Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Rant: Another celebrity caves to the Hollywood stereotype

I always look forward to the new issue of US Weekly. Who doesn’t love unnamed sources and somewhat shady reporting sometimes? It’s the perfect balance to my other reputable magazines, such as Vanity Fair.

Anyhow, the latest US Weekly definitely caught my attention and not for the right reason. Jennifer Love Hewitt, who I loved on Party of Five, is on the cover standing like a Stepford Wife declaring that she lost 18 pounds magically in 10 weeks. Now everyone can see how thin and statuesque she is compared to her old body. The cover and story photos gloss over how amazing she looks now, perfectly styled and put together, compared to how she used to dress, which sadly is how I dress on the weekends sometimes. I guess in real life, I’m the fugly version of her too.

She says in the magazine that she did it to feel better about herself and that I believe, somewhat. Who doesn’t want to feel good about how they look? After waking up on the bathroom floor one morning after a long night out, I swore that I would change my lifestyle and since then, I have. I work out, I eat better (or honestly try to) and take care of myself. And weight loss came along with that. But I did it because when I looked in the mirror every morning, I wanted to think I was a hottie rather than be embarrassed at how I look. And if Jennifer honestly did that for the same reason, then good for her.

But there are coincidences in timing here that I can’t help but trip on. The unflattering Hawaii photos in December, her declaration to People magazine to “stop calling me fat!” and her scrutiny back of the media for their focus on self-image, yet now, a few months later she’s back in the news for this brand-new body that seems to exemplify everything she told them media to f*ck off on before.

The magazine doesn’t say what size she’s at now, but I can’t help but feel that it perpetuates the stereotype that women who wear a larger size, such as a size 12 or above are always the “before” picture in these magazines. Kirsten Johnston from Music and Lyrics and 3rd Rock from the Sun was a size 12 at her “heaviest” and because of a medical condition lost 60 pounds. To be fair, this is a different situation but the way she talked about being a size 12/14 is what upsets me. Saying that was her size at her “lowest point” where she ate whatever she wanted and drank beer all the time doesn’t show that a size 12 can still be a healthy size, even if some people have gotten there using unhealthy methods. 

I proudly declare that I wear a size 12 and I’m not unhealthy or at my “lowest” point in health. The only way I can get any lower than a size 10 would be if you cracked off part of my hip bones because I got the “hips” in the family. I am petite, curvy and “full-figured” but I am not ashamed of the size I wear, nor do I feel the need to torture and deny myself everything so I can crash diet another 18 pounds off my frame. If I feel like my overall package is healthy and fit, who the hell cares if I wear a size 12 or 6? I could actually be healthier than some of the size 6 women running around.

So when I see women who declare they wore a size 12/14 “before” they lost all this weight, it says to me that because I’m stranded on “size 12 island” that I will never achieve the Hollywood glamour that they have with the help of starving themselves and exercising 14 hours a day. Who has time for that? I want to eat!

Now this is only my opinion and I could be very wrong in my assumptions, but it’s always disappointing to me to see a woman as self-confident and secure as Jennifer cave to what the media says is healthy and beautiful. I’m not embarrassed by how I look so now it’s time to grab a drink and settle back on “size 12 island,” and watch the sun set, and clap.

48 comments:

Rachel said...

I went the same way after I had Diana. I could get down to before size, but i would have to eat salads for the rest of my life and never stop working out. I decided that I would go with being healthy and enjoying my life.

Arielle said...

Amen sista!

EP said...

So true! I'm at the point, like you, where I can't go any size smaller because of my hips. And because of my boobs. And I'm OK with that. My main focus is just to be healthy.

Thanks for sharing this!

Ashley D said...

This is such a great post! I wish more celebrities would learn to embrace their bodies and act as role models for the rest of America. It's so sad when you see women who live unhealthy lives just to be skinny.

Stephanie said...

I didn't understand Jennifer Love Hewitt's cover either. It just seemed really contradictory--"Don't call me fat!" then "Look how thin I am now!" sort of thing.

No matter the tag size, it's rare for some one to feel really great the way they look. When I was 10 pounds lighter than I am now, I wanted to be 7 pounds lighter, when I was even thinner, I didn't "appreciate" it. Body image is just a rough thing. I just try to be as healthy as I can be.

thegoodnamesaretaken said...

I totally agree with what you said. My weight has gone up and down but I almost always wear the same size. There are a lot of things that go into what size you wear, not just the amount of fat on your body.

The Modern Gal said...

This is something I've struggled with too: for several years I've not been happy with what I see in the mirror, but I don't want to force myself to lose weight because everyone expects a 5-foot-3 gal to be a size 6. I am trying to lose weight right now, but only to the point where I feel better about me, to hell with everyone else!

