Monday, March 11, 2013

There is Such a Thing as Too Skinny!

Many years ago Nancy Reagan repeated a comment originally made by the late Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor: "You can never be too rich or too thin." Not only does that sound incredibly shallow, but it also isn't true. Money really doesn't buy happiness or a great life - it just makes some things a little easier. And, yes, we can be too skinny and unhealthy.

After the most recent Oscars, people went on and on about Seth MacFarlane's performance as host. Were some things inappropriate? Probably. Were some over the top? Probably. But, that's what you get with comedians. They insult everyone and everything - including themselves - and always push the envelope.

I'm a pretty strong feminist, but I personally thought the guy was funny. There were a couple of jokes that made me cringe, but in general, he was humorous and got the exact shock value he was going for. And if anyone has ever watched "Family Guy" or "Ted," the humor shouldn't be that much of a surprise. It's a little frat boy, a little vulgar, very immature, and quite often very inappropriate. It's interesting that people in Hollywood would be shocked that some of his jokes were sexist - especially in a town that spent several hours prior to the show analyzing every outfit the female stars wore on the red carpet, right down to the sequins on their dresses or on too much or too little displayed cleavage. In an industry that bases way too much on appearance, is this really a big surprise?

What was truly bothersome to me were the actresses themselves. With the exception of Jennifer Hudson, and a few others, most of them were so skinny they were gaunt looking. But, unfortunately, the rule in Hollywood - and fashion - seems to be the skinnier the better.

A couple days ago it was International Women's Day. I was pleasantly surprised to come across an article on that day entitled "Gender Geography: Where's the Best Place in the World to Be a Woman?" In the article, it mentioned that Israel has changed their rules on skinny models. According to the article in The Globe and Mail:
"Best place to buy your daughter a celebrity magazine: Israel. Last year, Israel banned the use of underweight models in local advertising, and passed a law requiring publications to disclose when models have been edited to appear thinner than they really are." 
It's one thing to be naturally thin or petite. It's quite another when you seem to be starving yourself, or you look years beyond your age due to such a lack of normal fat in your face. Or how about having plastic surgery in your twenties and thirties to the point that you don't even look like the same person? I guess you can never be too young either. Aren't these actresses actually holding themselves up to a sexist standard?

It's really about time that entertainers stood up to this expectation. The emphasis should be on talent, on being healthy, on being strong...not on being a Size 0 at any cost, even when you're actually very tall. One actress stated that after the awards she planned on pigging out by eating a baked potato with tomatoes. Seriously?

People have a right to their own opinion, and maybe some were outraged by MacFarlane. But, his jokes weren't just about women, his jokes were about everyone else too. Yet, no one ever seems outraged by the actresses who seem to get skinnier every year. They should be able to just be themselves.

Comedians are, by nature, inappropriate. Frankly, that's what's funny most of the time. Sometimes it can go too far, and it often does. But I find it much more disturbing that women weren't more bothered by the overly skinny celebrities literally sewn into their dresses. Actresses are famous, powerful, and rich women. They could have loud voices and actions on this issue. But, instead, what's complained about is a comedian who was just more vocal about it. I mean really, one is silly jokes. The other is actually quite serious. 

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