worst day ever

Am I the only person who has not impressed by this article ? Or maybe it’s less the article itself and more that Scarlett Johansson thinks she should get a cookie for writing it…

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I hate tabloids…I had an eating disorder…I think a healthy body image is important. But there are some things here that leave a bad taste in my mouth. Like maybe the fact that Johansson is criticizing the tabloids, which exist to make famous movie people more famous…and being a famous movie person herself, she gets millions and millions of dollars by participating in this industry.

The whole thing seems a little defensive, first of all…like she has to talk about how healthy she is to justify that fact that she’s pissed that her weight is being criticized. Why not start from the premise that it’s fucking obnoxious and ridiculous to have your weight commented on in the press? That it doesn’t matter whether you weigh 200 pounds or 98, whether you exist on a diet of McDonald’s or cocaine and vodka, whether you work out daily or never? It’s no one’s fucking business but yours? Oh right. Because you get paid to look the way you do. So you need to say things like

Eating healthy and getting fit is about commitment, determination, consistency and the dedication to self-preservation.

Yes, and having the time to exercise – you know between the day shift and night shift, shuttling the kids from school to the babysitter, etc. Oh and being able to afford things like fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins. For an entire family. When you make minimum wage. In a recession. If only the average American could show a little more commitment…determination…consistency. If only we could dedicate ourselves to “self-preservation.”

Right. Then we start in on the eating disorders. And how “the media” is selling these unrealistic images that make us insecure. I will admit to starting my own subscription to seventeen magazine when I was all of 10 years old. And starting my first “diet” about a year later. But you know who was on the cover of the issues of seventeen that led to my unhealthy body image? Alicia Silverstone, Claire Danes, Brandy…what I mean is, “the media” (by which I think you mean just the magazines?) doesn’t just come up with “images.” Actresses, singers, talk show hostesses exist and make money on their unrealistic body images on our televisions and movie screens every day. The tabloids just appeal to the insecurities you’ve already created by allowing us to gloat a little that you’re “just like us” and you get bloated when you’re on your period, too.

And yes, it is appalling that the magazine can make $1.4 million dollars by appealing to that part of human nature that enjoys seeing our objects of lust and envy exposed. It’s gross and it’s sad. But think about how the exposure you get in these magazines increases your name recognition…and your box office. And, um, your paycheck.

You know what, Ms. Johansson? I bet that poor, sweet, naive 15-year-old in Kansas City is going to go see your movie, and be just as affected by the sight of you in your latex catsuit as she is by you on the cover of US Weekly. Perhaps you and a few other bankable female actresses could get together and say something like, “Hey, so Hollywood, we were thinking maybe you could take the latex catsuits and shove them up your collective ass because we are no longer going to appear in your shitty movies that exploit our bodies and waste our considerable talent to titillate the male movie-going audience.”

Because here’s the thing, Ms. Johansson. It’s not just the images in the tabloids that affect the way young women think about their bodies. The images you put on the screen make us feel inadequate and shitty, too. Oh, and they give men permission to have appallingly unrealistic expectations for what we should look like, so our first boyfriends feel comfortable commenting about our bellies, or thighs or breasts because they sure as hell don’t look like Scarlet Johansson’s in her latex catsuit. I still get nervous before I sleep with someone for the first time, because when I was 18 and it was my first time, my charming “boyfriend” offered to help me come up with a workout regimen.

And while we’re at it, maybe some actors could jump on this bandwagon, too. Because it would be really nice if they noticed that they get to wear twice as much clothing as their female action movie costars. That their cellulite and pimples are on the cover of US Weekly only half as much. And that they get to work well into their crow’s-feet-having, belly-expanding, grey-haired middle age, while the roles for women become fewer and further between.

Just a thought, you know? Maybe instead of whining about the unfair beauty standards of the industry you work in, you decide to take some responsibility for changing it?

[Sidebar, does anyone else remember when US was a reputable monthly magazine, with interesting interviews and really good photography? I used to subscribe and then one month I got a tabloid instead and I was very confused.]


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