By Ophira Edut
“I don’t get this obsession with weight,” Eva Longoria Parker tells Glamour (February, 2009). The actress, whose tight outfits inspired tabloids to speculate that she’s pregnant, is the latest actress to pretend that she just doesn’t understand the whole “thin is in” fuss.
It’s a party line that was echoed by Heidi Klum and Pete Wentz, when a more zaftig Jessica Simpson was pictured at a recent event. Leave her alone, stop focusing on people’s looks, isn’t it about inner beauty, blah blah blah.
To me this is just a load of the same Hollywood crap. You work in an industry that demands you fit a tightly-scripted image, and that can pick from a hearty crop of size-zero replacements if your ass gets too big. And you’re telling me you don’t get what the big deal is? Suuuure.
That’s like me, a White Jew, saying, “I don’t get the obsession with race. We’re all human. It’s just a skin color.” Well, the very reason I can say that is because I live in a world of white privilege, where I have the luxury of being “color-blind.” I’m not a target of racism, so how would I know its realities firsthand?
If you happen to be Heidi Klum, or anyone who fits those pre-scripted images–usually with the secret weapon of a team of chefs, fitness trainers, and plastic surgeons–you add insult to injury by claiming weight is not a big deal. The remaining 98 percent of the population is busting our butts trying look like you, and we often feel like crap because we don’t. So I don’t need Heidi telling me to love myself the way I am, any more than Michelle Obama would want my advice on how to be a powerful Black woman.
I would have a lot more respect if one of these actresses (besides Kate Winslet) had the guts to say,”The media is screwed, the body image standards are horrifyingly narrow, and I participate in this industry because I love the work, I love the paycheck, and I love the attention. It’s screwed up, and I still do it.” At least we’d have some honesty, instead of another bullshit platitude.