• Thu, Nov 29 2012

I Think People Who Hate Keira Knightley Are Just Bodysnarking

Keira Knightley in Anna Karenina

Why do women all seem to hate Keira Knightley? No, really, I know you do. I’m curious about why, though. Because personally, I like her quite a lot.

A while ago, our friend Tyler Coates over at Blackbook wrote a piece questioning the Keira Knightley hatred saying:

I don’t mean to be a Dude Who Calls Out Women here, but the criticisms I hear about Knightley’s failings here are generally reduced to “she sucks” or “her chin is too big.” Yeah, sure, she has a prominent chin. But that’s like saying that Christina Hendricks is a shitty actress because of her tits, no? Isn’t there something deeper here that we can point our fingers at? I mean, compared to other figures who receive well-documented vitriol (Zooey Deschanel or Gwyneth Paltrow, to name just two examples), Keira Knightley hardly does anything annoying. She doesn’t have any lifestyle websites, and she doesn’t make an attempts at a music career. All she has done, really, is been in pretty good movies and done pretty good jobs in all of them.

And those aren’t just regular people Tyler hears that “her chin is too big” comment from, either. A reviewer in The Guardian said that Keira would be, in part, unable to play Anna Karenina effectively because “there’s no getting around it, there’s the jaw thing.” As though a somewhat strong jaw renders acting impossible.

One commenter replied to Tyler’s piece, “she is beautiful but also has bitch face. That is why. No article needed.”

Well, wow, that is an awful reason. That is not a real thing, and that is the kind of logic that demands that women wear rictus grins at all times regardless of how they are feeling. And have plastic surgery to “improve” their already ridiculously beautiful faces.

Meanwhile, most of the criticisms I’ve heard of her fall along the lines of “Anna Karneina wouldn’t have had that body type.” Which, no, I suppose she would not have, because they did not have SoulCycle or whatever Keira Knightley does, in 19th century Russia. Anna also would not likely have had all of her teeth.

People did indeed, look different through much of history. They do not look that way in movies because we demand our movie stars look a certain way and criticize them relentlessly if they do not. I don’t think in a culture in which female celebrities are mocked for having any cellulite at all on the cover of national magazines you can fault any woman in the public eye for attempting to maintain a thin frame. It may not be achievable for a lot of people - especially if they lived in previous centuries – but we hear about many, many actresses adhering to strict dietary regimens.

And it seems to me that it’s just plain not consistent to dislike someone for having an unusual frame, especially since most women seem to love Christina Hendricks and her frame is equally unachievable for most people.

Is that really a reason we hate Keira Knightley? Because she seems to have a slender frame? That’s a terrible reason to hate her. Hell, that’s a terrible reason to hate anyone.

Share This Post:
  • Candace

    I LOVE KEIRA KNIGHTLY. She seems so down to earth. And I would pay a million billion dollars to look like her.

    • http://twitter.com/JenAshleyWright Jennifer Wright

      Even with the jaw thing!? (I’m sorry, I find this so ridiculous when she is SO LOVELY).

  • MoLiss

    I love Keira Knightly too! I think she is fabulous. Absolutely.

  • Giraffe

    YAY for this article! I love her I think she is a great actress and freaking gorgeous (I even liked her in a dangerous method – yikes. But come on her and Fassbender? Steamy.) Anyway! Thank you for writing this I think people who hate on her are honestly just jealous of her body type. My coworker (won’t comment on her physique but let’s just say she does not have a thin frame or too many pleasing physical attributes) once said “ugh, she’s ugly! that under-bite!” I mean seriously gurl?? Have you looked in the mirror?? I bet you are a LOT more forgiving on yourself (or you wouldn’t even dare to say that). Damn. Let one person DARE criticize your physique and there’d be hell to pay but you hate on a beautiful girl because of her under-bite?? Rant done.

  • samwise

    Sometimes I find her kind of annoying, but she is beautiful and classy and over all I like her alot. I didn’t realize her jawline was a thing! The stuff you learn from forum postings!! Additionally:Go Brunettes! woot.

  • Fabel

    She is gorgeous & I’ve always liked her. And yeah, the negative things I hear about her always have something to do with her body, which is bullshit.

