‘She’s too big, now she’s too thin’

There’s a line from Britney Spears’s song “Piece of Me” — “I’m Mrs. She’s Too Big, Now She’s Too Thin” — that is frustratingly true about how the media treat celebrities’ bodies. The media bounces between calling them fat and then ridiculing them as underweight, or between reporting on how miserable they are because they are starving themselves and extreme-dieting to stay thin — on the same pages that praise their “perfect” bodies.

Kelly Osbourne is the latest celebrity to get this treatment — Osbourne recently lost more than 40 pounds:

Osbourne told US Weekly, “I’m f—ing starving right now!” in regard to her new figure, though a few months earlier the magazine did a feature on her weight loss and an US Weekly bureau chief remarked that Osbourne “looked incredible and so slim.” And now, other media outlets are questioning whether Osbourne is too thin.

These comments promote the notion of “your body will never be good enough.” First you’re too big, then everyone is awed by your weight loss, and then everyone is disturbed by your weight loss. But then you’re afraid to put on weight, confused because the initial reaction was so positive and garnered so much attention.

The media shouldn’t be an arbiter of what acceptable weight gain is. They see what they want to see — they find pictures of women from unflattering angles or after they’ve eaten dinner (Eva Longoria has talked about pictures taken of her after she “ate pasta and Italian and [her] pants were too tight,” leaving her with a slight blip in her slender figure that led to rumors it was a baby bump) and shame women for being a little bloated, wearing a baggy shirt, or just not being the same as those women in the magazines — even those women in the magazines don’t look like that, as they are always digitally retouched, unless purposely doing a shoot promoting not being airbrushed.

This type of thinking — you can’t be too fat, but you can’t be too thin, but you also have to be sure you don’t eat so much that a ripple forms in your stomach that could be perceived as a baby bump, but you also can’t wear loose clothing to hide the ripple because that means you look pregnant and fat too — is damaging. It’s stressful. It’s unnecessary.

I’m not saying Osbourne’s weight loss is totally bad — she admits she was an emotional eater and would “eat [her] emotions away,” and she was likely clinically overweight, so healthy eating habits (instead of her previous regimes, such as diet pills, starvation, fad diets) and regular exercise bode well for her health and energy levels.

I am saying, however, that the scrutiny and pressure could take those healthy habits and quickly turn them unhealthy (overexercising, under-eating, binging, etc.). Basically, I despise that media outlets try to show concern over these “too thin” celebrities — the media outlets whose criticism likely drove them to thinness — despite the fact they’d splash their cover with pictures of them with a minor stomach bump if they had the opportunity. Ugh.

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