Every time I’m subjected to one of those Weight Watchers commercials, I have to shake my head. Jennifer Hudson sure does have a lot of pressure on her. She better pray that she never puts those pounds back on because that weight loss has really reignited her career. With the buzz from her Oscar win come and gone, the media is once again on her like white on starched rice. But if she gains even some of it back ... yikes. No more Shape covers for her.
I can’t help but give her the side eye. She needed to lose weight for her health and that’s commendable. But to go from a size 16 all the way down to a nonexistent size 0? That is so extreme. She was a card-carrying enthusiast of the Big Girl Club and talked about how comfortable she was with her curves. Going from one end to the polar opposite says to young girls: Oops. Scratch everything I said before. What I meant to say was rail-thin is the hip thing to be.
If you want a super small role model, you’ve got a bevy of choices in Celebrityville. What do you want? A model, an actress, a questionably talented reality star? I could practically wrap my whole hand around some of these starlets' thighs, and some of these singers strutting back and forth on the red carpet look just all emaciated and deprived, like a strip of beef jerky in an evening gown. So when someone comes along with a little meat on their bones — you know, like real-life women — it’s a reason to root for the home team.
Here I am telling Tween Girl to stop being worried about her weight and here comes Jennifer Hudson, once the champion of fly full-figure girls, zapped down to an itty bitty nonexistent number. It was great to hear a celebrity be so at peace with their plusness.
J. Hud is gorg-e-ous, thick, thin, whatever. She is friggin’ beautiful. But even in her desire — and need — to diet, would it have been so wrong to stop at a size 8? Or even a 6? Coming from a size 16, which is what she claims to have originally been even though I think homegirl was closer to a size 18 on a good day, that still would have been a tremendous accomplishment and success. She would’ve been thinner, she still would’ve been healthier, but she also would’ve been a realistic and relatable size. And Shape might’ve still put her on their cover.
Not all of us are built to be size 0s, and let’s be honest: just because you’re waif thin does not necessarily mean you’re healthy. I know we push this get-skinny agenda, but I actually know some fuller-figure folks who take better care of themselves and make way better food and fitness choices than some people who can shop at 579.
It’s frustrating that celebrities who at one time celebrated their thickness turn around and lose mega weight. Once upon a time they touted, “It’s OK to not wear a size 0.” Then they turn around and what? Become a size 0. It's confusing to kids who struggle with celebrity worship and their own self-esteem, especially girls with body image issues and their own weight struggles.
Role models are not made in Hollywood. I get that. Our girls get their eating and exercise habits from their parents, so they stand much more of a chance of watching that doggone overplayed Jennifer Hudson commercial while noshing on a bag of Doritos if that’s what they’ve seen their mother do. (Not that noshing on Doritos is all bad but, you know, just for the sake of argument.)
I suspect that J. Hud was probably trying to prove to herself and some other folks in Hollywood that she could look just as “good” and be just as fierce as some other aspiring actresses. Maybe she’s been passed over for parts because she was too big or didn’t fit a certain image. I’ve heard that industry can be so, so superficial, and it makes me thankful that I sit on my rump and write all day rather than get critiqued based on how perky my boobs are or how clear my skin is. But if you’re going to be a game changer, be a game changer all around. We’ve already seen this story on repeat, and so have our kids.
Should celebrities be more mindful of their young fans or are they obligation-free to the people who support their art?
Image via BigGirlBlue/Flickr