  • Nicole

    I find I am among the masses that dislikes Keira. I simply dislike the way
    she acts. I think she gives a similar performance each movie regardless
    of the quality or subject matter. I’m not above watching Love,
    Actually, Bend It Like Beckham or some sweet ass Pirates of the Caribbean, but still think
    she leaves a lot to be desired. Regardless of body size/image I would not be in her corner.

    • Nikola

      So you don’t like how she acts(how good she is at her job) and therefore you dislike her as a person? You wouldn’t be willing to defend her against vile verbal attacks on her body/looks? But when are those ever okay?

    • badu

      When they’re medicalized.

    • anna

      i think nicole just said she didn’t like her acting. nothing about her as a person.

    • Nikola

      “I find I am among the masses that dislikes Keira.” That is the first thing she says. She then follows with the reason why, “I simply dislike the way she acts”. Maybe that wasn’t the meaning she meant to convey, and maybe I am being overly particular, but the internet has become a cruel, cruel space, and I think we need to start being more thoughtful in how we use language when talking about other people.

    • Tori

      Obviously a lot of people dislike actors and actresses and aren’t necessarily talking about them in their personal lives because none of us know them that way. I’m sure there are actors you dislike too, you’re just taking this to a ridiculous length. The way you’re using language, it seems like we’re not allowed to dislike any actor for any reason.

    • Anon

      You’re reading way too much into words that were likely not intended to convey the literal meaning you’ve interpreted them to mean. Yes, the Internet has become a “cruel, cruel space,” but readers also nitpick where it simply isn’t necessary or rational, forgoing the use of basic reading comprehension skills and abandoning logical understanding of context altogether. In other words, sometimes it isn’t all that deep.

  • Nikola

    Wait, women hate her? But, but…I’m a woman…and I like her…so….I’m not a woman, I don’t know my own feelings, or sometimes dudes like to perpetrate the idea that women are always catty with on another? Are some women super judgmental about the looks of other women? Sure. But are they the majority? Do they really represent women as a gender? I don’t think so.

    He sounds less like ‘Dude Who Calls Out Women’, and more like ‘Dude Who Perpetuates Damaging Stereotypes of Women So That He Has Something To Write About’.

    I think it is more worrying that people (of both genders) go so quickly from “I don’t like the way she looks” to “I hate her”.

  • Jenn

    I find that I am rather apathetic about Keira Knightly. I think she is very uniquely attractive, but I find her acting quite… shallow. I find that she has found some acting tools and just rests on them instead of actively trying to make me FEEL the character. I just never believe her in any of her roles. I never see Elizabeth Bennet, I see Keira Knightly playing EB. I will still probably go see Anna Karenina in a hope that she will be able to bring depth of character (after all, it hopefully, it is something that can be improved), but I am not overly optimistic.

    • Nikola

      I think it is rather brave of her to take on the role of impersonating such well known female literary characters. How can she ever live up to the image that was in everyone’s mind? I feel like she is getting flack for her acting, simple because her interpretation of Elizabeth Bennett was different than the one people imagined when they read P&P. But that would be impossible to do! She doesn’t have to be YOUR version of EB, she just has to be an interesting one. Honestly, her version didn’t match mine, but I found that I liked EB, as a character, better in the Keira Knightly version than the one I created when I read the book.

      Never realized I was a Keira Knightly fan until I so how shallow some of the attacks against her are. Also: attractiveness and talent are not the be all, end all reasons that make a person worthwhile.

    • Beverly

      You seem to be constantly jumping on other people’s comments, when the majority of them have calmly described how they dislike her as an actress because of her acting abilities, and nothing of her looks or personality. Many people I know find Keira very beautiful, but also think that her acting talent often brings little to the film – including myself but also many men. I have no opinion on Keira the person, because I don’t know anything to form an opinion on. But I can have an opinion on Keira the actress, as I’ve seen her films. How is it shallow to critic her acting? She divides the ‘critics’ often enough, why can’t she divide the general public. If people critic my work, am I now allowed to turn around and tell them they are only doing that because they are quite obviously jealous of my looks?

