Did Bridget Jones Make Us Hate Our Bodies?
“I can confidently say that the years of destroyed self-esteem that I experienced because of my body are due to the culture and media of the early 2000s,” laments Nicole Napolitano, 27 in Brooklyn. Bridget Jones Diary isn’t the only movie from this era to treat a size 8 as problematic. Natalie in Love, in fact is always described as chubby. “I think there’s a big ass out there … huge thighs,” a colleague tells Hugh Grant, appearing this time as UK Prime Minister, in a bizarre moment of inappropriate office affair. Kendall Davis, a 33-year-old writer and editor who lives in Colorado, noted how bad this story was for her: “Natalie is constantly called fat, and I always thought, Wow, so it is fat, so i am giant. I guess we should be thankful they never told us Natalie’s exact weight.
There is also Chrissy in Sometimes, who is told she is fat despite being barely taller than the other girls in her clique. She was shown eating and lounging throughout the movie to really make it clear that she’s the lazy one. Then there is the fat stepsister Ever After, played by a charming Melanie Lynskey, who is constantly humiliated by her evil sister. And then there is the Gender and city movie, where everyone acts shocked that Samantha, a woman about to turn 50, no longer has a six-pack. The look of horror on the faces of Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte says it all: This slim woman wearing tight designer clothes let herself go.
“The relentless criticism of normal bodies, even skinny ones, has led me and a whole generation of girls to believe that the worst thing that can happen to you is to be fat,” Davis told me. She points out that Bridget “isn’t even a realistic portrayal of an average woman.” Bridget’s weight is in the 24th percentile for UK women her height, which means the number on her scale is below 76% for women her height and age. As Taylor Maness, a 23-year-old digital marketer in Charlotte, North Carolina, notes, “Her healthy body was seen as a hurdle she had to overcome. This story prepares women for a life of insecurity and self-doubt. “