Watching the red carpet during the Oscars on February 24 made me cringe. This wasn't because of the many "misses" when it came to gowns (or the grungy chic look the men seem to be sporting by not shaving), but because of Kristin Chenoweth. That woman was seriously annoying and the ultimate stereotype of a petite. Note to Ms. Chenoweth: Just because you're short and small-framed, doesn't mean you have to act like a little girl.
Short women are expected to be cute and adorable, as long as they can pull it off. Once they age, they're still supposed to be "cute," but in more of a grandmotherly sort of way. There's no "regal mature" here. Instead, one is expected to be more like, say, Sophia from Golden Girls.
Instead, they seem to concentrate on the image that larger women (whether petite in height or not) and how THEY are portrayed while at the same time, promoting "body acceptance" and "size equality." Other times, said activists discuss how women are sexually victimized in ads and editorials. If those two topics are so often on their mandate, why is the "cuteness" factor so infrequently mentioned? Do people not realize that accepting this kind of behavior is saying that a woman, no matter her age, can't be a "real" woman, but a little girl, because she is tiny? Please note that Ms. Chenoweth is in her forties. If we as a society criticize sexuality and violence, why isn't infantilizing on the plate as well?
It really bothers me that mainstream body image activists tend to pick and choose their battles, focusing primarily on larger sizes and sexuality while ignoring the small. When being small is ever even mentioned, it's often lip service. At best, they acknowledge that it is an issue, and then never discuss it again unless someone else brings it up. Other times, it's entirely dismissed -- especially in fashion (but that's another story) being small isn't as bad as being fat -- it's considered a "compliment" when one is tiny and delicate, after all (it isn't when it's constantly in your face). This is part of the issue. In our society, small = can't be taken seriously, so no complaints. And the lack of complaints means that the topic won't be discussed.
I understand that the hyper/cute image is part of Ms. Chenoweth's "image," but is it any different from a Playboy Bunny and her overt sexuality in terms of how women are portrayed? Is being "cute" somehow okay for an adult in her forties? Or any adult, for that matter? Imagine how the media would have reacted if Ms. Chenoweth was not short and small-framed, but larger? Wouldn't people be up in arms, criticizing her annoying behaviour? Somehow, being 4'11" and around 90 to 95 pounds (or whatever her weight is) gives her a pass. Why? We can't have organizations that claim size and body diversity without acknowledging ALL SIDES.
"I don't think a girl with tiny thighs would have received so much no-pants attention… Get used to it. I'm going to live until 105 and I'm going to show my thighs every day," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/08/lena-dunham-new-yorker-festival-emily-nussbaum_n_1948596.html">the "Girls" creator said at the New Yorker Festival</a> in August 2012.
The curvy songstress recently <a href="http://www.teenvogue.com/beauty/celebrity-beauty/2011-03/beyonce-knowles-fragrance-interview/?slide=1" target="_blank">gave this advice to young readers at Teen Vogue</a>: "The best thing I can say to young ladies is accept the body you're in. If you have curves, love your curves. The thing to strive for is to have the best healthy body you can have. It's really not about being skinny or being curvy. What matters is that you love yourself and you are taking care of your health."
"We're fighting a stigma: fat. People are really scared of fat. And I think we need to change people's minds and show that you can be bigger and you can be beautiful just as you are. It's about being and loving yourself and once I discovered that, life got much easier." on plus-size modeling, to <em>Interview</em>
She is the first woman many people think of when they hear "legendary sex symbol". But some say that today, <a href="http://jezebel.com/5299793/for-the-last-time-what-size-was-marilyn-monroe" target="_blank">Monroe might wear a size 12 or a size 16</a>.
Vergara stepped onto the scene and proved that you can be very voluptuous and still be extremely sexy. She won't back down or slim down for anyone either: She told Self: "When I was 13, I got these ridiculous boobs. It's hard to dress. No matter what I wear, I look like a stripper. That said, I'm grateful I have them, and honestly, they've helped me a lot in my career. And I've always felt sexy."