      And whilst I agree with you that attractiveness and talent are not the be all, end all reasons that make a person worthwhile (I fail to see why you keep mentioning actractiveness under comments that either recognise her beauty or make no comment on her looks, other than a petty way to make it seem that all Keira-naysayers are only hating on her because of her looks), I do believe that talent is the be all, end all of an ACTRESS…

  • Courtney

    I think KK is perfection. She isn’t my favorite actress, but she is still a very good one. There is a reason why she is always cast in period pieces. She has a regal, timeless beauty. I think Rachel Wiesz would have been a far superior choice for AK as AK is meant to be more womanly and more mature. AK would have been a great choice for Kitty though.

  • deskpencilwindow

    That constitutes a big jaw/chin? Come on…

    As for her body type… I have a feeling this is an example of the “love your curves” movement going too far. She clearly has a small frame and doesn’t carry much fat. Some people really do just default to that state without starving themselves. Shaming them for being slim is identical to shaming those with larger builds.

    Otherwise, she really isn’t much of an attention whore or anything. She’s a competent actress (watch “Never Let Me Go” and tell me she can’t act) and really doesn’t do anything to attract such ire.

    • Lucy

      Totally agree with you. People say KK doesn’t look womanly because she doesn’t have a body like Christina Hendricks. Not every woman can, does, or wants to, and as someone with a small bust, I love the way KK doffs her top in sexy movies. She’s a small woman, but no less womanly. She’s a solid actress, too. Love her. To say someone has a “bitch face” is so hateful.

    • L

      I couldn’t agree more. I hate how apparently to elevate one group of women, people have to tear down another. I much prefer the elegant and talented Keira Knightly to that overrated, cartoonish and pasty blob Christina Hendricks. Just b/c she makes fat chicks feel better about themselves (and turns on perverted guys) doesn’t automatically make her the epitome of beauty.

    • Leiko

      I don’t agree with that “love your curves” thing. I’m proud of my curves, but I think Keira is perfect the way she is.

    • ann

      No it isnt. And there aint no white racism neither. And i dont really care because the backlash of the bigotry we experience is anger, so cry me a river about some thin person angry because a rich, powerful, adored person is called tooo thin. anna

  • Megan

    I LOVE LOVE Kiera Knightly. I wasn’t aware that many people didn’t like her.

  • jamiepeck

    I don’t know anyone who hates Keira Knightley! Is this a real thing? I’ve always thought of her as a decent actress who is in lots of movies I can watch with my mom. No more, no less.

  • len132

    I like Keira Knightley! Also, her chin is huge? I have never noticed this…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=740815675 Anita Høiland

    The people needing to degrade her roles in movies based on movies ALONE, have a pathetically low self-esteem and their only means of raising this is by making others feel like shit too.

    I absolutely adore Keira in many roles, as in The Jacket, the POTC-series, Atonement, Pride and Prejudice and other similar period dramas as the latter two examples. She’s a beautiful actress and I consider her a truly British Rose. People snarking on her body weight have truly nothing to bring to the conversations, as she’s always been slim and narrow. She truly looks quite healthy too, no sallow skin, dull hair, dull eyes or anything.

    And most importantly, she looks happy too.

  • Sabrina

    Hahaha, I was just at a theater a few weeks ago and there was a giant poster for Anna Karenina, and my friend turned to me and said “I just can’t stand Keira Knightley’s face, I think it’s her chin. She just bugs me.” Wherein I pointed out that she’s a fantastic actress in all the roles she plays. “yeah, I guess…” was the begrudging response.

  • mm

    I think she’s funny looking in a really gorgeous way. So is Meryl Streep, and everyone loves her. I love them both, and both are great actresses. Obvs Meryl is better but she’s better than everyone. People need to stop being so mean. Her looks have NOTHING to do with her abilities, and she’s one of the few women in Hollywood who isn’t constantly using her sexuality in movies to get ahead, which I think is commendable to say the least.

