Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Celebrity weight watchers

I won't be the first person to rant about the intense media attention we pay to celebrities' weights, and I won't be the last. But this little video really bugged me almost as much as the scene in the Sex and the City movie where Samantha (Kim Cattrall) has gained 10 pounds, and the rest of the characters act like she should put on a burqa and have her jaws wired shut.

In this case, the video suggests that actress Demi Moore has gained 15 pounds. "Is there more of Demi to love?" croons the voiceover. The tone of voice makes it clear that this would not be a good thing.

I pity any woman (or man, for that matter) who is subjected to this kind of scrutiny. It feels to me like a form of externalized self-loathing--things we wouldn't dream of saying to or about an ordinary person may be said about a celeb because, hey, she's fair game.

We learn, from the culture that produces such relentless trash, to say these things to ourselves, about ourselves. Videos like this feed the nasty little voice that lives in our heads, telling us you're fat, you're ugly, you're old, you're worthless. For some of us, this voice can become deafening. For some, it stays relatively quiet.

But you know what? Even a whisper of this is too much.

7 comments:

purplegirl said...

Glad I'm not the only one pissed off by that scene in SATC. When Sam first throws the door open and the camera focuses on her stomach, I didn't even know what the hell they were staring at--I thought it was her shirt or something, because it just doesn't occur to me to scrutinize someone for ten pounds!

Lisa said...

After an hour and a half of gender stereotypes, I thought the SATC movie couldn't get any worse. The scene with Samantha proved me wrong.

Lillian said...

Demi looks great. She looks good enough to be my jogging or biking buddy. She looks very healthy and fit. Nothing wrong with her shape.

Anonymous said...

Ugh, I HATE celebrity weight-bashing. It is a form of self-loathing--the bashers can't stand themselves so they pick on public people, making bullying an acceptable way of socializing. That's really unfortunate.

And the bashing also raises the beauty standards to impossible levels. If beautiful women like Demi Moore and Kim Catrall are "fat" (with the always-present implication in our society that this is also code for "ugly") then what are the implications for ordinary women who come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and skin tones?

I'm uncomfortable with this standardization trend in beauty standards, that everyone should be super tall, super thin, super fair-skinned/haired. What a boring, bland idea that is. I don't think there's anything really wrong with my curves or my thick brunette hair yet by Hollywood standards, those qualities mean "unattractive." Why else do starlets bleach their hair and lose weight? It's like they're widgets being manufactured.

Why have we lost touch with the idea that variety is the spice of life?

Anonymous said...

I don't think celeb weight-spotting/tracking has anything to do with the self-image of those doing the "reporting" but everything to do with the money to be made from photos or video shot of the public person ... and the advertising that can be sold in publications or electronic media (which is based on audience, readership, views, etc., and therefore is boosted everytime anyone watches/reads/views, even if just to check it out and say how horrible it is). The more we watch, listen, look for any reason, the more per inch or per second a media company can charge advertisers and the more celebrity stories and photos will be worth ... driving pursuit of them or artificial creating "demand" for them.

That said, I think media can give us all reasons to scrutinize our bodies or possibly feel badly about ourselves (or better, if we look better than Demi or the target of the moment), but I believe they have very little influence on the development or sustained maintenance of anorexia (though, perhaps, purging behavior).

Anonymous said...

I think we're all under this kind of scrutiny. It doesn't show up in magazines for all of us, of course, but we're still subject to it. A little fuller because I've relaxed dieting? SHAME ON ME FOR BEING WEAK! Or some such.

PS, I've seen Demi Moore in person recently and she is teeny tiny.

Weight Loss Pills said...

I think we're all under this kind of scrutiny. It doesn't show up in magazines for all of us, of course, but we're still subject to it. A little fuller because I've relaxed dieting? SHAME ON ME FOR BEING WEAK! Or some such.