Because several media outlets found it to be so newsworthy, I’m sure most of you have heard by now that singer Jessica Simpson has put on a few pounds.
Websites around the world, including FOXNews.com, ran pictures of Simpson at a recent Florida concert and pointed out that the star had put on weight. FOX News ran the headline: “Jessica Simpson Shocks Fans With Noticeably Fuller Figure.”
Other celebrities have been outraged including supermodel Heidi Klum and Simpson’s sister, pop star Ashlee Simpson-Wentz who wrote on her blog, “I am completely disgusted by the headlines concerning my sister’s weight.”
It disgusts me too and I can’t even call it sexism. When actor Joaquin Phoenix started to gain weight he wasn’t spared either.
But yesterday I ran across a very intriguing story
on ChicagoTribune.com that made me question my feelings on the topic of the media making a big brouhaha over a celebrity’s weight.
Rex W. Huppke writes:
Simpson has put on a few pounds. She is, to use her celebrity pals’
favorite euphemism, curvier.
The news media, as is our constitutional obligation, have picked up on
this. Any time a national figure grows, shrinks or is somehow altered in shape,
we are obliged to make note of it for historical purposes.
And yet, once again, aspersions are heaped upon us for simply doing our
He goes on to say:
One would think that by now the people we celebrate—i.e., celebrities—would
understand that their fame doesn’t come with an on/off switch.
In other words, Huppke believes that Simpson, who owes much of her fame to her figure, should be able to roll with the punches and should know that the media pointing out your belly bulge is part of the price of fame.
Frankly, he’s right, and the media is going to keep serving this kind of celebrity dish because readers and viewers keep eating it up.
But this doesn’t make me feel any better. Every time I hear of or read about another celebrity (who often is not even overweight) being called out simply because he or she gained a few pounds, I can’t help but wonder what kind of message this is sending to the teenage girl or boy struggling with an eating disorder or body image issues.
When stars like Jennifer Love Hewitt are called fat as a size 2 and the average American woman is a size 14, something is very wrong.