  • Kayla

    I didn’t know this was a thing? Who hates Kiera Knightly? Because I LOVE her! Period dramas are my favorite and that is basically the bread and butter of her acting so she has always been one of my favorites. Not that I don’t also love her in Domino. I feel that she excels in costumed dramas but still love her when she changes it up a bit. :)

  • Anon

    I’m actually in love with her. She’s one of my favorite actresses. She’s talked about having a naturally thin frame and how she has very small breasts. She’s refused to have a boob job several times and she was actually CGI’d in Pirates of the Caribbean to look like she had fuller tits, which I think is, you know, rude. So I think she’s been through her share of body-hate and people trying to change her so I think we can all understand that although maybe not all of us have been mocked for being TOO thin.

  • http://twitter.com/Eva_fate Eva Rinaldi

    This is a good point. I have no really problem with her other than that she’s part of a class of virtually interchangeable actresses who’s main job is to be pretty and tough looking and plays the same role in most films. Most problems with actresses like this are usually problems with casting companies or film formulas.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=577380350 Christina Elizabeth Grizanti

    I have been a fan of Keira Knightley since Bend It Like Beckham. I don’t focus on an actress’s body or face so much as their performance and ability to act. I think that KK is an exceptional actress that really embodies the roles she acts. it is a shame that some people focus on their dislike of her body and face and let that negate her talent (I, too, did not realize that she is disliked by some). I feel that some women can be, at times, the cruelest judges of other women. It makes me want to cruise over to some men’s sites and see if they are as harsh for such superficial reasons.

  • Nancy

    She annoys me. For no good reason, though. I think her face is beautiful, I don’t get how anyone could say she’s too thin to be in movies lol (though I found it really hard to buy that she could possibly be a bounty hunter in Domino), but something about when she makes a whiny-ish voice and scrunches her nose in anger or joy really irks me. No idea why.

  • http://blog.dianeshipley.com diane shipley

    I took against her years ago, but not because of how she looks. (From certain angles, she resembles a young Winona Ryder, so how could I?) I just find her a mediocre actress whose whose perpetually open mouth is her only expression, and functions instead of any kind of emotional depth in her performances. What’s more, the fact that she keeps pulling in these huge roles is a reminder that not everyone thinks like I do, which is another slap in the face.

  • JennyWren

    I never used to like her acting much, but I think she’s really improved in that respect over the last few years (and I actually loved A Dangerous Method, though I will readily admit she is probably the best part of it). Whenever she interviews she seems so down to earth and like she’d have a really good sense of humor, so yeah. Insofar as her body type, it works for her in the same way Hendricks’ body type works for her. It’s not like we have to pick sides, they’re both gorgeous women!

  • M -

    I’ve never heard of women hating her. All my friends like her… or maybe they’re afraid of offending me, because I absolutely adore her.

  • AmbienceChaser

    I think her jawline is a feature, not a bug.

  • http://twitter.com/katipettit1 Kati

    I kinda love her. And being a girl with a chin, I kinda dislike this idea that she’s bad JUST because of her jawline or being too thin? I really think the whole embrace your curves thing is getting out of hand (and I’m not a thin girl). Lets just start embracing all body types. And KK is great in the costume pieces. She can seriously carry those dresses! I can’t wait to see her new movie.

  • Leiko

    I don’t think it’s true, that women hate Keira. Every woman I know likes her, and I’m just mad about her. I first found out I loved her listening to her commentary for “Curse of the Black Pearl”. She was funny and smart, and just adorable. I think she’s a good actress and she’s beautiful. I love her movies.

    The only times I’ve ever heard anyone criticize her, it was always a man doing it. She’s too skinny, or she can’t act. Bullshit.

    • Leiko

      PS, she’s not rail thin. I think the only reason some people think she’s too skinny is because she doesn’t have a large bust, and after seeing how she was done up in the first “Pirates” movie, (pushed-up, padded and high-lighted) everyone expected her to. If she had a larger chest, she’d be “Hollywood normal”.

  • Tristian Blake

    There are plenty of actors that I have trouble watching because their faces irk me but I’m also perfectly aware that it’s a personal annoyance of *mine* – I shouldn’t complain about them or stop other people watching them just cause they bug *me*.

  • MR

    For a man, it is such a shame, for she is so talented. Complex character she plays in this film. The dual-standard of male vs female adultery.

