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Jennifer Lawrence’s Reverse Body Shaming May Not Be A Step In The Right Direction

Ever since she was cast as Katniss in the first Hunger Games movie, Jennifer Lawrence has been a strong advocate against body shaming in the media. She has been celebrated for inspirational quotes such as “I’d rather look chubby on screen and like a person in real life” and “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 try to get my body to look fit and strong, not thin and underfed.” On the surface, these quotes seem to fight back against a culture obsessed with perfection and being thin, but when looked at more closely, they show that Lawrence is just as guilty of body shaming as anyone else.

Typically, the media portrays heavier people in a negative light by making fun of their weight and slamming them for their particular body type. Lawrence rightfully points this out as being a harsh practice, but her own words are little different. The phrase “like a person in real life,” when juxtaposed against “chubby on screen,” suggests to readers and listeners that thin people are not real people. Sure, the quote itself is meant to imply that not everyone has to be rail thin like some of the stars in Hollywood, but what does this mean for people who have a naturally slender build? Does it mean that there is something wrong with being thin? Does it make them somehow less perfect as a human being? While these reactions might seem over the top, they are possible responses to a quote such as this that can be seen in comments below videos and articles. A similar meaning can be applied to the second quote, in which Lawrence implies that looking “fit and strong” is acceptable, but “thin and underfed” is not. In reality, it is possible to be fit and strong and thin without being underfed. It also proves Lawrence is a bit of a hypocrite, because as much as she may try to promote the image of curvier women,  Lawrence, herself, is young and thin.

Undoubtedly, Lawrence’s actions are a step in the right direction and are well intentioned, but they are also attempting to fight fire with fire. Instead of promoting all body types as being unique in her attempt to end body shaming, Lawrence is condemning slimmer body types in favor of curvier ones. Essentially, she is reverse body shaming.

All body types exist, and all should be accepted and celebrated.  It is impossible to create a norm for body types, thin or otherwise, because human genetics simply do not work that way. Perhaps the best thing that Lawrence has said in regard to body shaming is to  “Forget about those people [who judge you based on your looks]. You look how you look!”

Written by Sarah Fornshell’15



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