What do Lady Gaga and the Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence have in common? Good question. They’ve both been in the news, not for what they do, but for how much they weigh. Oh unknowable universe, what will you come up with next?
In case you haven’t heard, and this news made headlines by the way, Lady Gaga has gained weight. Yes, that news made headlines.
She’s gained about thirty pounds, and she has no intention of losing the weight. [Fuck yeah.] She’s going to dress the same and do all the crazy weird meat-related things she’s always done, but just going to do it with a different figure. And, depressingly unsurprising, she has been criticized for gaining a few extra pounds, but in the way of Lady Gaga, she doesn’t give a shit. Her words: “I don’t feel bad about it.”
And she shouldn’t.
In case you didn’t know, Lady Gaga was once a child. A very voluptuous Italian child. She used to make herself throw up because she thought she was ugly because she wasn’t breath-thin. Now, I think she intentionally gained weight (at least in part. I read in an interview that she talked to her
image consultant or some other big wig about discussing her look change) to give girls a role model to look up to that wasn’t as thin as the legs of a giraffe [not that Lady Gaga is necessarily the best role model for young girls, but inevitably she is so let’s look on the bright side]. Which is awesome. How many stars out there diet and exercise and diet and exercise to look thin and beautiful? A whole damn lot. Thank god someone is taking a stand. It’s a damn brave thing to do, because people are going to be spitting fire. Actually, they are already.
On a similar note, Jennifer Lawrence is refusing to diet for her roll of Katniss. Some critics have said that she should be a lot skinnier if she’s supposed to be a starving girl. This follows that standard in Hollywood that people need to suffer and change their appearance for a roll. Like Natalie Portman, who was praised for dropping 20 or so pounds for her movie The Black Swan; or Danny Devito who gained 60 lbs for a roll. Or Rene Zellweger who had to gain weight for Bridget Jones Diary, and then had to loose it for other roles.
Lawrence said that she was very aware of how she looked for Katniss, and she was focusing on being fit and healthy rather than skinny and malnourished. I’ve been on a few online forums looking at this stuff, and what I keep running into is that people think she’s crazy beautiful, which she is. But I kept finding comments somewhere along the lines of “She’s really hot, so it’s okay she’s not super skinny” over and over again, and it pissed me off. There are a whole lot of assumptions to be made based on that one comment. It’s okay not to be skinny if you’re beautiful; or she’s beautiful despite the fact she’s not underweight; or maybe if she hadn’t been crazy beautiful, their comment would change to Yeah, she should have been skinnier if she was a starving girl.
(By the way, Katniss was not a starving girl, despite living in a starving town. In the books, Katniss was a serious hunter. Her family ate better than most of the families in District 7 because she was always bringing home food for them. She wasn’t starving, she shouldn’t be thin, people don’t know what they’re talking about. How in the world could she have won The Hunger Games if she was thin, frail, and weak?)
But both these stories about Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lawrence… are they really news worthy? Apparently so, because they are. Because people search these kind of things out and read about it. Why does this matter so much? I think it’s sad that there are news articles about these women’s weight. Choosing not to diet is newsworthy. Gaining a little weight makes headlines. Is this or is this not kind of fucked up? I’m not talking about journalists and news sites doing a really bang up job of bringing the public important news; it’s this standard of beauty, this pressure on women, to be beautiful and thin in the media. I always hear about the pressure the media puts on women… it’s right here! We’re still doing it.
We hear about Lady Gaga gaining weight, and not about some one like let’s say Adele, because Lady Gaga is a sex symbol, and her gaining this weight is contrary to the popular public belief of what beauty and sex is.
We hear about Jennifer refusing to diet because she’s a famous woman and famous women have a long line of history of being thin and
gorgeous; of being anorexic and bulimic; of popping pills and getting plastic surgery done to be plump and symmetrical; of being the most beautiful people on earth. And hearing a celebrity is on a diet is not something that the public shakes their head at and says “She’s already beautiful. She should just love herself for who she is.” No, we instead go “Yeah, good for her, losing some weight,” or “What diet did she use? I want to try it too.”
These famous people, the people flooding the media, are invariably and unfortunately the people that we as a whole try to model ourselves against (probably more so children and teens than anyone else). The more people we have coming out and not only saying love yourself for who you are, but actually doing that, the better off we’ll be I think. That message will start to seep into the younger generations. They’ll take it seriously because a celebrity said it instead of their moms.
Hm, I wonder if I’ve gotten a smidgen off point here? Oh well. Let’s bring it back. Anyone who thinks it is their business to tell these women how they should and should not look can go fuck themselves. There, that seemed to wrap it up nicely.