  • Samantha_Escobar

    Y’know, I don’t really like some of her past movies (which has zero to do with her and mostly to do with the plots/genres), but I love photos of her. I always feel like she looks like she’s actually thinking about something very serious besides “now I must pose,” as many people having portraits taken often do. I’m actually planning on seeing Anna Karenina, though, since I’m aware of the plot and know I will love the film. I think her roles, like this one, are exceptionally well cast…she just kind of fits into those eras, which is rad.

    Also, I really don’t like how socially acceptable it is to dislike people for their weights, whether it’s solely, partially or slightly. Guh.

  • kj

    Chin?! What?! Also, Jennifer, it’s “Georgiana” in the Duchess.

    And yes, that movie made me cry for 3 days.

    I think that needs to be my scale for what constitutes a good movie. If I’m not crying for at least 48 hours afterwards, it was mediocre.

  • VanCan

    Actors act with their bodies. Audiences watch actors’ bodies. Their bodies are not beyond criticism and it’s not “snarking” is members of the audience find fault with what an actor looks like or how he/she uses their body in a role. I find Keira’s constant thrusting, jutting, cocking jaw hugely distracting onscreen. Big whoop, she’ll still get roles and make money. She’s a thin, young, white woman in an industry that trips over itself to hire thin, young, white women. The poor baby’s not exactly suffering, you know.

  • Sarah

    There is no reason to hate her, but so many people do. I love her to death, but I would never tell my friends (stupid, I know). Ok, if you don’t like her acting, but the comments are always about her thin body and teeth/jaw. I think her jaw is beautiful, and we should celebrate her for not getting her teeth fixed or boobs done.
    She’s also very intelligent, you can tell by her interviews, she is funny, down to earth and always looking for a challange. How can you hate that?

  • http://www.facebook.com/robin.yokel Mouche Bonneau

    I don’t hate her. But this is the reason I dislike her as an actress (not as a human being ’cause I think she’s actually a pretty cool human being): she’s in plenty of pretty good movies and she does pretty well in all of them BECAUSE SHE DOES THE SAME DAMN THING IN ALL OF THEM. THE SAME THING EVERY TIME. So I don’t hate her. Her movies just bore me to death at this point. If you’ve seen one, You’ve seen them all.

  • Lerie

    I agree with this whole article. I really like Keira, her acting, her face, body, etc. In fact, the other two mentioned (Gwyneth and Zooey) I also don’t mind either. It’s the Kardashian-types of the world that need to be shot out into space.

  • Cat

    I dislike Kiera Knightley and for none of the above reasons. There are plenty of other actresses who are quite thin or have some quirky feature and yet do not rapidly engender the same intense irritation. I think she is an unconvincing actress who seems to repetitively replay vaguely different versions of ‘Kiera Knightly’. While she is clearly beautiful to look at her monochrome, homogeneous performances genuinely put me off watching anything with her in it.

  • Lara

    The hate current right has mellowed quite a bit… a couple years ago, she was like one of the most irrationally hated actress out there. If it isn’t the chin, it’s her teeth, if it isn’t that, it’s her weight, her pouty lips… oh she’s anorexic… she’s too thin.. She’s a horrible actress… And the British critics slammed her and flamed her at every turn… They basically used to tear her to parts… which is just horrible. She’s not the greatest actress ever nor has she ever claimed to be the next Ingrid Bergman.. There are more superficial, one range/ no range actress out there, being loved and widely acclaimed… and this double standard bonanza is just annoying

    Keira’s always been classy chic, she is perfectly articulate without sounding too pretentious in interviews and genuinely seems to be quite a nice human being… Hasn’t been involved in scandals, hasn’t acted like a diva… Yet people think she’s toxic, well I might sound moronic, but I don’t know what could be more toxic than the Internet mob venting its frustration on Keira Knightley while making excuses for actors known to be women beaters.

    So what she did back to back movies… she took all the opportunities given… were they always inspired? Maybe not… but for actresses is much harder, almost impossible to make movies after a certain age… Not everyone of them is Streep or Sarandon.

