(trigger warning: eating disorders)
In recent years, the Academy Awards have become more than just a night celebrating the year in motion pictures. The red carpet has become a fashion show, with high expectations for actresses to wear beautiful creations by designers such as Vera Wang, Versace and Dior. The award winners get mentioned in a list, while the dresses take center stage in the blogs and newspapers. But this year, there was something a more stunning than the gowns–it was the bodies of some of the actresses wearing them.
Before we continue, we just want to say that LivLuna is not a gossip website. Yes, we do talk about celebrities, but only if it is in regard to something cool they said/did or something messed up they said/did, as well as the effect they have on women’s body image etc. We do not wish to spread rumors simply to get page views or to tear someone down. We are also not doctors. We cannot diagnose any medical conditions. That aside, Angelina Jolie’s figure appeared shockingly underweight on the TV screen- the pic on the left doesn’t even show how bad it looked. Here is a woman commonly known for roles that require her to have muscle. Yet, on the red carpet this past Sunday, she appeared to be gaunt. It was striking, causing a lot of concern (or “concern,” depending on how you look at it) from a lot of fashion/celebrity news sources. Rose Byrne and Kate Bosworth also had much smaller figures than usual–you could see Byrne’s shoulder blades jutting out from the back of her dress; and Bosworth’s legs looked thinner than usual.
These women could have a number of reasons for their appearance. But the concern we have is–is it wise for these starlets to be so thin in the public eye? It is a tough call–we want to be accepting of every size and mean every size, but it is a bit alarming when the stars appear to look ill, and may be triggering for those who have battled/are battling eating disorders. Is there even a feasable solution to this? Is it realistic to impose a weight minimum to appear on the red carpet? Or, better yet, telling the gossip magazines and agents not to pressure actresses to be as thin as possible? It’s a ripple effect–actresses feel pressured to be a certain size, this gets printed in magazines/websites, which gets presented to the general public, which gets non-famous women to feel the pressure, and so on and so forth. It even affects how we think of aging–before the media got so big and out of control, women could age without being super preoccupied with youth. It has been pointed out that the three leads on TV Land’s Hot In Cleveland are near, if not the same age as, The Golden Girls in their first season. However, by looking at the Hot In Cleveland cast, you would not be able to tell. The HiC women have hair extensions, thin figures, youthful clothes, whereas the women of GG were wearing grandma sweaters and fluffing their short, grey hair. They were nowhere near as thin as the HiC women, either. How times have changed–in the eighties there was almost no pressure for Bea Arthur and Betty White to look twenty-nine at age fifty-five like there is for Wendie Malick and Jane Leeves.
More than anything, we feel saddened that actresses and directors we admire like Angelina Jolie, who kicks ass in supporting so many humanitarian issues, appear to be letting the pressure get to them. We want them to be healthy- as they are role models, whether they should be or not, and affect the way women and girls look at themselves.