Let’s talk about Love

Lately, Jennifer Love Hewitt has had to deal with paparazzi photos taken of her on the beach in a bikini. Personal potshots about how she should exercise more, how she’s so huge and fat and gross how dare she walk confidently anywhere in bikini…nothing, it seems, is off limits.

Okay, so here’s the thing. I’m glad she is, but she should not have to speak out about her weight. She should not have to defend the way she looks. I’m not a big fan, but the woman is freaking gorgeous. And she’s a size 2.

Yes, you heard me. American society is so warped in the head about what constitutes fat (unaccepable) versus what constitutes thin (yay for thin!!11!) that people are mocking this woman as being an abherration at a size 2. Of course, if you read comments on articles posted on this subject, you’re likely to find people disputing that Love is actually a size 2, claiming it’s impossible. Yet more evidence we’re confused about real bodies that are anything but a size 0 – how do we measure them? Anything that’s not a 0 is simply wrong and bad and fodder for mocking.

That’s what’s truly fucked up about it all.

Comments

  1. says

    I completely agree that it’s frightening to see people engaging in pedantic debates about sizing and how that translates to JLH’s Size 2 status, but honestly, I think what’s really the worst is that we have this conversation at all.

    It’s part of the whole “stay in the box” mentality that people will get lost questioning those minutiae and completely miss that it’s absolutely horrifying that we’ve reduced this woman’s worth as a human being down the a few bumps of cellulite on her ass. The fact that she’s as small as she is demonstrates something, yes, but this wouldn’t be okay if she were a size 4, a size 8 or a size 30.

  2. sbg says

    It’s part of the whole “stay in the box” mentality that people will get lost questioning those minutiae and completely miss that it’s absolutely horrifying that we’ve reduced this woman’s worth as a human being down the a few bumps of cellulite on her ass. The fact that she’s as small as she is demonstrates something, yes, but this wouldn’t be okay if she were a size 4, a size 8 or a size 30.

    Heh. That actually was what I was trying to say. I shouldn’t write articles between dodging work-shaped bullets, but the whole hullabaloo around this woman is so aggravating I had to get something out.

    The way people have reacted to this makes me wonder if people think anyone with an ounce of cellulite (which is genetic – I’ve seen “fat” people without it and “thin” people with it) should go around covered head to toe, and if they don’t then they deserve public ridicule.

  3. says

    I hope I didn’t come off too insulting, sbg. I know it’s what you were trying to say, but I’ve already been tipped into “frustrated” by reading other conversations on the topic, most of which have taken about 50 comments to get past the “Is she really a Size 2″ issue.

    I really appreciated a lot of what JLH had to say in her statements, so I wish she had just left that part out. I’m sure it wasn’t done as “bragging” or anything on her part, and that she herself was really trying to highlight just how ridiculous the beauty standards police have become, but it’s an unfortunate distraction. Because the issue, as you allude to in your second paragraph above, is that there are beauty standards police at all.

    For people, substitute “women” above. Men who have serious weight issues are subjected to certain kinds of scrutiny, ridicule and condescension, but this kind of hostility and shaming is reserved for women. And the flip side is that if they manage to *not* have an announce of (visible) cellulite, or whatever else needs to be criticized that day, then they deserve street harassment and worse.

  4. sbg says

    A man can be or have fat and still be a person. A woman with cellulite is just an “ugly” object instead of a beautiful object?

    Ugh.

  5. says

    That’s an interesting distinction. I think very fat men might be treated like “ugly objects”, but the average fat man is still perceived as a person who’s fat rather than as a big pile of fat who’s abdicated the right to be considered human.

    I have a feeling it comes down to an unconscious sense that men deserve careers (in acting or something else), but women don’t – we’re kind to let them have careers, particularly glamorous ones, so they’d better show their appreciation by giving us our money’s worth. Which, apparently, we’ve defined as being underweight.

  6. says

    Yeah, I definitely think there’s a commodification issue, but it gets applied to everyday women as well.

    I wouldn’t want to minimize the extent to which men who are well outside the “acceptable” body norm get criticized and dismissed as lazy/useless etc, and I definitely think that *they* get reduced to bodies/objects. But it seems like this JLH thing highlights an intensity of attempts to control women, because I *cannot* imagine any man, let alone one well who wasn’t insanely outside the norm, being subjected to this kind of hostility and shaming.

  7. scarlett says

    In all fairness, most of the comments I read were fairly positive- she still looks gorgeous, I an’t believe people are so petty to even bring it up – but some of them are just… . One person said something along the lines of not being able to believe she was so insecure as to take the criticisms personally. What, so no-one in the world is meant to take ‘you’re fat and ugly’ personally? I can’t see the person responsible for that comment just taking it on the chin if the same was said about them.

  8. sbg says

    But it seems like this JLH thing highlights an intensity of attempts to control women, because I *cannot* imagine any man, let alone one well who wasn’t insanely outside the norm, being subjected to this kind of hostility and shaming.

    Nor is there backlash or *gasping* from everyday people who flock to entertainment blogs regarding the news of Jessica Alba’s pregnancy for her boyfriend. That’s all reserved for her – she bears all the responsibility for such a “shameful” act. No pun. Also, the lovely comments about how since she’s a “curvy” woman, she’ll have such a hard time regaining her hot body.

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