Is it any wonder I have body image issues when I was told these women are fat?
In the late 90s and early 2000s, as I was in my teens, I was looking for a woman whose body I could truly relate to on my TV screen or in the magazines I bought. Whether in the cast of Clueless, Dawson’s Creek or Buffy, or in the clips of Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera or Aaliyah, I could see bodies dressed in beautiful clothes, and often sexualized, but never of various sizes.
In retrospect, I have often realized how unhappy it was to also be surrounded by quite thin friends throughout my school life. I remember when I was 14 and we were all sitting on a bench in a row, my thighs grew almost twice the size of theirs. I suddenly couldn’t share clothes with them anymore. I looked for thighs like mine on my TV screen and couldn’t find them anywhere. In an already alienating age, feeling taller than almost anyone is a torturous addition.
I must point out here that I was never a fat teenager (even though I thought I was, hopelessly actually). But with a complete lack of anything other than a size eight in my peripheral vision at all times, it’s no surprise that I grew up thinking of myself as “curvy” when I did at the time. no more than size ten or twelve.
What didn’t help was that by the time a poor female celebrity dared to be a size ten, she was sort of propelled into the limelight as “any woman” and “curvy,” and , worse yet, her thighs, cellulite, and butt were picked up from the tabloids, and dialogues about their diet and weight gain or loss, religiously documented.
I remember Jennifer Aniston giving an interview in the 90s, when she was in Friends, in which she criticized her butt for being too big. She said in a later interview, “I never liked my butt. It’s kind of a thing. I used to have a bubble butt and was teased. I remember having it. watched episodes of Friends and thought: if he’s a fat bum then what am I going to do about mine ?!
Then came Titanic and Kate Winslet. Poor Kate Winslet, 19, who couldn’t be more than eight or ten, whose role in one of the most successful films of all time was overshadowed by talk of her “puppy fat.” Joan Rivers said of Winslet’s body in the film: “If she had just lost 5 pounds, Leo could have stood on the raft.” Winslet recalled in an interview years later, “In my twenties people talked a lot about my weight. And I would be called upon to comment on my physical self. She added: ‘I was always looking for who I really was! They commented on my height, they estimated what I weighed, they wrote down the supposed diet I was on. It was critical and horrible and so upsetting to read.
There were countless damaging stories like these to contend with as a young woman trying to figure out how you felt about your body in the ’90s and 2000s. Ugly Betty, played by America Ferrera, who was the the target of a four-season joke that she was unattractive (I remember a tabloid article describing her as “bumpy”) when she was nothing of the sort. Renée Zellwegger won two stones to play Bridget Jones in the 2001 film, and it was major news for years (how she lost it afterwards, then how she won it again for the sequel, how felt being FAT ?!). Her butt was literally the butt of endless jokes. It should be remembered that Bridget Jones weighs 136 pounds in the novel by Helen Fielding. Nine and a half stones.
Following the success of her recent series Mare of Easttown, Kate Winslet has opened up about the overwhelming response to her performance as a detective – and revealed that she turned down the director’s offer to remove her “fat belly” from a sex scene.
She claimed that Craig Zobel, the director of the HBO thriller, offered to show her body in a more flattering light, adding that she told him, “Don’t you dare.”
It’s a refreshing story, and it’s taken a long time to get here for the industry and Kate. But as we now enter an era of entertainment and fashion that has started to – cautiously – allow bigger or less conventional bodies, and social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram are creating spaces for women to realize. that their body isn’t an anomaly after all, there is still so much work to be done. Unfortunately for me, the damage to my body image had already been done for a long time; Although now 37 years old and about three stones older than I was in my teenage years, I finally find myself feeling the kind of acceptance I should have made twenty years ago. It only remains for me to make up for lost time.
Will there be another Easttown mare series? I hope not – I liked it too much