Weighty issues

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.



  1. It hurts my heart when 10-year-old girls in my youth group tell me they can’t eat ice cream because “they don’t want to get fat.” These notions are being planted in their heads because of the media. Skinny does not equal healthy. And it certainly doesn’t equal sexy. Show me a bony girl and I’ll show her the door.

    So what Jessica Simpson put on a couple pounds? I bet the same people pointing fingers would fall all over themselves if she gave them the time of day.

    My only complain is she needs to pull her pants down. Did you see her wearing those Urkel jeans in the imfamous photo? The waistline was touching her chin.

  2. well this is nothing new. i dont watch much news because i despise the media. but i was in the gym yesterday(yes trying to be skinny,lol) and pictures of Jessica at various sizes being flashed.

    its a shame but i dont think the curvy thing will ever been in. its just not what the world as a whole considers sexy, beautiful, or healthy.

  3. This is what makes me want to shy away from a career in the media, because reporters love to make breaking news out of something that is not news at all. Yes, many celebrities out there have careers that are based on their image (vs. having talent in many cases nowadays, which is problem #1), but at the end of the day, they are human beings. Most importantly they are influencing our kids, so to see this kind of crap plastered on every magazine and tv screen is just ridiculous. So many other things to report on, and yet there still continues to be a market for these kind of stories. Guess it just comes with the territory.

  4. OK, so celebrities are in the spotlight but does that give the media the right to be patronizing and tactless. Report on the stories…I get that. But all I say is that it wouldn’t hurt to be more tactful about it.

    Everything that they do is also NOT for the public’s consumption. OK, so she put on some weight. Let Jessica deal with that. No one should be caling her or anyone else names. Regardless of the fact that they have money, status and wield some power, celebrities are still human and they have feelings just like anyone else.

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