Celebs Less Weight-Conscious
Voluptuous celebs include Christina Hendricks of “Mad Men,” Kat Dennings, a star of “2 Broke Girls,” Christina Aguilera from “The Voice,” Emmy winner Melissa McCarthy of “Mike & Molly,” Mindy Kaling of “The Mindy Project,” Rebel Wilson, who won a hunky guy in “Bachelorette,” and Lena Dunham, writer-director-producer-star of “Girls.”
Even the modeling industry has branched out with Real Beauty ads and Cosmo featuring a “plus-size” model at size 12 instead of the usual size 0.
Maybe the biggest surprise was Lady Gaga whose oversized personality materialized in bodily form last year. As Alessandra Stanley at the New York Times put it:
Gaining weight is the most outrageous stunt Lady Gaga has pulled to date. Instead of wearing raw animal flesh at a public event this summer, she wore her own — the one metamorphosis that even Madonna wouldn’t dare undertake.
But I’m also struck by Lena Dunham who as “Hannah” unselfconsciously runs about in her undies – if she wears anything at all – while eating assorted goodies. It’s remarkable. No body shame or food shame.
Of course, Ms. Dunham and Ms. Kaling have more power to break rules because they have created, produced and written their own shows, as a Times piece points out.
Interesting how power can free you, considering the body torture women have historically undergone to show off their husbands’ success — as the men sit comfortably by. At one point women wore constricting corsets so people could see that their husbands were wealthy enough to support a spouse who didn’t need to work – and couldn’t in that straight jacket. Tiny bound feet once served the same end in China. In parts of West Africa today women are force fed into obesity to demonstrate their husbands’ financial ability to over-feed them. And then the poor copy the rich and end up in even worse straits.
Women the world over internalize beauty norms that harm them.
Some suspect the ideals are put in place with the aim of harming them: make women obedient and so distracted by their looks that they have no time for anything else, like gaining political power. As Naomi Wolf suggested in her bestseller, The Beauty Myth:
A culture fixated on female thinness is not an obsession about female beauty, it is an obsession about female obedience. Dieting is the most potent political sedative in women’s history: a quietly mad population is a tractable one.
So it’s interesting that when Dunham’s character Hannah is asked about her flabby tummy she responds:
No, I have not tried a lot to lose weight. Because I decided I was going to have some other concerns in my life.
You know, so the real Lena Dunham could become the writer, director, producer and star of “Girls.”
Maybe we should all have greater concerns in our lives than how slim we can be.