ColumnWhere celebrity goes conscious.
When she stepped out with Sean Penn for a breezy walk on a Hollywood trail, Scarlett Johansson committed several unspeakable acts. First, she had forgone her Spanx under her workout wear, second, she was wearing leggings, best friends to the muffin top, and third, she had likely just (prepare yourself) eaten.
Tabloids and bloggers sprung into action as if the Holy Trinity (Brad, Angelina, and random child) had appeared ascending from the heavens over the Hollywood sign. Hands were wrung. Was Scarlett pregnant? Was Sean the father? And then, the truth. Scarlett’s rep informed People Magazine, “She’s outside running and it’s simply the placement of her shirt that is misleading.” Next, “She was followed and photographed for over 20 minutes and I’m sure there are other photos in the series that show and prove that she is not pregnant.” And finally, “She’s been training for The Avengers for over four months and is in the best shape of her life.” And as People Magazine concluded, “So there!”
(Yes, People Magazine, you aren’t the crazy tabloids, shaming celebrities for carrying more than lean muscle. You merely ask us to rate celebrities’ wardrobes, endlessly pitting Beyonce versus Julianne, Salma versus Kylie, and so on. It’s not the same thing.)
When and where will the madness stop? Society ravenously consumes celebrity, as it seems ingrained in our brains to judge each other and ourselves harshly. As Mikhail Lyubansky, Ph.D. recently pointed out in Psychology Today, “Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but the eyes see what culture socializes.” Our cultural zeitgeist calls for thin to be the standard for beauty, so we attack anyone who deviates. And perhaps we do so most viciously with those who are expected to conform to the highest standard of beauty. These people are supposed to be our beauty role models. The ones we think we’re supposed to look up to. How dare they deviate from the norm? Because if these actresses and celebrities can’t be our pretty picture reflections, where does that leave us?
It leaves us with one cumulative messed-up cultural body image. Here are the ten rules celebrities must follow to maintain a tabloid-approved body. (Warning: Deviation may cause pregnancy rumors, nasty blog headlines, and uncontrolled consumption of reactionary doughnuts.)
Your hairstyles are meant for our judgment.
Think your new bangs are delightful? Again, People Magazine offers a chance for their readers to set you straight.
If you gain more than 25 pounds, be sure to constantly remind everyone you’re losing it.
This is also known as the “It’s okay if I’m fat as long as I’m trying to lose the weight” deal.
If you gain less than 25 pounds, be sure to “embrace your curves” and then lose the weight in an exclusive magazine deal.
Jennifer Love Hewitt was famously photographed in 2008 carrying more than her usual weight. As the media descended on her, she wrote “To all girls with butts, boobs, hips and a waist, put on a bikini – put it on and stay strong.” Right on, J Love! Or not. Soon Hewitt was posed on the cover of Us Magazine displaying a newly-toned body sans 18 pounds. Stay strong, but lose that weight.
Be identifiable only by your body parts.
As per this gallery provided by Us Magazine, you don’t need a face or personality to be recognizable – just a great pair of gams! Perfectly moisturized and toned, naturally.
If you’re going to wear clothes, make sure you wear them better than anyone else on the planet in any imaginable random combination.
Thanks People Magazine, for showing us that a jean jacket donned by a swimming pool and a jean jacket on the red carpet are interchangeable. Surely every starlet piecing together her wardrobe should feel ready to know she “wore it better.”
If you are pregnant, be prepared to simultaneously deliver a baby and your baby weight.
Celebrities are allowed to gain weight during pregnancy, but they must shed it immediately due to healthy eating and breast-feeding. And yes, this can happen naturally for some. It can also happen for others through plastic surgery, drugs, crash diets, insane workouts and every magazine’s friend Photoshop.
Pretend not to Botox. Then admit it in an exclusive to People Magazine.
Three words: The Nicole Kidman.
If you are healthy, you are curvy.
See: Kate Winslet, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Lawrence, Christina Hendricks, and Jessica Simpson.
If you want to be one of Us Magazine’s “Hot Bodies 2011,” make sure it means you are slim.
Glowing green smoothies, vegetable juice, and 1,100 to 1,350 calories per day should do the trick.
And to all this, we collectively say – enough. Is enough. Is enough. What is it going to take for us to stop obsessing over celebrity bodies, and in turn, our own? Can we band together and all agree to never discuss our size, weight, and eating habits ever again? Perhaps journalists can come together with a collective agreement to only ask celebrities about their careers, their causes, or their opinions on subjects that don’t have to do with stepping on a scale or a spin bike.
We are the consumers of celebrity culture. So the power lies with us to stop the madness. We can push back.
Or, we could just tweet this.
Ecosalon supports healthy body images in Hollywood. RT if you do too. @usweekly @peoplemag
Now if you’ll excuse me, a cupcake and beer await.
This is the latest installment in Katherine Butler’s column, Shade Grown Hollywood, where celebrity becomes conscious. “Shade grown” refers literally to shade grown coffee, a farming method that “incorporates principles of natural ecology to promote natural ecological relationships.” Shade Grown is our sustainable twist on Hollywood.