• Thu, Feb 17 2011

Actresses and Their Big, Full-Mouthed Lies

I think it’s safe to say that most of us, by this point, find the requisite “I love to eat all the bacon and all the cheese and are you going to finish those fries?” comments from actresses in magazine interviews more than a little irritating. We know that they’re not indicative of anything near the truth: every woman in Hollywood cannot be blessed with the ability to consume thousands of calories a day and remain rail thin. It’s just not statistically possible.

But apparently, we’re not the only ones gagging on our real-life sandwiches when we read these bon mots dropping out of the full mouths of starlets. Apparently, it’s become such an overused “I’m just a normal girl” tactic that it’s been given a name: documented instance of public eating, or DIPE. The New York Times reports:

For regular readers of glossy magazines — which depend on interviews with famous people to generate chatter and goose newsstand sales — such situations have become increasingly familiar…A writer meets a starlet for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The starlet, usually of slim and gamine proportions, appears to thwart our expectations by ordering and consuming, with conspicuous relish, a meal that might satisfy a hungry dockworker.

Such passages are widespread enough in the pages of American periodicals that at least one longtime film publicist, Jeremy Walker, has coined a term of art for them: the documented instance of public eating, or DIPE.

Well, thank god we’re not the only ones who’ve noticed.

The article goes on to make the link between a woman’s appetite for food and her appetite for sex, which may be what she’s trying to sell to men.

But in my opinion, that’s a theoretical leap that’s at the bottom of the pile of reasons that actresses pretend to gorge on food. Instead, I think the most pressing is also the most distressing — the dominant social more at the moment for some women is to openly hate on other women who are successfully controlling their weight: “Ugh, you’re not ordering fries? That’s why you’re so skinny.” “Of course you’re sticking to your diet, you’re so good.”

These kinds of interactions make both women feel bad about themselves, are totally unproductive, and should change. But in the meantime, I suspect that actresses don’t want to risk putting female readers off, because, you know, they need females and males to want to see their movies, or they have no career.

Besides, no one wants to be the woman who gets flayed for dieting successfully. Have you ever experienced that? It’s awful. I’ve had friends — and in fact, I’ve done this myself — who wouldn’t tell anyone they were dieting for fear of having their success thwarted by haters.

Yes, it’s a fucked-up world we live in, and it’s irritating to read something in which an actress tells a writer a blatant lie, that writer pretends to buy it hook, line and sinker, and then he or she reports it back to you as if you’re supposed to be equally snowed. But, I guess actresses have to get by, too.

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  • Eileen

    So completely dead on.

    Especially when actresses/models pretend to eat all the time and never go to the gym. My best friend is a size-2 model who eats fairly normally, so I do accept that models and actresses eat. But she’s at the gym going hard every day. Of course, going to the gym regularly takes discipline, and some women will hate you for that, too.

  • Kat

    They probably work out a lot to balance out the calories, or puke it up later, haha. I’m nearly underweight for my height and I don’t work out or eat healthy, so I guess some people might be telling the truth about being able to eat whatever they want.

  • Danielle

    I can accept the fact that it’s an actresses job to look good. But not the lie that they don’t spend tons of time and money doing it. I only know one person who has what I would consider a near perfect figure and doesn’t do a damn thing to work at it. My sister-in-law is tiny and taught. She’s had two kids and eats like a truck driver. Lucky her.

  • Tasha

    I think it would be great if some actors/actresses/famous types stepped up and told everyone just what they do to stay thin and fit. I suppose some would say this would encourage kids to emulate some potential unhealthy behaviors, but i think it would be good dose of reality for the world to know how much work it takes to look the way they do.

    • SpringChicken

      Some do. Julianne Moore has been really open about it. Yet another reason to love her…

  • Julezyme

    I’ve noticed this trend for many years but never connected it to men. Are many men reading actress interviews in Vogue, Vanity Fair, or Sunday Style? I’ve alway attributed it as a sop to female readers who are being simultaneously reassured that eating fries is okay – see! even Celeb X eats fries – and rubbing their noses in the fact that they aren’t as (effortlessly) thin as that fry-noshing celeb. This does double duty for the publishers of the magazine. 1) The interviewee is relatable and sympathetic, and the reader is comforted that glamour is not completely out of reach (by way of having to restrict almost all pleasurable eating/work out all the time/afford a nutritionist). 2) The reader’s neuroses about her body and lifestyle are stoked, as is her envy that this magical lucky celeb is both full of delicious food AND thin+beautiful, so she is primed to be susceptible to the advertisements for instant quick-fix beauty and status products being marketed to her on the facing and every second subsequent page.