In the space of a week, there have been three "leading" entertainment stories that prove that women get a raw deal when it comes to appearances.
First, was Shawn Johnson. She's a former gymnastics Olympian who won a gold medal. I mean, I guess, I don't watch gymnastics because I don't consider it a real sport (same goes for ice skating), so I wouldn't know who she was if she came up to me on the street and kneed me in the groin. Johnson is trying to requalify for the team going to London (which, I hate to say it, she's wasting her time. The scoring and events favor young girls before sexual maturity because the muscles operate better and the center of gravity is different. Johnson is twenty now. For what the events are, she is just too old).
Just a short time ago, Johnson was attending a public event and wore a very nice blue dress. She looked very cute and very appealing. She didn't look fat, she looked normal. Now, however, she's lost "the weight". And it can't be because she is trying to get on the Olympic team again, because all the interviews focus on how "fat" she was and how great she looks and feels now.
A few days later, Kelly Clarkson made the news for weight loss. Clarkson is in the middle of a tour (which, you'd think, would garner some sort of press) and has apparently dropped some weight. Clarkson's weight has always been a problem. The whole appeal of Clarkson's image is her girl next door persona. So she looks normal. But magazines have tended to airbrush her figure to make her look slimmer on the covers (even with quotes from Clarkson right there saying she's happy with her size). And now, this isn't an edit, Clarkson is apparently tired of hearing she is fat even though she is perfectly normal, and has dropped some weight.
Most recently was a Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai. Described by some as the most beautiful woman in the world, Rai recently had a baby. The Indian press is starting to criticize her for not losing the baby weight. They want her to stop looking normal.
Now, yes, I like women with curves (the average size for a woman in the US is a size 14. I like what I see), but there's a bigger problem here. Ostensibly, celebrities are not supposed to be "normal" people. They are supposed to be like superheroes, bigger than life and doing things we never could do so we can live through them. Elle Macpherson, for example, maintains her figure by exercising four hours a day. Does any normal person have that kind of time? (This is why, when people don't lose weight despite hitting the gym for an hour every other day, I nod sympathetically. It's their job to keep slim, not something they do with the time they can spare.) As William Shatner sang, "Who wants to be normal people?"
But really. What does it hurt to let people live in a way that is healthy? Actresses like to brag that they can wear a size 0 (Jennifer Love Hewitt is one). That is just plain dangerous because their bodies have shifted into starvation mode and will start consuming itself. And there is such a thing as too skinny, as the hubbub over Kate Bosworth during Superman Returns demonstrates. Unfortunately, I couldn't see the difference between her build and any of the other arm candy on display. Combine that with modern fashions being meant to show off the female body instead of expressing its artistic beauty and you have a race no one can win. Because, in a few years, age catches up.
Tracey Gold of the TV show Growing Pains said her anorexia started when the writers started slipping fat jokes about her character into the scripts. This is a dangerous subject, one that people feel free to bash others for being fat while they sit on the couch and pop M&M's like vitamins. It is hypocrisy, plain and simple. You think it's that easy to lose the weight and keep it off? Why don't you get off your fat ass and do something about it?
Lay off women who look like women SHOULD, not because they look like some idealized image brought to life. I can appreciate looking at Jessica Alba just fine. But if they decide to hop off the roller coaster because it's just too much, let them be. We're talking Hollywood, so there will ALWAYS be another young skinny girl to fantasize about.
Besides, Alba wears Spanx. She's not just admitted it, she's bragged about it because it keeps guys from not thinking she's not hot after having a baby. That figure you salivate over is still phony, and she's using you just like you are using her.