• Wed, Oct 2 - 1:20 pm ET

Even Jennifer Lawrence Can’t Let Go Of Being Called Fat

jennifer lawrence

It’s crazy to me that we live in a world where your best friend Jennifer Lawrence, who to my eye seems like the paragon of conventional un-freaking-believable beauty, can be considered anything but perfect. But this is world today: women get bullied for not measuring up to beauty standards every second, and conventionally attractive movie stars are hardly immune. Lawrence is on the cover of November’s Harper’s Bazaar UK, and she opened up about being called fat early on in her career:

“I was young. It was just the kind of sh*t that actresses have to go through. Somebody told me I was fat, that I was going to get fired if I didn’t lose a certain amount of weight. They brought in pictures of me where I was basically naked, and told me to use them as motivation for my diet. It was just that.”

Oh for the love of all that’s good. This hurts my heart. It’s never, ever okay to shame someone for their size, but there is something especially cutting when you shame someone so young and inherently vulnerable. She continues to say that it’s still a painful experience:

[Someone brought it up recently] They thought that because of the way my career had gone, it wouldn’t still hurt me. That somehow, after I won an Oscar, I’m above it all. ‘You really still care about that?’ Yeah. I was a little girl. I was hurt. It doesn’t matter what accolades you get. I know it’ll never happen to me again. If anybody even tries to whisper the word ‘diet’, I’m like, ‘You can go f*ck yourself.’

What Lawrence’s quote really drives home is the idea that being made to feel ashamed of your body stays with you. I know that I still carry emotional baggage about being bullied as a child for the way I looked, but I wasn’t being bullied by tabloids, critics, and industry insiders who could control the future of my career. Lawrence, on the other hand, has achieved the highest success that’s possible for women (won an Oscar, Maxim’s #6 Hottest Woman of 2012), and is frequently held up as a standard of physical beauty. But that ultimately shows us that beauty standards are useless and made up, because even one of the most conventionally attractive women on earth can’t win. And she still carries the sting of being told that she wasn’t good enough, despite her unbelievable success, because for some people, no amount of success can really cancel about being told that your body isn’t good enough.

Photos: Getty Images, Harper’s Bazaar UK

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  • Becca

    Whoa. I get the point you’re making, but I really have to take huge exception with this sentence: “Lawrence, on the other hand, has achieved the highest success that’s possible for women (won an Oscar, Maxim’s #6 Hottest Woman of 2012), and is frequently held up as a standard of physical beauty.”

    First, winning an Oscar is a measure of success for a man or woman. Second, why would being named to Maxim’s Hot List part of “the highest success that’s possible for women”? You know full well it’s a measure of how good your PR people are rather than a measure of how you look.

    The sentence should be reworded: “Lawrence, on the other hand, has achieved the highest success possible in her chosen profession by winning an Oscar, and is frequently held up as a standard of physical beauty.”

    • Julia Sonenshein

      Joke?

    • Becca

      I figured, but when you mentioned it in the same parentheses with a measure of actual professional success, it just was tonally jarring. Especially in what was otherwise a great piece.

  • S.

    I love that you used general language like “way I looked” and “…your body isn’t good enough.” It’s not just about being called fat is it?

    I’ve been bullied for my size (thin but short) and it does hurt just as badly, because I can’t do anything about being tiny (like barely 5 feet).

    Sometimes, people think there is only one particular type of bullying/body-shaming (being called fat) that deserves our ire, but really no matter how you look, it’s not okay for people to constantly tell you it’s not good enough.