Bodies are Important

// 4 February 2009

Over at Sociological Images is an interesting piece on the downsizing of bodies. The pictures are particularly striking!

The point I want to make is that these women have ALWAYS been beautiful. They were considered beautiful enough to be stars with their curves, so what made them think they needed to lose them?

Comments From You

Sabre // Posted 4 February 2009 at 12:39 pm

Wow! What interesting ‘before and after’ pictures! In every case I think the women looked better and healthier in the curvy set.

I don’t want to offend any naturally thin people, but I am tired of seeing stick-thin as the female celebrity default. Overly prominent bones freak me out, I just don’t want to know the shape of peoples’ skeletons!

The awful thing is that it’s now applauded when a woman begins to resemble someone suffering from starvation and girls are literally dying to look like this. Society is very very messed up.

Joanna Moy // Posted 4 February 2009 at 1:02 pm

Every single one of those women looked better when they were bigger.

S // Posted 4 February 2009 at 4:29 pm

The comments are a little cruel as they don’t take in the things mentioned in some of the comments.

Yes, I agree, some of the women do look in some ways more attractive in the first set of pictures.

But, many of them have been on drugs (or coming off drugs) which does lead to fluctuating weight. Renee Zellweger put on a lot of weight for her movie.

And Madonna doesn’t have the look of someone starving themselves. She’s toned and a little muscular (which a lot of women hate the idea of despite the health benefits).

Some women will prefer how they look now. And (provided the are healthy) why is it any of our business to comment on that?

Plus, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these women attempted to lose weight because of pressure on them. By commenting like that-surely we are just putting pressure back on them.

Yes, the weight loss is shocking but we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that this may be the way they wish to look and we should respect that.

Laurenthelurker // Posted 4 February 2009 at 6:27 pm

I’m sorry, but I feel that Sabre and Moy’s comments are unneccessary and miss the point entirely, even though their intentions are most likely honourable. Of course, the original post is concerning as it shows a pressure on this actresses to conform to a certain look whether they are happy or not. That is unquestionably bad. However, I am considered obese, and as someone who has to deal with the negative connotations of how I look from people, the media, the medical profession etc, I am just as offended by remarks about slimmer people’s “prominent bones” and how “skeletal” they are. Fat and thin are not gangs with a line drawn in the sand for people to choose who they want to root for. How attractive these women look is completely and utterly irrelevant, and to comment negatively on either body type (and all inbetween!) is to buy in to all the lifestyle stereotypes associated with each, e.g. “they must have an eating disorder they’re so thin” or “they don’t eat healthily or get enough exercise as they’re so fat”, as well as this rivalry set up by the media – “real women have curves”, anyone? If we are going to fight prejudice against people’s, and more specifically women’s, bodies, we have to stop passing judgement on them and acting as though we know how people are living their lives just by the way they happen to look. We need to understand that what someone does with their life, unless it’s causing damage to others, is no one’s business except their own.

Sabre // Posted 4 February 2009 at 8:01 pm

Hi S

Sorry, I wasn’t trying to be cruel, my rather flippant comment about overly prominent bones was really something I personally find quite disturbing as it reminds me of someone I knew with anorexia, who died. I don’t like seeing that (or any particular weight/size actually) being made the norm or most desirable. Women come in all shapes, but only one seems acceptable today – think of the recent fuss over Jessica Simpson who dared to flesh out a bit.

I think the point of the article wasn’t really to critique each of the women, but to highlight a trend whereby women are being pressured to look thinner and thinner. I remember a time when there was no concept of size zero! Yes individuals may either look that way naturally, or choose to look that way through diet/exercise etc. and I don’t have a problem with that. But on a larger scale I think it’s a disturbing trend which, because they are famous, is influencing a disproportionate number of women. And yes, some of them may have come off drugs, but why is that considered a good look rather than absolutely shocking?

Joanna Moy // Posted 5 February 2009 at 11:58 am

Laurenthelurker: It was just an observation, that’s all. I’m not in favour of pressurising anyone to conform to any beauty standard, fat thing or otherwise. But I do find it depressing that these perfectly attractive women have felt the need to slim down to a point where, in my opinion, they now look *less* attractive. Which I think was *exactly* the point of the article, no? (Point taken about how some of them may have lost weight for other reasons though).

FWIW, I am a size 8, and have often fallen foul of “they must have an eating disorder they’re so thin” type comments (especially whe I was younger and even thinner). But I am a healthy weight for my own body, and I don’t think many of those women are.

The Boggart // Posted 6 February 2009 at 12:35 am

I find the size zero trend disturbing because it seems as if the women are trying to disappear, to diet themselves out of existence. They are afraid to have substance, to have heft, weight, power – whatever adjective you want to use. It’s the marginalising and controlling effect of patriarchal beauty standards on women made flesh (or otherwise).

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