Interesting topics I've found on a friend's message board, Intellectual Babes.

Under "The Thinning Of Hollywood"~~~

I was just reading US Weekly and there was an article in there about the continuing thinning of actresses in the Wood and it brings up a medical journal report on how the Miss America pageant is sporting thinner and thinner contestants. Lori Gottlieb, a former studio exec who helped to develop "Friends" and wrote a book called "Stick Figure: A Diary of My Former Self" about her teenage battle with anorexia, says, "For girls, Miss America is just as influential as Hollywood. She's the ultimate fairy princess. Those girls deserve a better role model than one who is emaciated." They use photos of Jane Leeves ("Frasier"), Lara Flynn Boyle ("The Practice"), Portia DeRossi ("Ally McBeal") and Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice) as high-profile examples. It's friggin' creepy, how thin these women are getting. And I'm sure many of them would say that they feel compelled to be thin because of the industry, but all I can think is "why don't you try to change it?" If every woman was willing to be their natural weight, be healthy and curvy and not give a shit about what bullshit the media and the male-dominated movie/TV industry said, then the pressure would lessen. This is a subject that never ceases to anger and, at times, amaze me, that these women would be held up as people to admire and model yourself after when they look like they just walked out of a concentration camp. I want to know what is so wrong, so sick with this society. As the very wise CC Deville of Poison said (and I'm paraphrasing), "It's not okay to be fat but it's okay to be a junkie." Why is it that men are husky and manly and big but women are slobs who can't control themselves? All sorts of big actors are overflowing with work, but big women are left holding the donut, so to speak. I want your feedback, your theories, and all that good stuff, and what you think the answer to this conundrum is.

j.c.

Replies (some are in part only, marked with a "*"):

A similar article ran in the Cincinnati Enquirer this past week. A couple of days later, I was reading the "Word Has It" column, which is basically the celebrity information mill. A snippet titled "Why Nicole Kidman Doesn't Have Washboard Abs" was included. To paraphrase, she basically said she has the "tiniest" bit of a stomach pooch. She wants to remain soft and womanly, or else Tom might leave her. Ummm, okay. How much does she weigh again? It should have shocked me, but it really didn't.

It's sad, it's wrong, and untold numbers of women from the last two generations have disorders stemming from the perception to be beautiful is to be thin.

Nuk *

It amazes me how these actresses continue to get thinner. When are they thin enough? Imo Courtney Cox Arquette whatevah looks like a 12-year old now. My husband and I were watching old reruns of Friends from the beginning and she looked so great and healthy and she was still a thin woman. Now she looks like a child. The others too. It concerns me, having a daughter myself. Luckily she is very young and hopefully some things will have changed by the time she starts to notice (which happens quicker than I probably realize). I try to be really careful with what I say about my weight (because I am trying to lose) but I don't want my kids to hear me being negative. You know who I think is beautiful and looks like a healthy, normal woman? Kate Winslet. Yet, she's given the label "too big." Scary.

Dazzle Girl

The thing that's been bugging me lately is how smug certain thin people are. They are a smug lot, don't you think? I see them on the train every day when I'm going to work, toting their gym bags and their go-cups of Starbucks coffee that you know is the only thing containing any form of nutrition that is going into their gullet that day. Yet they look at me with such derision and horror, like their lives, which revolve around what they look like and what size clothing they fit into, are so much better than mine. I don't mean to be a bitch, since some of my best friends are thin, but my ass gets frosted every now and again. And I'm not sitting here advocating obesity (so big that you have to be taken out on a truck), but it's silly that a woman in a size 16 is considered morbidly obese. I've got my own work to do, I'd like to carve a few pounds off myself, but I will not cave into the conventional wisdom that says women must be anorexic in order to be considered contributing members of society, goddammit.

j.c.

I watched a show on E! about this, and one of the doctor's said (paraphrasing here but pretty close to the actual statement) "One of them is going to drop dead on the red carpet in front of Joan Rivers".

Courteny Cox now wears a TEN GIRLS. Before she lost this weight, she was a size TWO. Jennifer Aniston now wears a size ONE. Lara Flyn Boyle is a size ZERO. I won't even discuss Calista Flockhart, who needs a cheeseburger and time in the sun, stat! Jane Leeves went from lanky to a human tendon in like 2 years.

