• Thu, Nov 8 2012

Jennifer Lawrence Called Herself ‘Obese’ In Elle

Jennifer Lawrence isn’t my favorite celebrity in Hollywood–that whole apathy about the squirrel-skinning kind of made her unlikable to me–but she’s not my least favorite, either. I think she’s a decent actress and she seems just fine, for the most part. She’s also faced some incredibly stupid criticism.

She’s been called “too womanly” to play Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games, which is a critique I barely even understand. How can one be “too womanly” as a woman to play a woman? I get that in the book, she’s supposed to be 16, but plenty of women are already quite womanly by that time (remember that whole “puberty” business?), so it seems to be just a bizarre way of implying she’s too fat to play said character.

However, in Elle‘s December issue, she says a few things that also kind of irk me. According to Huffington Post, Lawrence reportedly stated:

“I eat like a caveman, I’ll be the only actress who doesn’t have anorexia rumors,” Lawrence told Elle. “In Hollywood, I’m obese. I’m considered a fat actress, I’m Val Kilmer in that one picture on the beach… I’m never going to starve myself for a part… I don’t want little girls to be like, ‘Oh, I want to look like Katniss, so I’m going to skip dinner,” she explained to the magazine. “That’s something I was really conscious of during training, when you’re trying to get your body to look exactly right. I was trying to get my body to look fit and strong- not thin and underfed.”

Okay, while I get that she’s doing the whole self-deprecation thing in order to reject insults from critics, I think she’s going about it in a somewhat insulting manner herself. First of all, calling yourself “obese” when you’re pretty obviously not, even if it’s prefaced by “in Hollywood,” has the potential to make any girl or woman reading that article who’s not in this kind of shape say, “Hey, that means I’m obese for Hollywood, too, if not morbidly so.”

Second, stating that every other actress has anorexia rumors and you’re the only one who never will is also rather insulting to all those other women. For a great many women, being tall and thin is simply how their bodies have developed, and being labeled “anorexic” is a really unfortunate thing that many of them have to deal with, which can be really hurtful whether or not you have an eating disorder.

Third, how do cavemen eat? Lots of hunting and gathering? Food only cooked over a fire? Explain to me this diet, Lawrence!

Pictured: Obese actresses grazing.

Believe me: I do think it’s great that she says she was trying to look “fit and strong.” Being in shape and having a good deal of strength is great for your body; however, making women feel like they would never be accepted in Hollywood because they, too, would be considered obese–as well as all the dozens of other celebrities who aren’t standard size–isn’t a great way to try and change that ideal. There is obviously much, much more wrong with those who insult her body and attempt to shame her for having a less waifish figure, but the answer is not to pseudo-shame herself.

[via HuffPo]

Photo Credits: Mr. Blue/WENN.com and WellCommons.

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  • nycgal

    I think the author entirely missed the point of Lawrence’s comment. She is considered a “fat actress” by Hollywood standards. She does not consider herself to be “obese” – nor does she think the average person thinks so. Misleading title, poorly written article.

    • mouse

      I agree completely. I’m usually such a fan of the Gloss and its writing, too.

    • Holly

      I think you guys missed a paragraph.

      “Okay, while I get that she’s doing the whole self-deprecation thing in
      order to reject insults from critics, I think she’s going about it in a
      somewhat insulting manner herself. First of all, calling yourself
      “obese” when you’re pretty obviously not, even if it’s prefaced by “in
      Hollywood,” has the potential to make any girl or woman reading that
      article who’s not in this kind of shape say, “Hey, that means I’m obese for Hollywood, too, if not morbidly so.”

    • Kate Barrington

      Gotta agree with nycgal and mouse. That paragraph implies that she’s buying into the Hollywood ideal, not talking about it for the purposes of changing it. I don’t think she’s “pseudo-shaming herself” as much as she is trying to illustrate the ridiculousness of the ideal.

    • Holly

      I can definitely see that. However, when I read Lawrence’s quote, I felt like she was definitely “psuedo-shaming”. But I’m certainly not Jennifer Lawrence, so I guess we’ll never know.