  • Agnes

    That’s ridiculous. Yes there might be bodysnarking people hating on her (and hating on a lot of other actresses too) but she’s also a pretty average actress. She mostly does period films and she’s ok. Everytime her roles ask for something more i just feel she fails to deliver. (Funny enough i think she fitted really well the part in the method even though people say she sucked). And yes people who don’t like her (or even people who like her) will comment on her body. Just like people comment on Kristina Hendricks big breasts sometimes even calling her fat. I’m a girl and i think i should be allowed to say that i don’t like her without being ‘called out’. Anyway i think she looks like a lovely person (don’t get the bitch face thing) and she has a very interesting face. her thin frame is clearly a result of a fast metabolism so there’s not much to say there. And as far as i’m aware most people who dislike her body are guys. All the girls i know love her frame.

  • Alyssa

    I think Keira Knightly is gorgeous and I could care less about her body. I think it’s ridiculous that people criticize actresses or actors weights, period. Like that thing with Jennifer Lawrence and how fans of the book said she was too curvy to play Katniss Everdeen? If they’re not comfortable with modifying their bodies for a role, their decision should be respected. That being said, I don’t care for Miss Knightly as an actress. I’ve never been impressed with any role I’ve seen her in. It’s not that I think she’s a bad actress, just not a memorable one, and while I do agree that an actress’s performance should be judged by her looks, I also don’t think that an actress should be promoted and praised for her beauty when she is only a so-so actress.

  • Ms_Vanilla_Rose

    I read that she wears fur. If true, that does suggest she’s a bit callous. I like that she hasn’t felt the need for breast implants.

  • Tori

    No, she just does an annoying thing with her mouth when she talks in order to make her lips look bigger. I don’t hate her, but people don’t have to like her either. Sometimes a person just rubs you the wrong way, I don’t think she’s a great actress.

  • iamthegreatcornholio

    I’ve always found her both incredibly beautiful and talented. I didn’t realize hating her was a thing. And what the hell are they talking about with her jaw…do they not have eyes? She’s incredible!

  • vicker

    i am a woman… i’m afraid i can’t stand KK’s acting, although i thought she did a good job in ‘the duchess’. it’s not because she’s thin, i also abhor numerous other ‘actors’, and have a longstanding aversion to Tom Cruise. kk just seems to lack substance in films, i can never get any sense of what or who she is… she has no charisma… and no matter what sterling effort she puts in, she does always come across as a little girl trying very hard in a school play.

  • Nightingale

    I personally don’t like her, not sure why. I respect her as a pretty good actress, but I simpl think she’s ugly and don’t get why all men are so crazy about it. I get what they like about Salma Hayek or Lucy Lawless, they are beautiful, very feminine women but Keira….

  • MrRMan

    every thing is fine as long as shee keep her mouth shut

  • oh man

    I dislike keira knightley because she makes men misogynist,thin women fatshame like crazy and we are all accused of being jealous for daring to think that she may have put in a bad performance. She makes men dehumanize fat women by saying that we are not as good as her, she inspires thinspiration and bigotry in skinny girls who think that thinshaming is a thing and gives them an open to abuse and shame us. Thats why i dislike her. But I dont dislike her as a person or an actress because she is not the one at fault. Despite some horrid comments she made about fat peopl. I think shes a goos actress. But it is not ok to cast herbin karinia. Its not ok to use power to validate a choice. She was wrong for that part byt because the thin body is adored they refused to cast a better suited actress. its notok to use a thin person for a fat character either. Its time to end the skinny supremacy .

    • Pam

      So basically you dislike her for the actions of others who she has absolutely nothing to do with, and because you have a planet-sized chip on your shoulder.

  • jk

    she had – i don’t know if she still does – an extremely disproportionate body, huge and short legs and flat-chested,narrow torso. it suprises me that people consider her thin. to make matters worse,she suffered from acne.my point is that she’s def not top-quality and i can understand how she can make people throw up – though apparently and surprisingly not for the same reasons stated in the article.
    i personally am unable to feel strongly about her because she’s a complete stranger and completely non-ispirational but if for some reason i were to dislike her, i would do so for being underprivileged rather than privileged. for having fat horrible thighs and calves (at least in most photos) rather than for being supposedly thin.