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Will Hollywood Ever Learn to Stop Worrying and Love Real Bodies?

By , Alicia Capetillo, Staff Writer
Oh, the times they are a chang…wait, not so fast.

Hollywood has long been criticized for putting tremendous pressure on women to stay petite as can be. (See: her and her and these two. Oh, and her.) But recently, there seems to be a rise in young actresses standing up and saying, "I am woman and these are my curves and these are my muscles, hear me roar!" Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence has, perhaps, been the most vocal on her refusal to conform to a particular body type for roles. The public has applauded her for her confidence and quick wit when it comes to defending her body, but is anyone in Hollywood—or the world for that matter—actually listening?

Just weeks before the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Carrie Fischer, the actress who played the original gangster Princess Leia, shared her disappointment that even now at 59 years old, she felt outside pressure to slim down for her role in the latest franchise installment. If a bona fide film icon can't get some body praise, what hope is there for the rest of us?

Fischer's news comes just one day after Annie Liebovitz unveiled her unconventional take on the coveted annual Pirelli calendar, which swaps traditional stick-thin models in revealing clothing for 11 powerful and fully-clothed women, plus a striking shot of tennis superstar Serena Williams's muscular physique and a raw portrait of comedian Amy Schumer nearly naked. On social media, Schumer shared the shot alongside sentiments that speak to this larger atmosphere of judgment surrounding the female form: "Beautiful, gross, strong, thin, fat, pretty, ugly, sexy, disgusting, flawless, woman. Thank you @annieleibovitz."

Other female celebrities are fighting against this trend of unsolicited judgment by utilizing social media to showcase the hard work that actually goes into getting a fit body by sharing gym selfies and pictures of defined muscle. Pop star and fashion designer Jessica Simpson, who herself  has been the talk of many a tabloid regarding her weight, recently released promotional photos for her new line of activewear by showcasing her strong quads and calf muscles. Saturating the media with images of strong women working hard or women embracing their curves is a bold first step toward pushing back against Hollywood's often unrealistic standards of beauty and weight.

Of course, for every Amy Poehler's Smart Girls, which celebrates all girls for all the things, there will be an Operation Harpoon to bring us back to reality. For every Jennifer Lawrence, there will be this guy riding your train. But perhaps taking these little steps forward with calendars and honest, untouched photographs will eventually lead to a Hollywood where Princess Leia can have some meat on her bones without hearing it from the critics.

What do you think? Are today's actresses making strides toward a more body-positive atmosphere or will some things never change? 

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Comments

CACUJIN 2/19/2019
What do I think? I think it is sad when members believe it is okay to (body-shame) models or thin people. Real women? Who is not real? Because some one wants to be lean that makes them not real. Stop with the double standards. Report
TAPESTRIES
I watch a lot of British TV - more than American TV. One of the biggest differences is that many of the stars of British TV look like average people. They might not be gorgeous or handsome, might be a little overweight, have some wrinkles and not have perfect hair. But, they are talented actors, and they get good roles.

In the US, if the women aren't plastically enhanced, or Botoxed to the point where their faces have no expression, they are considered less than worthy. It doesn't seem to matter how talented they are, if they're just average looking, they'll get support roles, instead of starring roles.

I'd much rather watch people on TV that look real, instead of the Barbie and Ken images that are so popular. Report
I'm not sure it will ever change. Thank you for a good article. It is rare to see a picture of a REAL body with stretch marks and blemishes as well as some extra poundage. Lane Bryant has made a good start. Report
I think this is a luxury issue. Countries where people are starving find large bodied people attractive because they obviously have enough to eat. Personally I ignore the peer pressure and work on keeping my body functionally fit. Which means I have muscles and meat on my bones. To all those size zero's out there, I say EAT SOMETHING! Report
Hoping the trend of loving reality continues! Report
I like to be comfortable with my body, at any size! Report
Personally the rail thin women in most TV shows and movies look anorexic so I don't understand what is so positive about that. On the other hand, I don't particularly care to see very obese men or women either so I don't know what is a happy medium. It would be nice to see more regular looking men and women on TV and in movies who are fit or average versus the extremes shown~

