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Get off their backs about their weight

Submitted by on Tuesday, 26 January 2010 No Comment

I don’t follow celebrity news, not because I’m a snob about it but because I rarely get to watch anything that’s not animated.

I know who Courtney Cox and Jennifer Aniston are because “Friends” was one of the last shows I had time to consider a can’t-miss. I’m familiar with Kate Hudson because her mom was a bit famous back in the day.

I’m not even sure why my eye landed on a Huffington Post piece asking whether Hudson had gained weight, though it probably was because the images included were so huge they took forEVER to scroll through: “Kate Hudson goes backless at SAG, fights weight rumors.”

It was a follow-up to a New York Times blog post the previous week wondering if Aniston, Cox and Hudson had put on a few pounds. The writer didn’t name them – “it’s almost criminal to name names” – though the pictures of the three certainly cleared up any mystery about who was being “scrutinized,” as the headline suggested.

Oh, yes, they’ve definitely gained weight. Their collar bones barely protrude anymore.

The focus on Hudson is confusing – she’s in her 30s and should still have a few “good years” left in her.

Aniston and Cox, though, both are over 40, which puts them in the category of “women of a certain age.”

Women of an age where every bulge and wrinkle, real or imagined, is “scrutinized.” Women of an age when it’s more acceptable to keep a running commentary going on their appearance. “Your face looks fatter. Are you OK?” someone asked me recently, as if the scales are a gauge of mental well-being. Ten years earlier, though, she – yes, she – never would have made that remark. Instead, the focus would have been about my waif-like waist.

Neither comment in neither era, though, was relevant to who I really was or am. Yes, my face is fuller. Yes, my waist was thin. Anyone want to know my IQ?

True, Hudson, Aniston and Cox make their livings in part – but not solely – by being attractive. The irony with Cox in particular is that she aided and abetted perpetuating the “women are their bodies” myth through “Friends” storylines about overweight (read: unattractive) Monica turning into the beautiful swan.

It’s a myth being passed down to another generation, and I’m at a loss as to  how to stop it.

The other day when the kids and I were out at a baseball field, three teen girls passed by. I heard Big Guy lean over to his friend and whisper, “They’re sexy.”

I have no idea where he picked that up, though I’m tempted to blame friends at school. It’s not from any media he’s watched at home, and it’s certainly not the result of any notions he’s learned here.

It made me very sad, though, to see the “scrutiny” start so  young.

Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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