Alexa said...

preach on sister preach on! you make so many valid points in this post.

JLH doesn't look natural on the cover at all. i think that's what bothers me the most.

Vanessa said...

You called it! It's really just about being healthy, not a number on the inside of your clothing.

Blaez said...

honey, i'm working on getting back down to a size 12 with you.

i am broad shouldered and broad hipped. when i graduated highschool i was 10. when i got married the 1st time i was a 12. i would love to be back down there and again and that's my goal.

some people might look "ok" with a size 2 body but i know my man aint lookin at them, he wants meat on my bones not just bones!

*hugs* we rock!

bianca said...

*claps*

My friend and I totally had the same conversation yesterday. It's ridiculous. And I think she looked better before.

Wickedly Scarlett said...

Well, I do think that she looks great now, just like I thought she looked great before. She's a gorgeous woman and it would take a lot more than 18 pounds to change that. What I do hate is that she's turned this into a media payday. If she had done it quietly and really for her own benefit, then would she really feel the need to go on the cover of a magazine and proclaim herself the owner of a hot "new" bod? It's so sad.

Cheryl said...

Sizes are stupid anyway. Especially women's sizes b/c they are SO inconsistent. Weight is stupid too...it could be muscle or dense bones or who knows what. It's all about how you look and more importantly feel.

When I was in college, I was watching Friends and realized I never could be as skinny as Monica, without removing a few ribs. You comment about your hips reminded me of that.

Cass said...

I read an article the other day about a new documentary coming out that's about the modeling world and they follow this one girl who's gained a tiny bit of weight and become a size 4 (!) and then all of a sudden couldn't get jobs anymore and casting agents were calling her the 'obese' model. seriously! what is wrong with this world?!

jamie said...

I read that magazine, too. While I was stuck in a Milwaukee Airport. And I agree with you--I thought that article was interesting, and although she probably couldn't just come out and say the media attention was making her feel like she needed to drop some weight, I think it probably had an impact--I mean, I feel like that would happen to any girl with a shaky self esteem...I dunno. Poor girl.It's ridiculous. Why can't we just be healthy and happy?

jamie said...

I read that magazine, too. While I was stuck in a Milwaukee Airport. And I agree with you--I thought that article was interesting, and although she probably couldn't just come out and say the media attention was making her feel like she needed to drop some weight, I think it probably had an impact--I mean, I feel like that would happen to any girl with a shaky self esteem...I dunno. Poor girl.It's ridiculous. Why can't we just be healthy and happy?

jamie said...
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Jenn said...

I'm with Vanessa. As long as you feel healthy and comfortable, I don't see what a stupid number on your pants has to do with anything.

Mademoiselle Frou-Frou said...

what's strange is that back in December, JLH said she was a size 2...so what is she now??
obviously she was influenced by the media scrutiny, and there's no reason to deny it.
plus, she gets the benefits of Photoshop in US Weekly.
xo

lifeintheleftlane said...

It's sad that Jlove buckled under the pressure of media scrutiny. Hopefully she did in fact lose weight for herself and not because she felt pressured to do so.

The whole thing with clothing sizes is stupid too. I very rarely wear the same size in different stores. I can range from a 4-8/10. I think designers just slap a number on clothes to give people a sense of security that they are a size 4. Whatever.

laurwilk said...

I agree with all that you have said. And as women, I think we should all work on judging a little bit less!

Now I just need to work on that whole 'being healthy' thing. Damn candy and beer and large extra cheese pizzas with cheesy breadsticks are so stinkin' tempting!

cass. said...

i love this post. well written, well said.

also, did you know that she's currently the covergirl for health magazine (online article here: http://living.health.com/2008/08/14/jennifer-love-hewitt/)?

i'm just so perplexed by what message she's wanting to send. first she stands proud at having a womanly figure. now she's losing a ton of weight and talking about how she got her body back? i used to be a big fan of hers, as a decent actress, as a woman...but now? i'm just not sure what to think of her.

LBluca77 said...

You are completely right, when the media was calling her fat she was all I am woman hear me roar then she falls into that Hollywood trap that you have to be a stick figure and she is trying to say it is for her wedding. Maybe that is true, but not the whole story.

http://lbluca77.blogspot.com/

Katelin said...

you are awesome. i wrote a rant similar to this one during top model last season with the "plus size" models that are a size 10. yeah it's ridiculous. hollywood standards are crazy and hopefully one day we'll all wake up and see that.

Lauren said...

I want to hug you for this post! It really is fantastic and NEEDED to be said! I wrote a similar article like this for a local newspaper because I feel so strongly about it.

