The Associated Press carried a story about Kate Winslet, most famous for "Titanic" and also staring in “The Holiday,” where she said some pretty provocative things about body image and glorification of certain sizes recently.
After describing glamorization of ultra thin celebrities as "unbelievably disturbing" and keeping magazines featuring such women away from her 6-year-old daughter, Kate goes on with my favorite quote from the story (read the full text here)
“I hope that in some small way I’m able to say, ‘I’m a normal person, I’m doing all right.’ I’ve got a lovely husband and children and I didn’t lose weight to find those things, and those things are what should be important.”
It’s odd to think that we live in a world where Kate Winslet – a pretty shapely babe that is definitely not overweight – has to defend herself as a “normal person” because she chooses not to restrict food to maintain an artificially low weight, like others in her profession.
Sometimes this just leaves me speechless – what is really driving these kinds of ideas of beauty? I think back to my women’s studies minor…ovatoriums (ovary sanatoriums), diagnosis of hysteria and lunacy for any inconvenient female, corsets, foot binding, neck stretching, high heels, and can’t see that now favoring and promotion of impossibly small women (do you know that Nicole Ritchie weighs 84 pounds???) is any different. What do these things have in common – several were considered “healthy,” they served to control unseemly exuberance, they limited ability to defend oneself, restricted movement and ability to breathe properly, and all of these "good ideas" are unique to women as a standard of rather odd ideas about health and beauty (I don’t recall reading about removal of testes as a treatment for adultery, do you?).
I don’t claim to have a cure or answer and I can’t really make sense of the motivations for what passes for a good idea, but I can see a pattern that hasn’t changed for centuries. Today I’m joining Kate – I’m going to be an example of a “normal person.” Join us – stand up straighter today, hold your head high, and realize that pride and self-esteem have nothing to do with size. Refuse to buy into any of the latest health, beauty or fitness trends intended to make women less, instead of more. I hope I pass you on the street, with your head high too.