Archive for the ‘commentary’ Category

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Say What? The Patriarchy Hates My Gut(s)

February 9, 2009

If you haven’t been living in a cave for the last few weeks, I’m sure you’ve heard the news: Jessica Simpson has GAINED WEIGHT.

Am I the only one sick of seeing photos of her everywhere I go? Whether it’s an image splashed across the cover of People magazine or linked to from one of the blogs I read or even on some pop-culture television show, I always end up getting frustrated by the obsession with women’s weight gain patterns that the media (hell, society!) tends to have.

And it’s not just this one isolated case. From Kirstie Alley to Janet Jackson to Oprah, people just can’t seem to stop analyzing their weights. It’s also not just in cases of extreme weight gain either. How many false pregnancy accusations have there been? Often headlines have read, “JENNIFER ANISTON PREGNANT?” or “KATIE HOLMES LOOKS PREGNANT.” A woman in our pop culture isn’t allowed to put on any weight without suddenly being knocked up. What’s even worse is the photos that have been put out in the past of celebrities “pigging out”. Oh ha ha! A famous woman indulging in a cheeseburger! What a fatty! Look how gross she looks!

These types of images (with big arrows pointing to “baby bumps”, ones showing how an actress has clearly “let herself go”, and depicting women “stuffing their faces”) express to the public how far from the norm an overweight woman is supposed to be. You better keep that tummy tucked, or you’ll be the laughing stock of everyone you know!

While this phenomenon isn’t only directed at women, it seems much more traditional to critique a woman’s weight than a man’s. How often have you seen images of male celebrities with captions about how clearly they need to get back on their exercise regime?

Just think about the incredibly unrealistic standards women are held up to when Angelina Jolie isn’t allowed to eat a fucking sandwich.