Sep 14, 2007

"too fat"

In continuation of my recent outrage at being harassed while biking, I was going to write yet another outraged bit about the latest of the never-ending Britney Spears snafus, but then I discovered that some woman in San Jose has already done it for me.

Read it here.

Or at least it mostly represents what I think. The article doesn't get in to the disgusting critique of every aspect of Britney's personal life, which is good, because I expect we're all sick of hearing about it. It also doesn't get in to a defensive "she's beautiful exactly the way she is right now, and if she lost any weight she'd be practically invisible" stance either, which I also appreciated because telling somebody that if they "ever change how they look they'll be unacceptable" seems pretty wrong to me...

However, I do sort of resent the idea that people shouldn't call Britney fat because more than likely, they are overweight themselves. Not so! People shouldn't call her fat a) because she isn't fat and b) because talking about womens' weight in such a nasty way is destructive for several reasons. First of all, it perpetuates the idea that it's ok to question 1 millimeter of skin in the "wrong" place on Britney, but it's never OK to speak (even compassionately) about the weight of a non-celebrity peer. Basically, it just cements peoples' perception that your weight is inversely proportional to your self worth and confidence. What, fat people can't rationally communicate about their health or appearance, and if you try you're a bad person? If that's even the tiniest bit true, it's the fault of catty media articles that call Britney fat and then expect us to love ourselves.

I'm on the fence about the author's choice to include the names of celebrities like Kate Winslet, America Ferrera, and Queen Latifah. On the one hand, it's nice to point out that they *appear* to be doing a good job of eating their Wheaties and so on (although of course we can't be sure, one's appearance is not always correlated with body acceptance). On the other hand, I kind of feel like shunning "hollow-eyed, emaciated starlets" like Nicole Ritchie and Keira Knightley in preference of women with "bootylicious" curves doesn't really do much good. That's just ditching one body ideal for another. Although I cringe to say it, nobody these days seems to really embrace the concept - so I'll say it: "everybody's different". Although Kate Winslet's weight might be vaguely more attainable for the average woman, we're not all going to be Kate Winslets any more than we'll all be Nicole Ritchies, no matter how badly we want to be.

And this just makes my blood boil: "In that ensemble, you just can't have an ounce of anything extra," said Janice Min, editor of the celebrity magazine US Weekly. "Many women wouldn't eat for days if they were wearing that."

I have nothing horrible enough to say about that.

And, let me just say, I watched the video of Britney performing on MTV after reading all those articles, and yes, it was a terrible performance. Then again, I never was a fan.


Ian said...

That's just ditching one body ideal for another. Although I cringe to say it, nobody these days seems to really embrace the concept - so I'll say it: "everybody's different".

People love the phrase, but it's very rarely sincere - which is probably another reason you're cringing. Too often "everybody's different" doesn't really mean "everybody's different, and that's not a bad thing", but instead "people are different for reasons that make them better or worse, but let's be nice to them anyway". (The latter sense appears in ways that are both positive and negative, but it's tolerance, whereas the former is acceptance.)

Cygnet said...

Yeah, good point, there are definitely two levels of meaning contained within "everybody's different".