When I read that Jennifer Lawrence won't be told to diet -- that anyone who suggests such a thing will, in no uncertain terms, receive a "go f--k yourself" -- I did a little chair cheer. You tell 'em, J-Law! But when I read the rest of the quote from Lawrence's Harper's Bazaar U.K. interview, I was even more struck by something else she shared: That it STILL hurts her to think about the time someone said she was "too fat" and needed to lose weight in order to succeed as an actress. As the mom of a tween daughter, this really struck a chord with me.
Of course, whoever called young J-Law fat sounds like a real a-hole -- guess what he/she suggested Jennifer use as "motivation" for her diet?
Nearly naked photos of HERSELF. Seriously. Jennifer says this person brought in pictures of J-Law where she was "basically naked" and told her to use them as motivation.
Unbelievable, right? Here's the full quote from the interview where she explains that, yes, of course!, that memory still hurts:
[Someone brought it up recently.] They thought that because of the way my career had gone, it wouldn’t still hurt me. That somehow, after I won an Oscar, I'm above it all. 'You really still care about that?' Yeah. I was a little girl. I was hurt. It doesn’t matter what accolades you get. I know it'll never happen to me again. If anybody even tries to whisper the word 'diet', I'm like, 'You can go f--k yourself.'
Look, I don't think "diet" is a four-letter-word, per se. I just went on a diet myself and lost over 20 pounds, for a variety of reasons, health and vanity being about equal. But as a mom, J-Law's words really resonated with me. They remind me how fragile young, growing girls are in so many ways (even as they are strong and brave in other ways). Her words remind me how important it is to help our daughters feel body confident, and what long-lasting damage and pain can be inflicted by body shaming comments. They can be as explicit as telling a girl she's fat or more subtle and insidious, like the messages we receive on a daily basis just by opening magazines and turning on the TV.
That an actress who is constantly called "beautiful," who is lauded for all her accomplishments and completely loved by the press (and everyone else!), is still hurting over the actions of a total jerk however many years ago ... well, that just goes to show how powerful negative words and actions can be. It shows how long the wrong kind of lesson can stay with us.
When I think about my own daughter, at 10 (and a half!) years old, already crossed over into that land between little girl and teenager, I could cry with wishing I could insulate her from all of this crap. I know I can't of course, and that the best we can do as parents is provide positivity, encouragement, and examples of loving and accepting ourselves. Someone along the line must have done that for Jennifer Lawrence. I hope Jennifer knows what a great role model she has now become, and how she reminded at least one mom of something so important.
Do you remember being called fat or feeling ashamed of your body as a younger girl?
Image via Harper's Bazaar U.K.