TigMode

All I can think of is Janeane Garofalo during one of her stand-up specials where she made mention that being fat was becoming widely accepted and made a crack along the lines of "oh yes, back fat is being seen on all the runways this year in Paris". Dawn French, who is a comedienne in England (she helped create "AbFab" with Jennifer Saunders, who is her comedy partner), was doing an interview on BBC America and said that America is the only place where she was made to feel bad because she's a big ol' healthy girl. She went in for a meeting with some white male suit and he looked at her with such pity in his eyes, it made her feel horrible. She went on to say that apparently only Roseanne is allowed to be fat, all the Fat Girl positions in Hollywood are taken now that Roseanne is successful. Does the success of Roseanne and Camryn Manheim ("The Practice") make a difference? Or is it just a blip on the radar, an "abberance (sp?)" as it were? And it is "easier" for women of color/older women to be heavy than women in the 21 and up age group? Let's hear it.

j.c.

Wasn't there a recent incident where Brandy passed out, due to "exhaustion" read lack of food? She's beautiful young woman, and is now being forsed to starve herself. Let's face it ladies, the reason that these actress' starve themselves is because middle-aged white males run the studios. And our world. They LIKE horribly anorexic pasty childish looking women. It's sick. What msut that be like? I mean it must be like raping a 12 year old. These women don't look anything like women.

ajm


I have never been thin in my life. I have always been a hog. Yes, even when I was wearing a size three and tipping the scales at 100lbs soaking wet, I was a gargantuan, moose girl. Even when I was strutting my bony, little bottom down the runway in a size 6 sample dress that had to be pinned to me so that it wouldn't fall off, I was the most enormous person in the room.

You know why I feel sorry for the incredible shrinking women all around me? Because as thin as they are, and as fashionable as they look, they can't ever enjoy it. I watch Ally McBeall and I see Portia deRossi's internal organs pooching out from her all too visible ribcage and I think, "Wow, I'll be she thinks she needs to lose weight." No matter how thin they get, they never think it is thin enough.

I finally got it through my head that I didn't have to look to Hollywood for my self image, my body icons, or, God forbid, my role models. I'm a size 13 now. 10 sizes and about 70lbs heavier than the girl who never lost an audition. I'm also happier, healthier, and I enjoy my life.

I care what I look like, and I care that men look at my skinny friends before they look at me. I care that I can't buy the first thing I try on, or the cute little numbers that "everyone else" is wearing. I did hear something, though.

I heard a psychologist say that men stare at women with certain body types because they associate those body types with ease of sexual conquest. When I see the guys checking out my skinnies, I think, "Hmph. He probably just thinks he could get some."

Raphaela

I think many of us as individuals have come full circle within our lives, as I read this thread. Hollywood's ideals for the modern woman is complete fantasy and a farce. Those women are not even real to me any more.

Look at it this way... there are a hell of alot more full figured, drop dead sexy chicks like ourselves, then there are of those waif-like, undernourished, stick like models or actresses. I honestly believe that there are alot of men out there who prefer their women to look like a woman who has hips, and not have a body looking like that of a prepubescent boy.

I also wanted to say that each and every one of you are beautiful and exquisite women and I'm extremely proud to have gotten know you all!

*group hug*

What more can I say except....."We RAWK!!!"

Macy

I get so angered and frustrated over what the media dictates as "healthy" and "beautiful" and feel that the whole idea of concentrating this all on women is a bit sexist and aimed to keep us in the second class. I look at all these Hollywood actresses and see how utterly skinny they are and wonder how on earth they manage to keep themselves up. Sarah Michelle Gellar said something along the lines of, "People shouldn't be looking to us (Hollywood actresses) as ideals. We have personal nutritionists and trainers." And Fiona Kemp, a British actress who's married to Jude Law, expressed in an interview how disgusted she was with the Hollywood ideal of beauty and how it discouraged any tiny flaw one might have...she said how in Hollywood she's considered ugly because she has "misshapen, British teeth", isn't tall, isn't waif-thin, and has some blemishes on her skin. I saw some pictures of her along with the article...she's beautiful! She is absolutely ravishing. And yet she gets told by Hollywood producers that she's ugly, just because she doesn't attain that unrealistic sort of perfection. We as women need to take a stand and get together to make those Hollywood people see that people of all body types can be beautiful and that we as a nation will not support a system that encourages half our population to starve to death just so they can fit in to what the media finds acceptable.

