But, let’s take a step back. These women are so far from “fat,” that I’m afraid they’ve landed in the wrong article. Rachel Weisz might only be described as “curvy” when with child, Evalengline Lilly is as athletic and toned as they come, and Mandy Moore is. . . Mandy Moore. Are we that skewed that these women are the only ones we can identify as “fat”? (The answer is “yes,” I’m afraid.)
Millea makes some interesting points and challenges us to confront the status-quo assumption of thinner-is-better. She asks, “Seriously, would you prefer to get a Grey’s Anatomy lesson from an hourglassed Katherine Heigl or a reedy Ellen Pompeo?” Point taken, but even here, we can’t look at their bodies without objectifying them, without bringing it back to sex. There’s no beating around the bush here:
You see that look in the faces of formerly fleshy sexpots who have morphed into pinched, prematurely aged superwaifs. What do they do for fun? Food and sex are appetites inextricably linked in the human psyche. One could speculate that for those obsessed with not eating, even the boyfriend’s salami goes the way of the bread basket.The message? Don’t starve yourself down, not because it isn’t healthy or because it irreparably damages your psyche and your will to live or even because it sets up an (often deadly) unrealistic standard for your fans, but because it’s just (shoulders raised) not so sexy. Hit ‘em where it hurts, and, maybe, we’ll tackle some ground.
Hillea realizes the difficulty of positing a world taken over by the “lush,” “curvy,” forms of Johanssen and Zeta-Jones (now that we’re on the topic, are they really larger than a Size 6?):
Of course, it’s easy for anyone who isn’t an aspiring actress to beat the drum for weight gain. Our careers don’t depend on being a jean size smaller than the next girl. As one male studio executive who asked not to be named says, “Do we really want stars to look like the rest of us? If actresses represented the way the public really looks, the mother from Gilbert Grape would be a sex symbol.”It seems that that’s the ultimate fear—if we accept Drew Barrymore as body-beautiful, then we’re just a couple of steps away from accepting obesity (in others and ourselves). Not to mention the fact that 500-pound Bonnie Grape is no more representative of her public constituents than Kate Bosworth, Nicole Richie, or the shrinking Keira Knightley.
I’m always interested in journalism that confronts body stereotypes, and the premise here is pure. Even the article’s subtitle, “In an industry rife with painfully thin stick figures, women with some meat on their bones are—lucky for us—rising to the top” offers a respectable purpose and heralds writing I’d like to read. But, sprinkled with not-so-fat celebrity examples, black-and-white thinking (see quote above), and an accompanying graphic (see below) that all but refutes anything said, the take-home message is confusing and elusive at best.