like, ‘I could be another three pounds less; I could be a little taller and have bigger lips.’ Where does it end? … You just have to say, ‘It’s pretty damn good. I am right here at the moment and I’m OK with it. I’ve got other things to think about.'”
I really love that both Jennifer and Melissa are aware of their impact on others–as public figures and role models (and, for Melissa, most importantly as a mother) and that the way they treat their bodies and allow the media to treat them has an impact not only on them personally but on the ways that the media will continue to perpetuate unrealistic and unhealthy ideals far into the future.
Oh, Adele. Even if you’re not seriously impressed with her music and rise to stardom, she is a super strong woman who has absolutely not let any of the constant bullshiz surrounding her weight affect her or change who she is and the amazing work she’s doing. Most recently, she came forward with this statement and I absolutely adore it:
“I read a comment on YouTube that I thought would upset me — ‘Test pilot for pies’ — but I’ve always been fine with it. I would only lose weight if it affected my health or sex life, which it doesn’t.”
Yes, yes, yes! Amen, amen, amen. I am sick of beautiful, strong, successful women having to constantly change or manipulate or be shamed for who they are because of societal pressures and all three of these ladies are absolutely unwilling to do so or to apologize for that. Double woot!
(Images courtesy of OmgYahoo, UsMagazine, and FitPerez)
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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Streetflash permalink
    November 13, 2012 7:03 pm

    “I would only lose weight if it affected my health or sex life, which it doesn’t.” AMEN

    • November 19, 2012 8:12 pm

      Anyone who thinks carrying significant excess weight is not going to affect his/her health is willingly deluding him/herself. And Adele makes no secret of her cigarette habit, which shows her concern for her health is minimal, at best.

      • Streetflash permalink
        November 20, 2012 9:31 pm

        Perhaps the cigarettes help her sex life….

  2. November 27, 2012 1:53 am

    Yes! I love Jennifer Lawrence’s attitude. I wrote about her as Katniss on my blog: http://bjutie.com/2012/11/18/bookfilm-club-hybrid-katniss-everdeen-and-the-new-bond-girl/

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