She’s too fat. No. She’s too thin.
Cellulite thighs. No. Skinny thighs.
There’s no pleasing anyone when you’re in the public eye. If you are a woman in Hollywood – every inch of your appearance is held up for public scrutiny.
I am as guilty as the next person. Like a schoolboy at a circus, it’s hard to resist glancing at the magazine images of the incredible morphing body shapes of Hollywood actresses. Whether it’s Renee Zellweger and her post-Bridget Jones homely-to-bony change – or Lindsay Lohan’s rapid shrinkage.
The thing is, whose business is it? And exactly what is the perfect size at which the magazines will cease their endless body analysis?
Let’s Have a Survey
iVillage is even surveying it’s readers – asking the question Is Teri Hatcher Too Thin? It seems everyone has an opinion, and even the size of her legs have come under scrutiny. This same site scrutinizes Nicole Richie:
When Simple Life star Nicole Richie started slimming down last year, reportedly by working out hard with a new trainer, we applauded her healthy new look. However in the past few months, the star has been looking increasingly gaunt.
Yes, first they applauded her, now they are telling her off.
Open Slather or Open Slander?
Is it okay to constantly make comments about one’s personal appearance? Or is this what a celebrity signs up for when they embark on a public career? After all, their career prospects are often made or broken by working the media and building a brand image of themselves. Any PR is good PR.
Too Skinny or Too Fat?
Both ends of the weight extreme (very thin or very fat) are unhealthy. But this isn’t about health is it? This is about the body cult and our superficial belief that outward appearance is everything.
This culture worships skinny but ridicules fat. It’s also a culture that is fed by TV sound bites and images with no context. One might get the impression that those “untouchable” celebrity figures can lose weight instantly at will. Yet we have no idea of the reality of their internal mental or emotional state. A tape measure or a set of scales is a poor measure of success.
Teri Hatcher has the right to go running a lot, and consequently, develop the body of a marathon runner. But how do those images play on the consciousness of so many impressionable young women, who believe that their entire self-worth is found in their body shape and size?
Compare Yourself With Yourself
How many people hold celebrities up as a yardstick – a ruler to measure themselves (or rather their bodies) by? If that’s the case, it’s not surprising that fat kids feel bad about themselves.
Does a public figure have a moral obligation to maintain a healthy weight? Did they sign up to be a role model – or have we put them on a pedestal and then complain when we don’t like what we see?
The drive to be skinny is as strong as ever, despite the advertising industry’s small foray into projecting “normal” women. Skinny is made out to be a sign of success or good fortune or even happiness.
However I suspect the gritty reality of this is quite the opposite. The overwhelming desire to be skinny at all costs isn’t necessarily about looking a certain way, but a means to exert some sort of control over the emotional turbulence that exists in one’s life. Just look at celebrity marriages and relationships – they are more like public train-wrecks than models of success or happiness.
Whose Business Is It?
So maybe it is our business – our business to feel sorry for them. After all – they are people too. A fat paycheck might provide fleeting happiness – but seems powerless to solve most of life’s woes. In much the same way a rail-thin body might give the impression of control – but who can really see what inner turmoil hides beneath?