Wednesday, January 28, 2009

And they wonder why 12-year olds are on diets

I, just like 98.6% or so of the women I know, have body image issues.

It is nothing profound, really. I don't have a plastic surgery fund. I don't cry when I look in the mirror. I've never been on a formal diet.

It is more along the genre of an occasional cursing out of my jeans, a grabbing at my stomach critically in the mirror when I get out of the stomach, a groaning at the occasional photo, a wishing that I had more time to spend at the gym.

But, really, I eat healthy, I don't get winded going up stairs, my boyfriend thinks I'm sexy and I fit into my Size 6 jeans, so I'm not doing too bad, right?

Apparently not, as again I was reminded today.

Here's a recent photo of Jessica Simpson:

Okay, so maybe not as toned as she has been in the past, but morbidly obese and unhealthy? Hardly.

Explain to me, then, how this is justified? In the New York Post??

Ugh. I have a hard time not just going on some tirade right now. You all know what I would say, anyways, about how she is still skinnier than the average woman, about how this has nothing to do with health despite the claims that our fat aversion is about that, about how we have just made countless other women who may have been proud to be the same size as Jessica Simpson feel worthless and ugly. It's all been said before. We've all heard the arguments about how we need to be media-literate, how we need to base our self-esteem in other areas, how we need to stop taking things so seriously and learn to take a joke-- but, still, I'm not sure how it is possible not to have comparisons like this feel like a slap in the face.

48 comments:

lspoon said...

It's really just a poor wardrobe decision. She should fire her stylist.

I must say for irony's sake that I just polished off a rice cake :)

Paula said...

do you know what infuriates me??? the fact the media would be the first to condone JS if she was looking anorexic (and I'm sure they have done in the past) but the second she puts on a bit of weight . . . suddenly she's a big fat cow.

i msy be on a perpetually unsuccessful diet and hate my body but i'm only like 130 pounds really, and a uk size 10 which is nothing bad. (in fact I'm more like an 8 on top). so why is it i feel bad when i see someone calling Jessica fat? oh yeah, cos I don't have the body confidence to pull off what she was wearing and I know I would look worse than that!

Yesh, thanks media.

Tigerlily said...

I agree with lspoon, bad outfit. She's not even close to the jabba-the-hutt version of her in the cartoon.

Deutlich said...

I finally got to a point where I was ok w/the way I looked -- because I AM okay the way I look. I do NOT need to be a size 2..

and then all this shit brought on some thoughts I thought I'd buried.

It's really ridiculous. She's wearing an unfortunate outfit - but she is, by NO MEANS, fat.

Peple need to get a grip

Arielle said...

Ew, what the hell? She's probably only a size 4, it's just that outfit is heinously unflattering. I would kill to look like that.

rs27 said...

Yes.

Oh I thought the question was if you thought Tony Romo sucks.

Jessica Simpson is hot. Period.

Emily said...

i completely and totally agree. such bullshit.

Crushed said...

She actually looks a bit like my ex in that photo...

The one I lived with for almost two years...

I think the point is, you can't win with the media. They ripped Calista Flockhart to shreds for being too thin.

Essentially Me said...

And then we wonder why women have such a fucked up body image. I hate mass media.

Daisy said...

I remember being outraged at the story line in Sex and the City when Samantha "gets fat" and they're all like, "oh no, honey, it's only because we know if you've let yourself get like that you must be really unhappy!" Please. And as far as I can see in this picture it's really her boobs that look like they're spilling out of her top... I'd give anything to put weight on there!!

S. said...

Yes, it's pretty brutal.

And the closer you live to the epicenter (Hollywood/LA)the more brutal it is.

(And don't think it's just girls and gays ripping themselves and others apart)

Princess Extraordinaire said...

This whole debacle pisses me off - as someone who suffered from anorexia I am incensced that people could make a joke out of her weight...it is truly no wonder this world is full of women and girls in peril over thier self esteem.

Tristan | the almost right word said...

You are so frickin right. The media imposes such an unnecessary standard on women. No wonder 12-year olds are on diets. No wonder we all suffer from one form or another of eating disorders. It's astonishing. And it's never ending.

Mandy said...

There is no happy medium. They berate people for being too thin, they make fun of people for being too fat. Its ridiculous and makes me so mad.

Jacqueline said...

I stopped reading celebrity magazines for this exact reason. It brings out unnecessary body issues.

