We all know that this country has a weight issue. We’re all fat, yet every image we see on TV and film is thin. The disconnect begins the moment you wake up each day and doesn’t end until your head hits the pillow. The mantra is be thin to be successful. You know it, I know it. It’s not that I’m saying that everyone on TV should be fat, but everyone doesn’t need to be thin either.
But we are culture who rewards thinner people (especially women) with more money (check out this piece from the WSJ) and with accolades. The skinnier you are the more you are coveted.
That’s why I’ve been watching the current weight loss campaigns that feature Sara Rue (Jenny Craig) and Jennifer Hudson (Weight Watchers) with interest. Sara has lost 50 pounds and Jennifer dropped from a size 16 to a 6.
I totally understand why they wanted to lose weight. I did it myself. The pressure is immense and is even more immense in Hollywood.
But Sara Rue and Jennifer Hudson both seemed a bit different.
They both gained their success by not being thin. Rue was the star of her own sitcom Less Than Perfect and Hudson burst into our lives on American Idol and then as Effie in Dreamgirls which won her an Oscar and launched her acting career.
It seems that Sara Rue — who honestly could not get arrested recently in Hollywood — is interesting now to the media since she is on the Jenny Craig bandwagon. I see her running races in People Magazine (amazing that she did a half marathon.) The sad news is that she felt she had to lose weight because she had lost a role.
Hudson just finished filming Winnie where she plays Winnie Mandela that is targeting Cannes for its world premiere. She’s a spokeswoman for Weight Watchers and is talking up their Lose for Good Campaign that raises money for hunger and poverty programs. The more weight you lose the more money you raise for people who can’t afford to eat. Oy. I was also turned off by a comment she made saying that she can’t wait to perform in her new body. Bad message. Remember, your former body (which you never know when will return) won you an Oscar.
To me, neither Rue nor Hudson were fat. They were overweight but seemed perfectly fine. I’m not here to judge these women for losing weight. They clearly feel better thinner as I do, but I’m not an actress who is a role model for others. I just want them to remember that language is very important and they should keep in mind how they frame the issues now that they are paid to talk about losing weight.