    • Krista

      I think it’s insulting of the author to suggest she’s being self-deprecating “in order to reject insults from critics.” She’s not being self-depricating, and she’s not looking for validation; she’s telling the truth–people have criticized her body for not being thin. And the fact of the matter is, Jennifer Lawrence is not perpetrating these Hollywood ideals but instead calling them out; it’s unfortunately a truth that Hollywood values thinness, just like it’s an unfortunate truth that eating disorders are part of the Hollywood community.

  • fran

    this is what happens when celebs talk to the interviewer like a friend, witty sarcasm frank speaking never works on paper.

  • Jules

    WTF?????…..misleading title, strange article. I think your attitude is very odd indeed because you realize the point Lawrence is making and you also are aware that Lawrence is well liked….genuine. So what gives?.

  • Breezy

    Yeah I don’t know that I agree with your take on this. She isn’t shaming people who are her size (or larger) or labeling them obese, but rather criticizing the Hollywood culture which considers her a fat actress. I also don’t think she is insulting actresses with anorexia rumors, but acknowledging that she will never be in that category because she refuses to change her health habits to become as skinny as Hollywood might like her to be.

    I much prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt in cases like this. Otherwise she is getting criticism from people who think she is “fat,” AND criticism from people like the author who think she is not having a positive body image in the right way. So I vote we cut old J Law some slack.

  • http://twitter.com/PortraitOfMmeX Madame X

    I adore Jennifer Lawrence and I think she’s a great actress. But Katniss is thin and underfed. So, yeah, her body is too womanly if you want to get all technical and canon about it. But she was great in Hunger Games so I think everyone is over it. Now if only we could keep people from freaking out when black people are cast as black characters…

  • Fabel

    I thought this had a lot of good points– especially (and yeah, I know this was actually kind of an aside) the squirrel-skinning thing. I felt like I was the only person horrified by that!

    • Anna

      Can you explain why that was so horrible to you though? I mean, that’s how meat is prepared. Was it because it was a squirrel? It’s not like it was alive!

  • JennyWren

    I think the biggest problem for me with this is that Lawrence isn’t having any difficulty getting parts. She’s still being consistently cast by the movie industry as a “hot” woman (for goodness sake, she was pretty much all about her body in X-Men…) so it seems extremely disingenuous for her to claim she isn’t seen as such by Hollywood. Yes, I get that she’s faced criticism for not being skinny enough for a particular part- but she’s still landing great leading roles, so she’s really not being as shunned as she seems to suggest.

  • Amy

    The moral of the story is that no female celebrity can ever say anything ever about weight or beauty or diet without sending the “wrong message” to all of us vulnerable easily-swayed women.

  • anon

    Fuck this article. She’s telling the truth. Everyone should understand that this IS how Hollywood is. Skinny minny women are superior in Hollywood. Why sugar-coat that? Little girls shouldn’t want to be accepted in Hollywood because it is a joke fantasy world.

  • http://twitter.com/mFeekk Feekk

    There is nothing that screams jealousy louder than this writer’s article…

  • 1678911

    She is not calling herself fat or obese she is saying that in Hollywood standards she is considered bigger which is true she is normal sized and in all reality almost all other actors are way to skinny. But it’s okay to be normal sized or on the bigger size. Jeez I’d rather be fat than to skinny anyday. If people who want to be in Hollywood are not really skinny I think they should think of Jennifer and say she has a point so what is people think she is fat she likes herself the way she is and I should too

  • http://www.facebook.com/bebotbebot Breena Marie

    I can’t really stand Jennifer Lawrence because of the way she skinny-shames. She should have replied to this in a different way. She totally puts down all the people that are naturally skinny as if they don’t eat enough, but a lot of skinny people just can’t gain weight. I can’t watch any of her movies or TV shows because it’s pathetic that she puts other weights down to make herself feel better. Not every person that is skinny starves themselves. Is she jealous of those other stars on TV like Victoria Justice, Nina Dobrev, etc,.. The girls that are naturally skinny? We don’t look human, we have boy bodies because we’re “skinny” and “underfed.” Please. If you’re trying to fight the criticism you get, this wasn’t the way to go.

    When you’re famous, you should really watch what you say. Everyone is beautiful in their own way. I don’t know why no one else realized what she said was rude to all the naturally skinny people, but I’m just stating the facts. She claims to be so “different” and tries to stand out, but what makes her any better when she puts people down for something they can’t change.