Body Image: Celebrating the message but not the women it represents

I love Jennifer Lawrence as much as the next girl, but seriously, can we talk about all this delirium about her Yahoo! Q&A? While promoting the next installment of The Hunger Games, she sat down for a live interview with Yahoo! CEO Melissa Mayer. An adorable father asked a question on behalf of his daughter, a Jennifer Lawrence super fan. The question was about girls and body image, which, let’s face it, is almost a softball question to Hollywood’s actresses these days. Jennifer Lawrence, ever the frank and lovable gal that she is, spoke with earnestness and affability, the gist: we need to change how we talk about women’s bodies, but also how we view and think about them.

But the advice is hard to take coming from the gorgeous new face of Dior who, while she admits to imperfections and insecurities she was teased about before she was famous, to so many of us looks flawless. The women who speak out about size, those who are truly struggling with balancing extra pounds with the pressure to be skinnier, tend to get spoken about differently. Jessica Simpson, before being called a role model or an inspiration, has been called lazy and fat. She’s been mocked for busting out of things and the issue of her weight has been a tabloid spectacle for the greater part of the last three years.

There are others, for instance Melissa McCarthy and Rebel Wilson, who so many attribute with awesome talent. These women, rather than being role models or the subject of attacks, have been relegated to a category of “she’s talented, but…” Essentially, they’re so amazing, we wish they would just commit to losing the several pounds that would make them more palatable as the full package. And the

fact that neither of them feels the need to change themselves to correspond with their success seems to bother people. Like why wouldn’t the first thing you do after getting famous be join Jenny Craig and get as skinny and hot as possible?

Even Lena Dunham, who sort of prides herself on being a survivor of fat camp and incorporates weight and body issues into every acceptance speech and interview, and ever plot line for her character in Girls, might be tempted to change her ways in a few years. Talk of Tracy Anderson floating about the set suggests that the ambassador of loving our bodies just the way they are might defect. Not yet, but soon?

The point is: great, this beautiful woman who has everything going for her thinks we need to handle some stuff we’ve been neglecting and we’re all swooning. What I’d rather see is women who struggle with their weight come out as ambassadors for others who face the same challenges. The thing is, many of these women exist already. It’s not their issue. It’s us—those who are so proud of JLaw for standing up for something we all say we believe in, but who continue to ignore the real role models in this fight: the women who struggle on a daily basis to prove they’re okay the way they are, not just to themselves, but to their hecklers.