Oh yeah, and I find Kate Winslet gorgeous, and so do some of the guys I know. There's also something about "Brave and Crazy"-era Melissa Etheridge that exudes raw powerful beauty, and Marilyn Monroe is certainly tons more beautiful than any modern-day Hollywood sex symbol.

LI

What a wonderful thread!!! It appears that alot of these woman have a high level of Self-Esteem which is fantastic :-) It's a shame what the media & magazines, etc. perceive as acceptable. I, for one, do not "buy" into it anymore. I don't buy the magazines anymore (it's my little way of boycotting) as they were making me more depressed that I had meat on my bones. Sure, I can stand to lose some poundage but I will definitely not starve myself or exercise until I can't see straight. I think that "everything in moderation, including moderation" is the key. I love food, therefore, I will continue to eat, I will make better choices in what I eat, but still indulge in my favorite "comfort" foods from time to time. For me, there is no such thing as bad foods & good foods anymore (even my doctor said, too much of a good thing can hurt you). **side note: I wonder if she is including sex in that*** heh heh. I will exercise, not only because I want to lose a few extra pds, but because I love being outdoors & it's a great stress reliever. It tears me up inside sometimes, when I see all these thin models in bikinis & tight fitting dresses & my heart sinks to my stomach as my thoughts turn to whether or not I will be accepted for who I am rather than how thin I am. Actually, I've come to a point where the majority of the time I really don't care. I have to love myself anyway that I am (even when I'm bloated) :-p. It took a long while for me to actually look @ myself in the mirror & have photos taken of me. Thanks to my wonderful Dr., she gave me a great exercise to do: Everyday, look in the mirror & pick out one thing about yourself that you like, It can even be the way your hair or makeup looks. After months & months of doing this, I can now look at myself naked & not be digusted!!!! It's a great feeling!!!!

Now for the children that are growing up with this....It has got to stop somewhere. Parents, friends, etc have the responsibility of making the kids grow up w/enough self esteem & self worth that they won't even think twice about being accepted for who they are rather than how "thin" they are. My sis in-law is obsessed w/losing weight even though she is breast feeding her 5 mo. old. She is literally starving herself & her husband isn't helping much when he says " I'll have no fat chicks in this family or around me". Well, didn't that make me feel like shit!! I told him to "get bent" and we have not spoken since. Kev is highly disgusted w/him also & has not spoken to him since our vacation up there 2 years ago, not only because of the "fat" obsession he has, but because of his all around prejudices (which are many). He's very "white-bread".

(from an e-mail to Crevette)

I compare myself to anyone & everyone..actresses, singers, people on the street..and I always come out unfavorably in my mind. I think it sucks that people look at you & think things about you when they don't even know you. I think it's sad that 6 year old girls are on diets cause of the people that the media portray...Cosmo did a feature a few months ago on the whole protein kick & how actresses who were already thin are even thinner..they had pictures & it was really frightening to see. I think it was Beth who told me that even Lane Bryant's now features thinner models rather than fuller figured ones because people (even larger women) are more likely to buy the clothes that way!!! I think that we need to start turning the double standard around on men...I like how the producers/directors/bigwigs are white men...most likely old, balding, overweight and with god knows what other psychological & physical problems...we need to start looking at them & saying "You know what? You'd be a good director....if you could just get a toupe and get rid of that gut. And a penile implant wouldn't hurt either."

Nick's Viper

Lane Bryant the catalogue uses standard size 8 models because the 'normal' sized chicks were supposedly more appealing to the customers. Maybe they should get some less granny assed clothes and that would be more appealing to the customer. Even the thin models cant make that shit look good.

