“She’s Good, But Not Much to Look At”

The above quote is not really anything I’ve heard someone say. I just wanted to talk about how famous people, especially women, are always expected to be extremely beautiful, so what happens when someone stands out as being a considered bit fat or ugly in the showbiz industry? I’m talking about both actresses and singers. Because whenever someone stands out like a sore thumb as being seemingly unattractive compared to the usual ‘Hollywood’ standard, they get some interesting reactions.

Take Rumer Willis. Go on her Imdb message board, or a comments section on an article about her on the Daily Fail’s website, and I’m sure you will find someone calling her ugly. Now I don’t like to be nasty about people’s appearances, but unfortunately for Rumer she has inherited her dad Bruce Willis’ jawline. But she is not ugly. No one is ugly. Another reason she gets criticised is because she’s famous for having famous parents – there’s the argument that she wouldn’t have got these opportunities to act or model if she didn’t have famous parents. I’ve never seen Rumer act, so I can’t comment on whether she has any talent in that field or not – but I think it’s kind of sad that being a successful actress apparently is synonymous with being beautiful. And it’s also quite unfair to judge someone on things they can’t control. Rumer couldn’t control her parents or her appearance.

Also take Sarah Jessica Parker. Now, before I go on – I admit it, I have had a laugh at http://sarahjessicaparkerlookslikeahorse.com/. Even though it’s not very nice…because once again, the message behind this is that Sarah stands out for the wrong reasons by being seen as ‘horselike’ especially when compared to the usual standard of Hollywood beauty. Again, I haven’t really seen any of Sarah’s acting to comment on whether she’s talented or not (that’s right, I’ve never watched Sex in the City.) but, once again, does it really matter if an actress is unattractive? I feel like this seems more prevalent in the Film industry than it is with Television or Music. I guess it’s understandable to some extent – if you’re going to have this actress in a leading role, and therefore in a good proportion of the film and its promotion, you’re not going to be happy if the viewers and reviewers are apparently too distracted by how ‘ugly’ the actress is to enjoy the film fully. (Probably an extreme idea, but still.) Maggie Gyllenhaal in The Dark Knight was referred to as beautiful by The Joker in the film but viewers commenting on the Imdb boards mostly didn’t seem to agree. 

And then there’s Jennifer Lawrence – she has a beautiful face, but apparently she thinks she’s a ‘fat actress’. She’s well known for having a hilariously relatable personality – she talks about how much she loves pizza and food in general, but come on, she is not fat! I’ve never heard anyone call her that. She is *at a push* maybe a UK 10, while other actresses are probably around a UK 6-8. So I guess that’s where she’s coming from. Anyway, some writers have expressed issues with Jennifer’s comments, and I sort of agree with Jenny Trout when she says:

When Jennifer Lawrence makes these comments, it’s acceptable, because her body is still pleasing to our cultural expectation of voluptuous, slim-waisted, long-necked female beauty.

That said, I still really like Jennifer for just how funny and outgoing she seems to be. I think it’s refreshing to hear these kind of comments from someone who is aware of her impressionable young audience:

“I’m never going to starve myself for a part. I don’t want little girls to be like, ‘Oh, I want to look like Katniss, so I’m going to skip dinner!’ […]I was trying to get my body to look fit and strong, not thin and underfed.” 

jennifer_lawrence_pizza

Moving on to singers – I think I’ve heard some comments now and then about Ellie Goulding or Jessie J being plain or possibly even unattractive. They both have amazing voices, so why should their appearance matter? How many times do the British Public need to have a ‘Susan Boyle’ moment wherein they realise not to judge people by their appearance? It already happened, on the same program (Britain’s Got Talent) with Paul Potts – Amanda Holden sitting there with her jaw to the floor because she had not expected such talent from someone that unattractive.

And finally, sticking with the singers theme – at least there has been some change  lately with Megan Trainor’s song All About That Bass. I don’t actually like this song very much, I think it’s quite annoying. I’m also not keen on the slight aspect of ‘skinny shaming’ that you get from it, but I’m sure that was unintentional.

Meghan-Trainor_All-About-That-Bass_video-snap

Even so, it’s still good that songs like this exist, because a lot of women can look at pictures of ‘perfect’ people in magazines, compare themselves to them, and think “I’m so fat” even though they may or may not actually be overweight. But any song with lyrics like “Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top” is a good idea if you ask me.

We need to get across a message that you should love yourself for who you are, but ideally *without* putting others down in the process, without resorting to skinny shaming, or making statements like ‘real women have curves’ – No. Every woman is a ‘real woman’ no matter what their shape or size. I know it might be easy to have a ‘you don’t have anything to complain about, you’re so skinny’ attitude but thin women have as much of a right as overweight women to not be shamed or ridiculed.

Can’t we just be nice? And not judge people? I know that sounds cheesy and kind of implausible, but even so…obviously it’s natural to judge on appearances, we all do it. Apparently, ‘it takes just one-tenth of a second for us to judge someone and make a first impression’ (Wikpedia) But is there really any need to be nasty when we judge people? 

Personally I’m glad I’m not famous because I can’t imagine anything worse than being constantly judged by everything you do and how you look. I already feel the same pressure as all other women my age do to be ‘perfect’. I think being famous must make that pressure ten times worse.


If you’ve read all of this rather long post, then thank you very much! Please feel free to leave a comment on what you thought of it 🙂 

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