"...that heroin-chic look isn’t my cup of tea. It isn’t for a lot of people out of the fashion world. That starvation look isn’t for everybody, why not have someone who is a little bit bigger?" <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/17/robyn-lawley-weight-size-model-interview_n_1973208.html">in an interview with RadarOnline.com</a>
"It was impossible not to look at magazines and look at my body and think, 'If only I was skinnier' or, 'If only my legs weren't so muscular.' Then, one day, I remember seeing this brunette, plus-sized model in a homecoming shoot. It was amazing. Seeing that one image during my adolescence was such a relief. I wish there had been more." <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/fashion/2012/mar/02/models-breaking-mould">to Emine Saner of <em>The Guardian</em></a>
"I don't really know what the appeal is about... boobs. But I do know that when I was in junior high, I used to be made fun of — for being flat-chested. Everyone would go, "She's not pretty! She doesn't have boobs!" So I always had boob envy. And when finally I went through my growth spurt, and they appeared, and I just... I loved them. So that's why I like boobs, because I didn't have them, and then I got 'em." <a href="http://www.esquire.com/features/qa/kate-upton-5931248">to <em>Esquire</em></a>
On being overweight in America, <a href="http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/family/celebrity-interviews/jennifer-hudson-interview-2">to <em>Good Housekeeping</em></a>: "That was normal in Chicago. But then I'd go to another city, and it was real culture shock. I'm like, Huh? Wait a minute — I'm a big girl?"
<a href="http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/Oprah-Interviews-Actress-and-Producer-Salma-Hayek/12"> in <em>O, The Oprah Magazine</em></a>: "I do have thighs and a butt. I have cellulite. I fight with it every day. I don't exercise, I eat pork, and I love my red wine. But, yes, I am beautiful and famous—and yet the things I like about myself have nothing to do with that, because I don't use wealth and beauty to define myself."
<a href="http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/silver-linings-playbook-actress-jennifer-1509653">To the <em>Mirror</em></a>: "I'd rather look chubby on screen and like a person in real life."
<a href="http://www.contactmusic.com/interview/aferrera">To Contact Music</a>: "Whether you're skinny or not there's just way too much attention placed on the way we look. It overshadows more important things in life like loving yourself, loving who your are and finding yourself on the inside."
"People always ask me, 'You have so much confidence. Where did that come from?' It came from me. One day I decided that I was beautiful, and so I carried out my life as if I was a beautiful girl. I wear colors that I really like, I wear makeup that makes me feel pretty, and it really helps. It doesn't have anything to do with how the world perceives you. What matters is what you see. Your body is your temple, it's your home, and you must decorate it." <a href="http://www.harpersbazaar.com/fashion/fashion-articles/gabourey-sidibe-precious-interview-0210">to <em>Harper's Bazaar</em></a>
<a href="http://www.mamamia.com.au/health-wellbeing/model-gemma-ward-shes-had-her-moment-its-over/">On her weight gain</a>: “I realize you can’t please everyone. Sometimes when people are constantly wanting the fantasy or the illusion, you have to break it to them that it’s not real.”
"For seven years it's been happening. It's like, 'OK cool, the fat joke,'" the "American Idol" winner<a href="http://www.popeater.com/2009/06/05/kelly-clarkson-weight-issues/"> told Australia's Kyle and Jackie O Show</a> in 2009. "I love my body. I'm very much OK with it. I don't think artists are ever the ones who have the problem with their weight, it is other people."
"Back when I was modeling, the first time I went to Italy I was having cappuccinos every day, and I gained 15 pounds. And I felt gorgeous! I would take my clothes off in front of the mirror and be like, Oh, I look like a woman. And I felt beautiful, and I never tried to lose it, 'cause I loved it," <a href="http://www.health.com/health/article/0,,20429844_2,00.html">the "Mad Men" star told Health magazine</a>.
"Everybody fluctuates, but I'm open about my weight and I'm still confident. "I didn't cry about it too much," <a href="http://www.luckymag.com/magazine/2011/12/jessica-simpson#slide=1c">Jessica Simpson told Lucky magazine</a> in November 2011. "I got so much scrutiny for putting on extra pounds, but I think that the decision not to make myself anorexic was actually great for branding. Because when you're really, really skinny, not everybody can relate to you."
"When I was on tour earlier in the year, I’d be on stage for one-and-a-half hours a night, so since the tour finished in March, I’ve put on about half a stone. But I do Pilates three times a week. I am still body conscious, but I’m not so concerned with it; I don’t care as much," she told Elle UK.
She once told Cosmo: "It’s possible to like the way you look. I wouldn’t change my body, and I couldn’t anyway. Surely there are more important issues than if someone has cellulite.”
"When I was criticised for it, I said, 'I have cellulite. So what!,'" <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/05/kim-kardashian-in-cosmopolitan_n_844943.html">the reality star told Cosmopolitan UK</a>. "I've never claimed to be perfect. It's crazy anyone should assume that just because you're in the spotlight, you're flawless. Sometimes I pig out and I still feel great, and think, 'That was so worth it!' That's how I feel a lot of the time. I think, 'See this little dimple of cellulite here? It was so worth it for that cookies 'n' cream ice cream!'"
"I actually thought at the time that being thin made me better," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/11/oprah-lifeclass-officiall_n_1004870.html">Oprah Winfrey said on network show "Lifeclass."</a> "You are not the shape of your body, you're not your status, you're not your position in life, you're not the car you drive no matter how fancy it is, you're not your house or your square footage."