Lane Bryant the store uses plus models who are between a 14 and a 16. Last season they used Camryn Manhiem (size 24) as their celeb spokesperson. This season they are using Kathy Najimy (former size 26, now a 14). The thing I find a little disturbing is that they are using some pretty young girls - 17 and 18 year olds. This is a problem I have with the modeling industry as a whole. It's not unusual for girls to start out at 13 or 14 in the business. Now, I remember myself at age 13 - I was already 5'11, in a size 13 or 15 and wore a 36C bra. Rather womanly attributes but everything was rather...perky.... even at that size as it is with all teenagers. We all know even by 23 or 24 the stuff starts to settle and by 30 its easing on down to earth. Since most of us with the purchasing dollars are over 24 why are we still expected to look like 14 year olds? The men who run ad agencies and entertainment multinational conglomerates and get to direct $2 billion pictures get to decide these things. I think it all goes back to what Olympia Dukakis said in "Moonstruck" - "Men are afraid of death."

Jez

I work with a few women who actually think Ally McBeal looks good - no, I'm not kidding. I say to them, "Did you think I looked good when I was going through chemotherapy?" Of course they say no. I tell them that Calista Flockhart probably weighs what I weighed at my lowest point of treatment. They say, oh, but you were sick. To that, I always say, so is she.

It makes me so angry that I was puking my guts up for the better part of a year, trying to eat, trying to re-gain my weight and my strength, and these women were starving themselves because they think the stick figures represent reality.

Why would you want to look like a cancer patient? Bones jutting out, no roundness at all... you're a woman for God's sake, don't look like a 12 year old boy!

Gemini Girl

From the Chicago Sun-Times, Richard Roeper's column 4-20-00...

"Women and weight loss can be tough to 'Figure'"

Most men I know think and talk about food only when we're hungry--and even then the discussion isn't exactly complicated or textured. We speak with an economy of language, like the guys in "The Sopranos".
"I'm fuckin' starvin' over here, you wanna eat or what?"
"Yeah, I could eat."
"I could eat too."
"Great, let's get some food. Then we'll eat it."
We proceed to order pasta or pizza or steak or wings or a big honkin' salad or whatever. The moment we finish eating is the moment we stop thinking about food, until the next time we're hungry and the ritual starts again.
It has taken me a mere couple of decades to understand that for many many MANY women, food and eating and related topics are an almost constant part of the conscious food process.
They just don't think about food. They have food issues.
Overweight women wish they could be "regular size". Women with average frames wish they could be thin. Thin women wish they could be even thinner.
Even thinner women wish they could look like Calista Flockhart or Lara Flynn Boyle or one of the starving lollipop-head models.
What do guys say about all this? The usual baloney, "You look great just as you are!" and "You don't need to lose any weight!"
Yeah right. Then we scratch our expanding guts and continue flipping through the latest magazine--whether it's our copy of Playboy or your copy of Cosmo--featuring an airbrushed freak of nature with a 22-inch waist and a 36-inch bust, and we go to work and talk about the once-perfect gal who's put on a shocking 10 pounds and at lunchtime we sprain our necks checking out the steel-abbed Rollerbladers zooming past us.
All of this and more is examined in Wendy MacLeod's deliciously tasteless "Schoolgirl Figure", a black comedy playing through the end of April at the Goodman Theater Studio.
I didn't make the opening performance last week, as that conflicted with Hugh Hefner's bash. (Two roads diverged in the 'hood, and I took the one more bimbo-ized. I'm a guy.) But I did attend a performance later in the week, and I laughed until I winced at the brazenly twisted story of high school weight-loss obsessives divided into two groups: the Carpenters, who are anorexics like the late Karen Carpenter, and Dianas, who binge and purge like Princess Diana. Subtle, this ain't. The footlights are covered with oversized cans of Slim-Fast. A mocking Ronald McDonald mask looms above the stage. One character lives in a giant Barbie suitcase. Wheelchairs, corpses, vomiting, funerals, and young women who no longer menstruate because they're malnourished are among the topics and situations mined for big laughs.
Who knew anorexia and bulimia could be so funny? And so depressing.
I saw "Schoolgirl Figure" with a former figure skater who says she has a "lack of eating" disorder, "because if you say I have an eating disorder it makes me sound fat." She thought the play was hilarious, and true to life.
So, evidently, did most of the other women in attendance. (About 80 percent of the audience was female.) I saw women of all sizes laughing uproariously at the scene where the bitchy character of Renee can't stand to ingest a single pickle; they felt her pain, however comically played it may have been.
The actress who plays Renee is named Schuyler Grant. She is rail-thin, probably a size 2. There are scenes in which Ms. Grant has to strip to bra and panties, and you know what? At least one man in the audience was thinking, "Great body."
No wonder women are so messed up. It's because men are so comfortably shallow in their assessment of them.
***
The sad thing is, even the two thin women playing the perpetually dieting rivals in "Schoolgirl Figure" aren't really skinny enough for their roles. They'd have to damage their bodies or be one of the actresses from "Friends to really pull it off.
In the hours and days after I saw the play, I talked to a half-dozen female friends about dieting and body image and media influence and all the usual elements of a women-and-food discussion.
One pointed out that my efforts to be Sensitive Boy fell flat with her because, quote, "When's the last time you asked out someone who was overweight?"
Another laughed at my naivete and said, "Every woman you know has had some form of eating disorder at some time in her life."
I told her she had to be exaggerating. She had to be.

