The Latest Body Image Controversy: Should We Even Be Discussing Celebs' Weight At All?

We all get mad when a tabloid or blog takes aim at a female celeb for some (real or imagined) weight gain. (Think Jessica Simpson or Kirstie Allie.) I mean, how dare they, right? Women are supposed to be able to love their bodies at any size.

But what about the stories about male celebs’ weight? The tabs were a’buzz about Gerard Butler’s supposed “gut” and “man boobs” last week. Is it OK to pick guys apart, just because they’re not…us?

And what about pointing out how skinny a female star is? A few days ago, the fabulous health blogger over at posted a picture of famously thin fashion stylist Rachel Zoe and wrote a post about how looking at that picture made her feel sort of sad. The post was totally heart-felt and compassionate—but some of the readers  weren’t havin’ it: Why is it OK to talk negatively about a woman being too skinny, if it’s not OK to point out that someone’s too heavy? they asked. Besides, they said, why are we focusing on and picking apart stars’ bodies at all?

It’s natural to want to gossip whether it’s about celebrities or people we actually know—but I tend to agree. I think body snarking and harmful “fat talk” can happen on either side of the scale, and it’s especially important or girls and women who are struggling with body image themselves to opt out. Thoughts?


tweetTweet This

3 Responses to The Latest Body Image Controversy: Should We Even Be Discussing Celebs' Weight At All?

  1. Trish says:

    I think it’s a good point to make that we shouldn’t be tearing aparts men’s bodies, just as we shouldn’t be tearing apart women’s bodies either. Granted I’m not exactly a guru of knowing what men think and feel, but I think that it hurts them just as much as it hurts some of us to be ripped apart about how we look (even if they don’t show it). It’s not fair to judge another’s body simply because it’s not perfect — chances are, the people writing this stuff and taking these pictures aren’t perfect themselves.

    As for hating on girls that are skinny, I don’t think that’s fair either. Sure, heavy girls have gotten a bad rap and have been criticized a lot more than skinny girls, but it’s equally as unfair to put someone’s body out there simply to criticize it. If we want to promote the acceptance of all body types, then you can’t replace pictures of heavy girls with pictures of skinny girls and rip them apart. To do that doesn’t solve anything, it simply shifts the focus of the criticism from one group to another.

  2. Tamara says:

    It isn’t PC to tear apart anybody’s figure-male, female, famous or not-but we have to acknowledge that most celebrities are celebrities because of their looks. Not because of their body shape, per se, but because of a cute mouth, big eyes, pretty hair…in essence, a whole slew of superficial measures. So where do you draw the line? We can’t say that Sarah Jessica Parker is too skinny, but we can say we dislike her nose? Would everyone rush to the defense of America Ferrara if she didn’t have charming eyes and a radiant smile?

    It’s impossible to be entirely consistent with our ideals when it comes to celebrities. Inner beauty just doesn’t cut it on a television screen. In my opinion, though it isn’t an opinion shared by many, weight is one of the safer measures to criticize in a public figure. At least weight is within a certain /range/ of control, whereas most other aspects of a person’s looks are not. Take that Glamour post you linked: as soon as someone brought up body shape there was an immediate protective backlash. But what if, instead of focusing on thinness, the author had said “Rachel Zoe has weird cheek bones.” That’s a blow to the self-esteem of every woman in the country with similar facial structure, but would there be outrage? No.

  3. Sarah Jio says:

    Hey Sunny! Interesting post and convo. And the comments were really interesting on Vitamin G, weren’t they? I’m on the fence here. Body snarking = horrid. But I do think the Rachael Zoe topic brought up an interesting discussion about healthy weight. The photo definitely provoked a gut-wrenching-and sad-reaction for me, and after all she’s spoken out about in the press about “not having a problem,” it presented an opp to discuss. At the end of the day, I don’t believe celebs deserve a protective bubble. But they do deserve respect. Anyway, I’m also sick of all the tabloids picking apart Jessica Simpson, et all. That’s why we so rarely dip our toe in the water of celeb bods on Vitamin G, and if we do, it’s only to call out something positive. Anyway, happy long weekend, my dear! Love your fab blog here. Will do some more linking to you. xoxo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sunny Sea Gold

About the Author

Sunny Sea Gold is a media-savvy advocate and commentator specializing in binge eating disorder, cultural obsessions around food and weight, and raising children who have a healthy body image.