• Tue, Dec 11 2012

Reese Witherspoon Accidentally Says ‘Health’ When She Means ‘Weight’

Weight and health are not the same thing. They are not the same thing in a boat, with a goat, here, there, or anywhere. And yet, the media and our fat-hating culture in general persist in conflating the two every single chance they get, so it’s easy to see how a person could get confused. A person like the recently pregnant Reese Witherspoon.

In a recent interview with Extra, America’s sweetheart said one when she meant the other, or at least that’s how Us Weekly makes it sound:

Speaking to Extra at the event, Witherspoon said of her efforts to lose weight: “I don’t know if I’m bouncing back. I’m slowly crawling back. You know, all of your joints feel wobbly, and your head is sort of confused. You just have to be gentle and patient with yourself and just sort of, you know…slowly get back to your health,” she continued.

You know she was wondering what to say during those ellipses. “If you say weight, you’ll come off like a shallow, weight obsessed, Hollywood hydra of a mother who would rather go to the gym than spend time with her precious miracle,” she thought to herself. “If you say health, you’ll sound, um, healthy, but also like you are lying and/or consider creating a new life to be unhealthy. Um…health!”

Of course it’s possible to gain weight by leading an unhealthy lifestyle, in which case improving your lifestyle may cause you to lose weight, but that’s not what happened to Reese Witherspoon. She had a baby. It’s unhealthy if you don’t gain some weight while you are pregnant, because you are making a whole new person, and that new person requires you to eat a whole bunch more and stop doing high impact exercises. Pregnancy is not a disease you become healthy when you recover from, but a perfectly normal (for some people) part of the circle of life. Kumbaya!

To be fair, an actress can’t really win on this question. Even if Reese had disclosed that she was mainly trying to lose weight because the people who make shitty chick flicks expect her to look a certain way (a disclosure I admire when people make it), some would have accused her of being ungrateful for her success. Nuts.

It’s not Reese Witherspoon’s fault our culture has such an ass backwards approach to “weight” and “health,” and I don’t want to sound like I’m attacking her in particular. I’m not. But maybe if she sees some of the discussion surrounding this quote, she’ll realize it’s a systemic problem that she can try to help correct. I will always like her for the performance she gave in Election (and I will always wonder why she’s been in so many terrible movies since then), but she can only sail on that for so long.

(Via Jezebel)

Photo: WENN

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  • Cee

    I think there is a lot of nitpicking in this. In the quote she is not talking about exercise or diet, she’s talking about other physical symptoms that a woman can feel after having a baby. So, I’m thinking instead of answering with “yea, I ate lots of kale and cried all day” she focused on the other post partum issues because she’s tired of being asked about her weight. So health is the right answer as she is talking about having those symptoms go away.

    • Trish

      I was going to say this exact same thing. She’s talking about her joints and her brain, not her ass and her thighs. That’s her health, not her weight.

      Though the author of this is right about one thing. Actresses can’t win no matter what when talking about any aspect of their physical being post-baby. Even if they aren’t talking about their weight, people will accuse them of actually secretly talking about their weight. Super lame.

    • jamiepeck

      The way Us Weekly worded it (“said of her efforts to lose weight”), it sounds like she was asked specifically about her weight. Of course, there’s a chance her quote was taken out of context, in which case: shame on them.

    • Cee

      Its US Weekly…the magazine with amazing journalists that refer to any pregnant celebrity as Pregnant So and So (Pregnant Beyonce, Pregnant Kate Middleton) throughout the span of their pregnancy and start the weight loss countdown the moment the baby exits the vagina (or cesarean incision). Maybe it flew over their head that she didn’t talk about her weight loss because zomg how is it possible for a woman that just gave birth to talk about anything other than that?!

  • Sabrina

    I think the biggest problem here is the fact that a “journalist” was even asking about her efforts to lose weight in the first place. What a weird world we live in.

  • Sarah

    I’m okay with her using the word health, because I felt like CRAP for quite a while after having my babies. Not just mentally, but physically icky.