It seems that the media is never satisfied. They are either criticizing women for being too fat or too thin.

What frightens me more than anything else is the age at which young girls become concerned with this type of thing. My little sister is 7 and she already has friends who are on diets.

insomniaclolita said...

I wanna curse those mean bad mouthing people too, no matter how much I know they should be ignored, I cant help but feeling insecure sometimes..

the frog princess said...

I've been on plenty of body image tirades in the past and won't repeat them all again, but I have to be honest and admit...

...when I scrolled down to that photo the first thought that popped into my head was "damn! she's put on weight!" Not that she looks horrible or is a big fat cow, but that she's definitely added a bit of smoosh around the middle. When we're so saturated with photos of celebrities at their best and worst, it's difficult not to notice.

Though looking at the photo again, I think it is a combination of the afore-mentioned bad outfit selection (stylist should SO be fired!), and also a bad camera angle--I think the business of the background mixed with the business of the belts and seams on the pants is exceptionally unflattering. If you look at her thighs, they're still the size of my calves, and I'm a size 8.

myself said...

has she gained weight? yep...probably, she was a bit too thin and was obviously working out like crazy before...I personally like this her better than the skinny her.

And it's mostly like everyone else just said, unfortunate wardrobe choice. She has to wear a supportive bra to hike up the girls (I hear her pain) so that sort of doesn't move if ya get me, but that belt didn't help the sitch and neither did the high waisted jeans. Bad combo. no belt, she probably wouldn't have looked like she had rolls (I only WISH I had rolls like hers, so I'm not criticizing!)

The press is just crappy. No wonder girls are messed up....

Shieldmaiden96 said...

Speaking as an intelligent, well read woman of size:

The cartoonist, and anyone else who finds her 'fat' can eat a bag of dicks.

There. I feel better now.

Blaez said...

at my work there is a group of girls who are very skinny and stay on these starvation diets. they talk in the lunchroom about how fat and huge they are while nibbling on a carrot amongst themselves (no joke).

this shit about j simpson and the rest of the women "rollmodels" and the media's bashing of them i'm sure is the reason why these women are obsessed with being deathly thin.

tmamone said...

Jessica Simpson actually looks good in that top picture!

I can't stand girls that are too skinny. Gotta have some meat on them bones!

ablogofherown.wordpress.com said...

Every time I see something like this I just want to scream.

Katelin said...

well said, i totally agree. the weight standards are so ridiculous, ugh.

Sheila said...

Ugh, that kind of crap ticks me off! As both a woman of size and a mother to a daughter, that kind of comparison burns my butt.

My 11 year mentioned how one of the girls in her class never eats lunch - she says she's not hungry and also mentions how well her jeans fit. This of course sets up informative conversations with my daughter. She does not quite yet understand the body image thing, but I know it may only be a matter of time.

S'Mat said...

don't worry! the opposite of thin is the next in thing... as the economies sour, our sociological response will be to view larger people as more virile. pinups during ww2 were slightly more abundant, and again it will be that carrying one's wealth around with them will be viewed as sexy.
this does not bode well for me, as what at first may appear to be a sixpack reveals itself as my spine pushing against my abdomen upon closer inspection.
i'm SO ugly!

Bayjb said...

I do have to say, that photo of Jessica Simpson is very not flattering and neither are those pants. But, I think that cartoon is very out of line and inappropriate. We all have some body issues, even if they're misguided. It's not fair to go that far in the paper.

Babs said...

RIGHT. ON.

Hope said...

A-fucking men. Its ridiculous to call her fat when she clearly isn't. Has she put on some weight? Sure. Is she wearing an unfortunate outfit. Yep. But hardly do those fat make. Sheesh!

kacijohanna said...

I have to agree with lspoon... this is a simple case of unflattering clothing. What's sad is that the people in the media attacking her have nothing better (or can't get their minds around) more important things to write and/or draw ridiculous cartoons about.

Michelle said...

It's really difficult to have a GOOD self-image as a woman and things like this do not help.

Ant said...

30 comments and counting: the oxygen of publicity.

So many women, so many body issues, so many unhealthy celebrity-gossip interests, so many papers sold (broadsheets have gotta sell too...)

Everyone shut up, stop eating cakes, and get yourselves down to the gym. (And don't read Grazia on the exercise bike neither...)

