No Wonder Girls Are Confused: Body Image and Jennifer Love Hewitt

Why Girls are Confused…again: Body Size Messages

Dr. Robyn J.A. Silverman

We know we’re constantly bombarded with photos indirectly suggesting to women and girls that “thin is in and thin is beautiful (and fat is NOT).” Messages accompany these photos that tell us 51 ways to lose weight, tone up, get rid of cellulite, and be attractive. No wonder why so many girls (and boys) suffer from poor body image, eating disorders, scary eating practices, too much pressure, and low self confidence.

We’re always thrilled to see examples of positive role models and celebrities telling us that it’s all a bunch of phony baloney and yet, they’re often smooshed between the one celebrity who has lost another 14 pounds and another top model’s diet plan.

Of course we still try to tell girls and women that they are beautiful the way they are…which can be confusing given the overwhelming proof otherwise.

Well, here’s just one more reason why our girls (and their Mothers) can get confused:

On the beach as compared to her Hanes Ad

On the beach as compared to her Hanes Ad

(1) Jennifer Love Hewitt made quite a statement on behalf of curvy women everywhere last December when she was criticized for her “Oh So NOT size 0 body” while away celebrating with her fiancé in Hawaii. She was a size 2. Yes, that’s right…very “fat.”

“This is the last time I will address this subject. “I’ve sat by in silence for a long time now about the way women’s bodies are constantly scrutinized. “To set the record straight, I’m not upset for me, but for all of the girls out there that are struggling with their body image. “A size 2 is not fat! Nor will it ever be. And being a size 0 doesn’t make you beautiful. I know what I look like, and so do my friends and family. “And like all women out there should, I love my body.”To all girls with butts, boobs, hips and a waist, put on a bikini – put it on and stay strong

However, what was the headline on the latest Us Weekly?

Jennifer Love Hewitt Exclusive: Her Exact Diet and Workout Plan 18 Pounds in Ten Weeks!

Hmmmm. This is definitely NOT the same message, is it?

Message 1 says: People are critical of girls who are not a size 0, even if they’re just a size 2. If you put on any weight at all, people will take pictures of you, make fun of you, talk about you, and criticize your self control and appearance. But Jennifer Love Hewitt is lashing out and telling these nasty people what she thinks of them…so girls who deviate from the perceived “ideal” size 0 are OK but…

Message #2 says: Not so fast. Maybe a size 2 was too big? If a size 2 woman “needs to” lose 18 pounds…how much do other girls and women need to lose? Do I need lipo?

Us Weekly "Weight Winner" feels great now that she

Us Weekly "Weight Winner" feels great now that she's lost 18 pounds off her 5'3" frame despite having said that she didn't need to lose weight in December

Folks, please use this story as a jumping off point to talk about body image and body confidence with any children, teens, or young adults you love. In addition, in order to keep them from getting confused:

  1. Ensure them that people come in all shapes and sizes: What’s important is that we make healthy choices, not that we’re a size 0.

  2. Don’t allow the media to tell you or your family what they’re supposed to look like: Help your children redefine attractiveness in your home. Expose them to role models of all shapes and sizes.

  3. Regulate the media that enters your home: Turn on the TV, open a magazine, put connect to the internet , your family will be bombarded with images of impossible thin girls and women. Filter some of the negative stuff out as best you can and be sure to talk about what you see when it finds it’s way into your living room. It’s not about “blocking” everything out but rather, teaching your children how to process the information responsibly and with perspective.

  4. Stop the comparisons with thin celebs: What you and your family sees on TV or in the magazines is not the “real world” and often is simply…”not real.” To compare your body type and size with Paris Hilton is about as scientific as comparing it with Strawberry Shortcake.

  5. Convey your values and pump up their body-loving activities: Be sure that your children know your that your values have more to do with respect, tolerance, gratitude, and citizenship than surface looks and liposuction. Surround your children with like-minded individuals and have them engage in activities that help them see the fun of moving a healthy body not obsessing with how it looks in a pair of jeans.

  6. Walk Your Bosy Positive Talk: As parents, we can’t just talk about the importance of a healthy body image, we must have on ourselves. Catch yourself when you start to berate your own body or make comments about your spouse or friends. Your children are listening and always affected by how you perceive yourself and your body.

    Have a Powerful Weekend!

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9 Responses

  1. I just think Jennifer has more pressure to be perfect than the average gal–and she can still say that women should be happy with themselves while making the step to lsoe wight. It should be a personal choice not based on what others say but what you yourself feel comfortable with, as long i as it is healthy both psychically and mentally.

  2. was jennifer love hewitt pregment

  3. People all around get pressure to be thin. So maybe Jennifer looks good as a size 0, that doesnt mean every girl will look good as a size 0 or even a 1 or a 2. I Work with guys and girls all the time to lose AND gain weight. What I always make sure i tell them is that your weight is NOT the best indicator of good looks. Healthy eating habits are the way to go to feel go about yourself.

  4. […] Comments Is the Jessica Simps… on Celebrity Eating Disorders: Is…Ron on No Wonder Girls Are Confused: …Heather on Beyonce’s Sesame Street …Ulrieke on No Wonder Girls Are Confused: […]

  5. America is marinating in images of thin people but is the fattest nation in the history of the planet. I wonder how much affect these images really have? Eating disorders seem to have more to do with control rather than looks, but that doesn’t fit the media narrative that pictures of thin people are responsible for other peoples lives. Personal responsibility is dead.

  6. Well… she’s short. A size 2 doesn’t look the same on everyone, and if you have more noticeable amount of fat on your body than muscle, no matter what “size” you are, you’re not going to look as good as the woman with a more even percentage of the two. Short people, especially short women, have to weigh a lot less than one of an average height of say, 5’5″. Serena Williams, for example, is like, size 18, but she’s all muscle, and she’s tall (5’10”), so no one in their right mind would look at that woman and think “fat”. Jennifer Love, on the other hand, is only 5’2″1/2… where Serena would look anorexic at 130lbs, Jennifer would look fluffy. Not FAT, like the media said, but certainly… softer than usual.

    However I’m not mad at her for losing the weight.

  7. Okay… maybe Serena’s not size 18, but she’s at least a ten, and that’s still what a lot of people call “fat” just based on the number.

  8. Jennifer should not be concerned abt what others think. i dont think she is fat. And that picture looks like air brush the one in white shirt. I am size 2 but i look skinner than her mabe b/c im taller. idk. she should embrace her body. who cares abt what others think.

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