Over the years, Jessica Simpson has faced an unacceptable amount of scrutiny when it comes to her weight, and the birth of her two children Maxwell and Ace amplified a conversation about her body that was already too loud. Well everyone can shut up now (no really, shut up), because Simpson has announced publicly that she lost all the baby weight she put on while growing a small human inside her body. Hooray.
Simpson became a spokesperson for Weight Watchers after the birth of her first child and continued the gig after her second pregnancy, so I understand that talking about her successful weight loss is part of her job. I don’t begrudge Weight Watchers for existing, because if people want to lose weight in a measured, healthy way (according to commercials and everyone’s Aunt Linda), then that’s their business. But I wonder about the cognitive dissonance of Simpson giving interviews talking about the media scrutiny over her weight and seeming reasonable and relaxed about her weight and then turning around and saying “hey look guys I’m skinny again.”
Another thing that worries me about the premium that Simpson put on wrangling her post-baby body into its pre-baby form is the unrealistic expectation that non-celebrity types can achieve the same thing. While she’s open about using the services of a personal chef and seeing a personal trainer four days week, I’m afraid that part will get lost in the SKINNY AGAIN headlines.
I don’t think there should be any public option about her weight whatsoever, whether she gains or loses 100 pounds. Proudly announcing weight loss post-baby is a favorite game of celebrities (see: Kim Kardashian) but hugely reinforces our concept that fat is bad and skinny is good, instead of both being neutral.
When stars like Simpson say “don’t talk about my weight gain” but also “here’s pictures of me now that I’m skinny,” it paints the normal changes a pregnant woman goes through as a personal shame and the subsequent weight loss as a public victory. We snark at fat Jessica and celebrate skinny Jessica, as if either matter.
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