"I think any time you are on a hit show as a young actor or actress, you feel [pressured]. Then as a woman, there’s some additional pressures you feel to look a certain way and be a certain size. I was not the girl that was a size 2 and didn’t work for it. I was never the waify model type," the former "Saved by the Bell" star <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/22/tiffani-thiessen-hot-photo_n_2526772.html?utm_hp_ref=celebrity">told the website Me In My Place.</a>
"No matter what I do, they're there," the "2 Broke Girls" star said of her breasts on the red carpet at the 2012 Emmy Awards. "They're always the same size."
"A few years ago I lost 30 pounds, and people still wanted to criticize. And honestly, I’m happy with myself if I’m a little heavier," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/19/khloe-kardashians-body-image_n_2512336.html?ir=Celebrity">Khloe Kardashian told Glamour magazine</a>. "I realized: 'Why am I trying to conform to someone else’s idea of beauty?' I think I’m beautiful either way."
"I'm never like, I'm plus-sized, I'm so much bigger than them other artists out there it's going to be a problem. I've never really thought about it at all. It only comes to my attention if I were to read something about it,"<a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504803_162-57376080-10391709/adele-talks-about-her-body-image-and-weight/"> the Grammy winner told Anderson Cooper</a> on "60 MInutes" about her body image. "I think no matter what you look like, the key is to first of all be happy with yourself. And then you know if you want to try to improve things that you don't like about yourself, then do it after you appreciate yourself."
"My weight/loss/gain since i was child has tormented me. No amount of help has ever healed my pain about it. But YOU have," <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/melaniehaiken/2012/09/26/lady-gaga-puts-bulimia-and-body-image-on-the-table-in-a-big-way/">Lady Gaga wrote on her website</a> in September 2012, when she launched the online discussion board "Body Revolution."
Despite being told to slim down as a young model, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley didn't oblige and as a result, ended up naturally losing the weight as she matured. She told Britain's ELLE magazine, "I can't remember a time where I really battled with my body, but I can remember being asked to lose weight and battling with the advice. It hurt me."
"I've never wanted to look like the models on the cover of magazines. I represent the majority of women and I'm very proud of that," Adele told People magazine.
Rosario Dawson has often been told she needs to lose weight, but the actress attributes her weight to her "big boobs." “I would get told by my manager, ‘Rosario, you went into your audition with sweats today. If you want to wear a sweater, just make sure it’s tight.’ Because the casting directors would call her and say, ‘She’s great but the casting director needs to know if she’s slim.’ I’m like, ‘Dude, have you seen the photos I’ve done? You know what I look like.’”
Liv Tyler has said: “I’ve been told that if I lose weight I’d have more work, but I refuse to submit myself to Hollywood standards. To the rest of the world I am slim and I like the way I am.”
"Actually, the challenge I've always had is being too thin, so I love that now I have a booty, and obviously I love showing my cleavage," Christina Aguilera told Lucky magazine.
"Let's be healthy big people. Everybody can't be a size 0 or 45, but let's be healthy."
Cole has had body issues before. She once told Vogue that she would start crying once she got on the scale. But she seems to have come to peace with her image as of late. She had said, "Do you ever reach the point when you're happy with your body? I can look in the mirror in the morning and feel rubbish. But never change your look for a man. Never."
"There's a lot of pressure living this Hollywood life. People expect to see you at a certain weight and when you gain a few pounds then all of a sudden it's the talk of the week, I want kids or women out there to realize you don't have to be anorexic to be beautiful."
"To all of you who have something nasty to say to me or to women built like me," Tyra Banks said on her talk show, "I have one thing to say to you: Kiss my fat a**!"
Jennifer Lopez once fired a manager for ordering her to lose weight: “I was just so infuriated that somebody said you couldn’t have a little extra meat on you – because I was by no means fat! That was so mean and closed-minded. I was like: ‘No, this is who I am and this is the type of woman that I grew up with and it was beautiful and there’s no reason to be anybody but myself.’”
"My happy weight changes. Sometimes I eat more; sometimes I play more. I'll be different sizes all the time. When people talk about my weight, I'm like, `You seem to have a problem with it; I don't. I'm fine! I've never felt uncomfortable on the red carpet or anything."
"I just had to grow to love my body, I'm either going to love me or hate me. And I chose to love myself."
"I'm really comfortable in my own skin, learned that I'm not ever going to be a size 2. I would look so weird as a size 2. Somebody would blow and I would fall right over. It just wouldn't be healthy."
America's most famous African-American model dishes the dirt on her body worries.
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