Hopefully the actors and actresses who have the power will make programs that are more in line with the public, since there are very thin people, average people, thick people, Black, Brown, White etc.... Report
In regards to not being able to fit into a size 6 dress when you weighed 110 pounds in high school. Of course you couldn't, THEN!! That size 6 is now about a size 0 or 2, same measurements, just different names. The size 16 I wore in high school is now about a size 10 or 12. That's fashion one-upmanship... And today Marilyn Monroe would be so-called plus-sized.
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I am not so sure that it will change. It would be nice. But when actual doctors sit on TV talk shows and say that it is wrong for stores to show nice looking clothes on "plus sized" mannaquins (size 10-12) because they encourage people to get fat, it's not going to help the images change to what a normal size woman should be. Then the diet ads always say that someone who has lost weight and is 5'6" and weighs over 165 wears size 6 or so, showing a person who couldn't possibly be that size encourage people to get down to size smaller than 6. If a person is 5'6", size 6 isn't too attainable. When I was in high school I weighed 110 and there was no way I could wear a size 6. Report
JMB369
Like climate change and global warming, we need to look at standards of beauty over longer periods of time. Stick thin was not always the norm. Think of Reubens' voluptuous women, the goddess images of Egypt and the Mayans. I applaud these current Hollywood stars who are trying to move our culture back from the edge of anorexia and into reality. Isn't it interesting that as women's clothing styles change, and fashion comes to Plus size stores, we are still stuck with skinny female newscasters and movie stars. I pray for the sake of my grean daughters that sanity will reign. Report
The hunger games actress article that was linked, surprised me on the response from commenters. Many seemed to say that an actor or actress needed to loose or gain weight as part of the job. She seemed condemned for many for placing her personal health above a particular role. Some people do not make sense to me. Report
Definitely a move in the right direction. It is just disgusting how hollywood tries to make women have the "ideal" woman's body by only choosing thin and near anorexic actresses. Weight shouldn't be a factor in movies. Report
I think this is a move in the right direction - and it will take a while to remove negative language from everyday use. The Pirelli calendar is an inspiration. And the change of policy of using naked female bodies for (mostly) male consumption is very positive. I agree with some of the comments that replacing the model of 'thin' with a model of 'strong' or 'curvy' is flawed, in that it's just replacing one unrealistic stereotype with another! Everyone being valued and respected for their unique selves - that is the final goal I think. At the same time, I do think being as healthy as we can be is also a positive goal. Report
I applaud efforts to thwart the airbrushed, flawless, unrealistic ideals that bombard us every day. I applaud acceptance. I applaud recognition of hard work.

That being said I don't believe that any media that thrives on selling you something will ever really be predominately about what's realistic... they want to promote the fantasy of it all whether it is to buy a product to look/feel a certain way or what have you... Get lost in the fantasy of a movie, show, or feeling... It keeps you coming back. The product might not be half bad, but my worth with or without it should not be determined by people attempting to sell me something. It is their job to convince me that I need them/their product. It's up to me to decide. Report
Okay, don't know if SP picks the recommended articles here, but interesting you would follow such an uplifting story with one titled "10 Celebrities Who Are NOt Aging Well"! Shame on YOU, SP. I am a fan of Jennifer Lawrence and not a Hunger Game fan. I applaud her outspoken views on women salaries as well as the female body! Go Jennifer!! Too many women care too much for what others think and Hollywood presses and abuses that fact! Get real and learn to love your body no matter what it looks like!! It is what you have, so use it and love it!! Report
The link behind "this guy riding your train" is particularly abhorrent. If someone did that to me on the train, they'd soon realize that big can also be very strong and very fast. Report
PROPMAN1
Not sure this issue will ever change. Since men seem to run things, their 'standards' of beaty/sexiness, etc. are what seem to matter to most....don't see things changeing anytime soon. Report
I haven't watched movies or even much TV in years. Forget magazines.. portraying women my age who look like they're footy ( my three sons age group ) is depressing enough but the very idea we should all look the same size wise. . How brainwashed can we be? Report
Of course Hollywood should not promote unrealistic, retouched images of women.
Showing women with muscle – good, very good!
Showing strong women – excellent!
Real women? Curves? That’s another problem.
Not all women have “curves” and yes they are REAL too.
Too many opt for surgery to achieve the “curve” ideal.
We also have to be careful of what we call “stick thin.” A 24 inch waist maybe? That’s what Marilyn Monroe had. As society collectively gains weight, fat is becoming the new normal. 66% of us are overweight, obese or worse. This skews our perception.
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