Women who are a size 12 should never think of it as a low point or too heavy. It's a fantastic size, there's nothing wrong with it. I hate how Hollywood portrays being a size 0 or 2 as glamorous. Show some curves!

As for JLH, I'm equally as confused about her. I thought it was great in Dec how she spoke out against people calling her fat (because, my god, she was NOT!). I liked that she was proud of her size.

Now if she wanted to lose weight for herself, like you said, awesome. That would be great. But DON'T FLAUNT IT. her being on the cover verifies that she thought she was too big. She gave into the press and it makes me sad.

Anyway, great post and great opinion on the issue. Sorry I was a little ranty in my comment. :)

Mandy said...

As a plus size gal this made me mad. I hate that people feel the need to be a certain size to be accepted. I am more concerned about being healthy than being able to say I wear a certain size.

You rock, great post!

Mandy said...
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Maris said...

Agree, JLH is a sellout, and a traitor. If she "didn't think she was fat" before, then why would she lose 18 pounds? Stupid hollywood...

You have SUCH an amazing body image - I get way too caught up in the number on the scale sometimes but really, what matters is being healthy and feeling good!

Kyla Bea said...

I think one of the worst things about the Jennifer Love Hewitt thing is that it seems like she’s had to tone down her media criticism because of fear of bad press for her projects. Not only is there only one acceptable body type in Hollywood, but you’re also not allowed to acknowledge it.

Miss Grace said...

I'm pretty happy on 12-Island myself.

thatShortChick said...

*loud clapping* i was thinking the EXACT same thing when i saw the cover going around the internet.

i kept thinking 'hypocrite.'

megkathleen said...

Thank you! It's so easy to get caught up in that fake world and feel bad about yourself. It's nice to read this and be reminded that it's not about how you look, but how you feel and your health.

brookem said...

i totally agree with you. i think the media got the best of her (and in a way, you cant really blame her). but to say that she's happy with her body no matter what back then, and then to go and lose the weight and be on the cover for that? i think it's kind of going back on her word.

Chicago Girl said...

its all about How To Look Good Naked!

Maxie said...

I would pay someone all the money I had if i could eat anything I wanted and be a size 12 or 14. that would be pretty awesome in my mind.

Tipp said...

I think I have finally hit the mindset where I am more concerned with what I put in my mouth rather than wondering if how much I put in my mouth with affect my waist. It is hard road for all women I am sure.

If Jennifer L Hewitt is fat I am an alien. poor thing.

Dabby said...

This is the first time I've stumbled across your blog. I agree with you completely, a size 12 is not fat, not in the slightest. I would be thrilled to be a 12. Also, when I was eating whatever I wanted to and not working out, I was a size 22. Good lord.

Kayleigh said...

Thanks for writing this. What a reality check. I too read that article and stared at the cover for awhile, all while thinking what a load of crap it all was.

You rock my socks.

Angela said...

I definitely don't think that a size 12 is fat, and I wouldn't have guessed you were a size 12, either! As long as a person is healthy, a size 12 or a size 2 can look good.

Angela said...

*** But they have to LOOK healthy! A size 2 can look sickly, as can a size 12.

Foxie said...

So true, even though everyone seems to assume I have it easy because I am tiny. :) Honestly, it's annoying. Just because I am small doesn't mean I have escaped all of the weight issues every girl is plagued with at some point in her life. I can still look in the mirror and be unhappy some days, no matter how tiny I am.

PS - I do love my Uggs. ;)

LJ said...

I know this comment is kind of late, but I TOTALLY agree with what you wrote! I just saw this US Magazine in the store as well! I couldn't believe, just weeks ago she was defending her weight and now her she is flaunting her new figure! She looks like a hypocrite.

K said...

standing ovation!!!

You are so right with everything you said. I mean when is reality going to sink into the media?

K said...

P.S.

I like my hips and you made me like them even more!

G+D said...

"Watch the sun set and clap" eh? You must be back in Wisconsin. Look me up and we can go out for a fabulous dinner, have too much to drink, and still feel good about ourselves and our bodies in the morning. Only...let's leave out that waking up on the bathroom floor thing, kay?

L Sass said...

That US Weekly article infuriated me, too! I understand wanting to get fit and be at your best, by the whole point of Jennifer Love Hewitt's comments last year was that she was FINE at a size six or whatever she was before.

She totally went back on it!

JP said...

I'm on size 12 island with you and dang proud of it. It's taken me 2 years to get there!

redstaplernation said...

Beautifully written :o)

I posted a piece of paper in the staff lounge once for people to sign up for their staff t-shirts - please write your name and size. Someone objected because she didn't think "the world" should know what size shirt she wears.

Hello, honey. We can all see YOU. Why does it matter what your tag says?