Friday, May 26, 2006

Destiny's Diet

In US Weekly magazine’s “Hottest Bodies at Every Age” feature, Beyonce Knowles occupies one of the 20-something slots. Ms. Knowles, 24, reports how she recently lost 20 pounds to star in the upcoming feature, Dreamgirls: “I literally fasted. I drank a drink that gave m all the vitamins I needed, and I didn’t eat for 14 days and then I just drank protein
shakes. . . . It’s not healthy but it was necessary.”


This, from the girl, who along with Jennifer Lopez and Mariah Carey, ushered in a brief, but now defunct, period of female-body acceptance, where (moderate) curves were lauded, in lieu of the form of the waif.

At first, I was disappointed—the last thing we need is to be highlighting and promoting unhealthy, unnatural ways of losing weight. On the other hand, at least it’s honest. Too often, we’re exposed to unrealistic and incomplete messages about how to be thin (see the same issue’s report of Janet Jackson’s recent weight loss, “I take off weight very quickly. I’m very fortunate that way.”) Like most of us would have to do, Beyonce has to starve herself in order to look like the movie star she is.

And, by the way, why was a 20-pound weight-loss to play a member of another girl group, “necessary”?


ps22 said...

I agree, totally unnecessary. But I did just read something that said she didn't like the way she looked and is currently trying to put the weight back on. But still ridiculous she thought she needed to do it to look like the character in the first place. Aren't movies fictional interpretation anyway? But then again, maybe if I stopped handing my $ to "US Weekly" and the like, she wouldn't feel the need to do that.

FAT BITCH said...

Hi DrStaceyNY :)

Good luck with your book idea. Something like this is needed in this world.

I speak as one who has suffered with an eating disorder since I became a teen and have been on nearly every diet you can name.

Until our society stops brainwashing us to believe that the thin woman is beautiful, wonderful at everything she does and intelligent and the fat one is ugly, lazy, clumsy and stupid we will have more and more young girls and women struggling with their body images, particularly true among the celebrity women.

I'm happy to be placing you upon my list of blogs. :)

Fat Pants said...

Beyonce was overweight???

PalmTreeChick said...

It's sad that you have to be stick thin in to be "successful" in Hollywood. While I know that the image these women, and even muscular men, portray to teens and pre-teens can be detrimental to their health and help them define what they believe beauty is, I can't help but want to look like that myself. My first thought upon reading this post was "where can I get that drink?"

I just wish these young girls didn't fall into these traps. I wish there were better role models for them.

allisonsky said...

Hi Doctor Stacey,

I was always very thin, to the envy of my friends and never thought about my weight. Even through my first pregnancy I enjoyed gaining the weight, ignored the stretch marks, and never thought about what my body would look like "afterwards". After my first child I was elated and ecstatic; except when I looked at the size 12 in the mirror. Then I would cry and get very upset. I soon had another baby but was more aware of my weight the second time around. Now it has been 2 years since my second baby and I weigh myself every morning and am very self conscious of my 120 pound five foot self. I know I look good for my 34 years of age and 2 kids but I just want my old body back!!!! It is a constant struggle with food and exercise and I feel I will never be satisfied with the way I look again. I binge for a while (no purging) then don't eat and am hungry for a while, etc... losing and gaining back a merely 5 pounds. EVERYONE that I talk to that has had kids feels this way......... Eating disorder after children??????? Thought it might be a good topic for your book.

Haley-O said...

Allisonsky, I'm totally in the same boat. I was tiny before I got pregnant (though I didn't even know it!), and now I'm not....

sigh...Hollywood is insane....It's really sad.

I do know that the image of the sickly woman (as the ideal of feminity) has it's roots in the 19th century--alongside the "hysteria" craze and Freud. Women wanted to look thin because illness translated to beauty and femininity. Many of them didn't eat so that they'd appear sick and, thus, stylishly feminine. Susan Sontag's book *Illness as Metaphor* talks about women in the nineteenth century and tuberculosis. You may want to check that out! It's very interesting.

Stefanie said...

I agree and I also read that the director didn't even tell her she should lose weight. She apparently just wanted to. Why? Because people refer to her as curvy? I linked to you on my blog. I think what you have to say is very important.

allisonsky said...

Hey, you got to hand it to Britney Spears. Once one of the hottest bodies in Hollywood; she could give a crap what she looks like now. It has almost been 2 years since her first pregnancy and she has proudly displayed her fat bottom, tummy, and thighs to the world, before, during, and after pregnancy. She is now pregnant again and still eating cheetos, fries, and junk food in front of the world. Almost as if to say, "yeah, keep judging me, I am happy, even with my loser husband and could give a "bleep" about what I look like." Maybe we should all take the Britster's attitude and we would all be more happy with ourselves.

drstaceyny said...

Good points--all of them!

Fat bitch--I wonder if, recognizing the effects of culture/the media/etc., it then becomes our responsibility to "brainwash" ourselves to believe something else. I'm hoping that we can work on this from a cultural level (one of the goals of the book), but I also think it's important to address personally--though, perhaps, easier said than done! Thanks for the link!

And, to answer your question, fat pants--yes, Beyonce was overweight. She was huge. ; )

Also, thanks Allisonsky : ) for raising an interesting point about these problems developing post-pregnancy. It's helpful (not just for me, but for others out there) to hear stories like yours. What is not helpful is our fascination with stars who lose pregnancy weight in record time (e.g., Heidi Klum prior to her 8-week-post-pardum Victoria's Secret catwalk). This is unrealistic, unless you happen to be. . . Heidi Klum.

Shaunta said...

I'm sure it's irrelevant...but I thought I'd point out that Britney Spear's first baby isn't almost two. He's not even one. I think his birthday is in September.

I don't think the opposite of being obsessed with your looks is not giving a damn about them. That seems a little unfair.

littlem said...

I'm late to comment but this is a followup of sorts.

She was photographed in "Star" or "Us" or one of those erudite rags recently, with some poll, comparing her to the way she looked before and after losing all the weight -- looking every inch the star she is in both photos.

37% apparently preferred her the way she was previously; 52% preferred her now skinnier look. (No, I don't know who was doing the math either.)

So the message here, girls (and women, and people), is starve yourself, pass out, do whatever you have to do to get the approval of 52% of the populace, or your career is going down the Valley of the Damned.

Now I work in NYC, so I'm sure my perspective is way warped. But I'm not so sure that attitude hasn't trickled down into the workplaces of normal people.

I read somewhere recently that there are HR execs who use a person's weight as an "indicator of ability and willingness to exert self-corrective behaviors". Yes, that's right, your weight and your looks have now been officially tied to your ability to work. At an office job. Not lifting stuff. Or running track.

Can we imagine that NOT feeding a rising incidence of eating disorders (no pun intended)?

How does everyone else feel about that?