Tara Reid’s Looks Mocked by Jason Biggs in a Way That Should Anger Us All

Tara ReidThis past week Jason Biggs, the current star of Orange Is the New Black of American Pie fame, took time from his busy schedule to start a fight with his former co-star Tara Reid. Reid, once a "girl next door" type, has become famous in recent years for her hard partying and plastic surgeries. Or, as Biggs said so sweetly to Joan Rivers on her show In Bed With Joan:

"Tara's body — I don't know what's going on with it. I don't think she ever knows what's going on with it."

Quick memo to Biggs: When a woman gets a lot of plastic surgery, it's NOT because she feels super great about her body. It's because, for some reason, she doesn't. It's pretty basic stuff. But insulting a woman's looks -- especially when that woman is a celebrity -- is nothing new.

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Back in January comedian Jay Mohr called Alyssa Milano fat (more or less). He later issued an apology and groveled for her forgiveness, and everyone was rightly appalled, but let's be serious: Who hasn't said mean things about women's bodies, either in public or private?

Insulting a woman's looks is the quickest (and cheapest) way to win a fight. Don't like something she says? Call her fat. Think she's annoying? Say she's unattractive. It's happened to every woman in Hollywood, whether it's Jessica Simpson being mocked for wearing high-waisted "mom jeans" or Melissa McCarthy being called "tractor sized" by Rex Reed. Let us NEVER forget the way poor Kim Novak was treated when she dared to show her surgery-enhanced face at the Oscars this past year. It was horrifying.

Women in Hollywood get a bad deal. They can't get old. They can't get fat. They can't change their nose or eyes or body without being ridiculed, often quite mercilessly, and usually publicly.

I say: Enough.

Shame on these men for believing it's OK to comment on women's bodies, but even more: shame on us women for allowing those comments to hurt so much that we feel the need to justify things, prove them wrong, or change our appearances. All of those remarks are terrible -- TERRIBLE -- and oh-so-very wrong, but words have no real power. They can go in one ear and out the other if you let them. But we give them power.

And it's not just negative things we hear from men about how women look -- it's positive too. The point is, a lot of men -- famous and otherwise -- feel like it's their prerogative to say things about women's looks. Frankly, plenty of women feel similarly entitled. How often does the reverse happen, where women or men are talking about men's looks? Sometimes, yes. Just look at poor Rob Kardashian, who was so worried about his weight that he skipped his sister's wedding because he was too big to be photographed. But not nearly as often.

Entire makeup lines have been started to help women avoid showing their real faces to the world. It's a billion-dollar industry. All those insults, all those words, they collect in our minds to make us afraid of revealing our true, just-got-out-of-bed selves to the world. Even those "makeup-free" selfies that have become so popular among stars are very rarely "makeup-free." I once had a friend tell me she sets her alarm for an hour before her husband gets up. The man who loves her and vowed to spend his life with her has never seen her without makeup. Ever. Can you imagine?

I'm just as guilty. I'd probably rather be called anything other than fat. There is no insult greater. But why? I know I'm not. I know what size I wear and how much I weigh. I know my BMI. And yet if someone calls me fat, I'm in tears. Or, at least I used to be.

As women (and men) we need to stop reacting to all this. Remember the whole "sticks and stones" thing? It's still true. "Fat" and "ugly" and "hot" are just stupid words.

We don't owe it to anyone to look a certain way, and as much fun as it is to be called hot, the truth is our looks are like 1/100th of who we are as people. It's not who we are inside. It's not morning cuddles with our spouse who loves us or kisses on our baby's soft cheek. It's not the feel of our feet in the sand or the way our skin feels after swimming in the ocean. It's not the joy of being present at our sister's wedding or smiling with our arms around our grandmother for a portrait we will look at years after she is gone.

If we allow words about our appearance to take away those precious moments that actually do matter -- either because we are too ashamed to go out and do things or because we waste our time trying to hide or cover up our "flaws" -- then we let the words and the people who utter them win. Biggs can make fun of Reid all he wants, but it shouldn't drive her to go back under the knife or obsess about how she looks. She has no need to prove him wrong. She's OK. All by herself.

We tried to reach Reid several times while writing this story, to no avail. But it looks like Biggs didn't bother her too much anyway. She was spotted on a beach, smiling in spite of it all.

Tara Reid

Some criticized her for posting this bikini shot -- as if it had been a desperate attempt to show Biggs how sexy she is. That's not how we see it. Judging from this photo, she looks pretty happy and comfortable in her own skin to us and pretty indifferent to the hoopla Biggs' silly comment stirred up. And that's exactly how she should feel -- and exactly how little what he said should mean.

Do you get sick of men (and women) making comments about women's looks?

 

Image via COLDREY/Splash News (top) and Instagram (bottom)

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