FYI:

Richard Roeper's e-mail address is...

rroeper@suntimes.com

j.c.

I guess my comment to this is....I think he's trying to get it, but he still DOESN'T get it. He'll never ask out a woman who's overweight I bet. I also bet he's got a spare tire with his spare tire. Why is it that women overlook the weight, but men judge us so harshly if we have an extra 10 pounds? Fuck that. I'm so fucking sick of it. God knows I'm not some skinny little chicky, I'm a size twelve, and I've always struggled with my wieght. In the last year, I've lost 30 pounds. It's been tough, there are times I still pig out, but I feel better. For me. Bottom line.

I can go on and on with things that are wrong with men I've dated and had long term relationships with, but I still loved them and accepted them for who they were. I know for a fact that few of them accepted me for the way I was. I know that several would have loved for me to lose weight. I finally did, but it was at a time when I was NOT in a relationship. Go figure!

I don't know where I was really going with this, I just needed to get it off my chest. Thanks.

AJ

I e-mailed him and let him know what I thought, which was basically this:

Until the end of time, it won't matter that I was a nice person, a good person, with some semblance of talent and a big heart, la de da. I'll always be looked at like there's something deeply wrong, incorrect, and defective with me because I'm fat. I'm immediately discounted as a human being because my ribs don't poke out. Am I bitter? You bet your ass, but I refuse to compromise who I am and what I stand for in order to satisfy the ridiculous, superficial requirements of the Average White Male.

That was basically it.

j.c.

I just have this to say. People who judge other people on the basis of their body weight, rather than the merits of their personalities and talent, are not people you would want to be friends with. I certainly never judge people that way - I would have missed out on some of the best friendships of my life if I did. And it makes me fucking sick too that we, as a society, continue to allow the media and certain influential types to dictate what kind of body type is acceptable and desireable. Why is it that someone as real and gorgeous as Kate Winslet is touted as being "on the plump side, but good for her for representing real women!"? So, in other words, women with "extra" body weight are praised for being "brave" in a world of waifs.

Give me a fucking break.

Ariana


I resurrect this topic because there is a radio commercial playing in Chicago currently for a diet product. The commercial is supposedly Bill Clinton calling a phone sex line and Monica Lewinsky is presumably taking calls. At some point, the faux Monica states, "Most normal men don't go for fat chicks."

This made my fucking blood BOIL. Insert any minority in there and you've got people protesting on the streets. Why does it remain okay to debase and insult a segment of the population? Why is it impossible for people to simply accept people the way they are and let it go? At 28 years old, I'd like to think that we're all grown-ups and this kind of snippy, snipey bullshit is reserved for kids. But I am proven wrong every time I hear that goddamned commercial.

I'm also not happy with Mode magazine. It's nice to read a women's magazine that doesn't contain various diet plans or anorexic models/actresses, but at the same time, I'm not seeing women who look like me in their pages. They're certain they're doing some sort of public service for women everywhere, but the truth is, they're excluding a portion of the female populace that I believe they'd prefer to sweep under the rug. It's okay to be 12-16 big...but not 20-28 big.

j.c.