|Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash|
Trigger warning: I mention weights, and sizes of famous actresses, and contain photos of them as well. If this is triggering to you please skip this article. If you need help dealing with an eating disorder please check out these resources.
I used to think I knew what healthy looked like. I thought it was a 5' 9" 130 lb, <20% body fat chick. I thought it meant working out every day for at least two hours. That it meant really, really never having fatty, or sugary foods except on cheat days. That to be healthy meant that you had to make up for any "non-healthy" foods the next day by restricting calories or by working out at the gym. I used to think that as long as you were skinny, you could really do anything else, like smoke cigarettes, binge drink, etc. and still be healthy.
I believed this because I thought the paragon of a healthy life was weight.
I recently saw a short article about actresses that were considered "fat" (I will use quotation marks to indicate the derogatory term) during their famous films, when in reality they were actually normal sized. And this article (which you can find here) really opened my eyes.
Most of the time when we discuss Hollywoods influence on our view of body image, and body size we discuss how they push us to attain an impossible, photoshopped image. And this is completely true. But, I realized that besides pushing us to attain a certain size, Hollywood normalizes potentially underweight body sizes, while ostracizing normal body sizes, not to mention making any actual fat characters out to be evil, stupid, or needing to lose the weight to really become happy.
|America Ferrera circa 2004|
Here's the fuckin' kick in the face-America Ferrera was a completely normal size. Average American girl, normal BMI (despite how useless BMI is) and everything. And I know that I saw her as the "fat" girl too.
I used to idolize people like Kierra Knightly or Natalie Portman (especially in Black Swan) because of how skinny they were. And I wanted to be that skinny. I thought they looked great. But, looking back, I realize that their weights probably weren't very healthy for me, and possibly not healthy for them.
Now, don't get me wrong, being skinny is not bad. If you are a skinny chick, awesome rock it.
What I am saying is that more than likely, the actresses, actors, and images of people placed in front of us on the big screens are probably worked on a lot, for the sake of the money.
I realize more often how skewed our perception of a "healthy size" is when people are thinking that super skinny actresses are normal looking. Super skinny is Hollywood normal, not the actual representation of the diversity of the human body, and I think it is high time that we start reminding ourselves of that.
|Stella Maeve circa 2017|
So next time you catch yourself wondering why you can't look like Stella Maeve, or Jessica Alba, or Angelina Jolie, just remember that while they are all amazing, beautiful women in their own right, their sizes, no matter how often shown and idolized by Hollywood, are not the norm.
You don't have to look like anyone but you, and everyone else only has to look like themselves, so celebrate that diversity, and remember that 99.9% of Hollywood films, photos, etc. are mostly an illusion anyway.
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