:-)

Lauren said...

UGH. That comic is ridiculous. It's true, she might not be as toned as she once was, but she's far from overweight. She's still skinnier than many girls. It's no wonder so many people have body issues...

verybadcat said...

I guess what kills me is that the media has this obsession with weight, but the men I know? Prefer a size 8 or 10 woman who is happy and healthy to a size 2 stick. Us office girls have all put on maybe 5-10 pounds over the winter, and the guys are all about it. So why the media obsession? WHY?

Jess said...

The New York Post is not exactly a dignified, respectable, trustworthy newspaper. This is just further evidence of their trashiness.

Dubious Duchess said...

If she wasn't bulimic before...

I am really worried that this is something that's never going to change. How are we supposed to tune it out?

Larissa said...

Ugh...media commentary like that makes me so mad. For my own sanity and self-worth, I try to steer clear of the magazines and other media that promote that.

EF said...

I would have focused on the two belts, myself. But I'm just saying. Just one of them is ugly, but to double belt in leopard?

Where's the what not to wear crowd when you need it?

sarah said...

How horrible is everyone being about this whole thing? Shes bigger than she used to be - sure - but shes not fat! She just made the mistake of wearing high waisted jeans!

Tasha said...

Great post. You should send it to the Post or whoever the idiots are that published that cartoon.

All Mod Cons said...

I'm more worried about her fashion crimes. Those earrings are hideous and those jeans make her look 30 years older than she is.

Curves? Yes please. Long bum jeans? I think I'll pass.

S'Mat said...

important update:

http://ca.lifestyle.yahoo.com/fashion-beauty/articles/archive/bang/ashlee-simpson-s-jessica-defence-2009-01-28

take that critics! why worry about souring relations with pakistan by bombing the shit out of them (our allies) when we've got weight issues over here!!
it could be said that we're not treating our women very fairly either (and that blame is DEFINITELY shared - if not mostly perpetrated by - other women).

Tough Girl 101 said...

I totally agree - bad wardrobe decision, but she's not fat by any means. That totally infuriates me. I'm posting about this at a later date, if you don't mind.

SoMi's Nilsa said...

Ya know, I still think she's beautiful. Really, whose business is it to care about her extra pounds. Stupid.

BTW, I might have caught a glimpse of your deleted post in my reader. Hang in there honey. You have good reason to feel overwhelmed. We can't be perfect girlfriends/co-workers/friends/moms/wives all the time. Let yourself slack a little in order to get things done.

miss button said...

Not the greatest outfit? Maybe.
Fat? NO.

This makes me so angry. My whole family have 'body issues' on some level. And this certainly doesn't help.

Grrrr.

Daisy said...

Ooh - I can't believe she wore that!!! And the big full hair doesn't help her look thin either.

I actually sit on the fence with this debate. I don't think people should feel pressured to be too thin or unhealthy but health wise it IS important to be at a healthy weight and not overweight. Saying she's still thinner than most women doesn't mean she's not overweight (but we can't really tell from this picture if she is overweight or not - the picture is a bad angle and makes her look a little swollen) but the average American is too heavy and so she SHOULD be smaller than the average American in order to be healthy.

My guess is she is probably a great weight but the picture is very unflattering and makes her appear much heavier than she is - which is why the cartoon attacked her. Definitely not fair but I don't think women should take cartoons which are obvious exaggerations so seriously.

I see photos criticizing people for being too thin all of the time - and I see before and after photos commending actresses for gaining weight.

We may still have a long way to go with the media and the body image they encourage - but I think we are making progress and the media (aside from cartoons) is doing a better job as of late. Milan even put a BMI limit so their models couldn't be too thin.

Surfergrrl said...

It's the outfit. It's kind of strange. But in any case, I avoid all mean-spirited blogs like go fug yourself or perez. It's modern day bullying, and just because they are making fun of celebrities, it doesn't make it ok.

Michael said...

The love of my life has body image issues, so the unreasonableness of this area of society gets under my skin too.

It seems to me that it is within the power of women to stop the madness-if Vogue or Glamour or US Weekly suffered a 40% drop in sales when their cover models were unhealthy or their articles were hateful, they'd get the message.

However, the unusually intelligent subgroup of women who blog are probably not a large enough group to effect that sort of change.

Mrs4444 said...

Ouch! That's pretty mean! Wow.