Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Shapely Prose-- a blog that I absolutely adore for its commitment to changing the way we view weight, fat people, and weight-loss-- has the following post up today:

I’m talking to a reporter who’s doing a story about what “messages” celebrities send with their weight-loss/weight-gain narratives. In her own words, she wants to know: “What was your reaction to Kirstie Alley’s and Oprah’s latest revelations? Did their descriptions of the shame and humiliation they felt about it make you feel normalized? Hopeless? Angry? Other?”

I wanted to include my response here:

I think the first response I had to both Oprah and Kirstie Alley was simply questioning why they continually choose to share their "pain" and "humiliation" with the rest of us. Do they think that their bodies are some type of report-card grade that has to be authorized by the general public? These women, especially Oprah, are pretty private about many areas of their personal lives- why do they feel their bodies are public property? Kirstie Alley's fame for the last decade or so has been based solely on her weight loss and weight gain, so it's not surprising to see another tabloid cover confession, I guess I just wonder why she allows that to be marketed to the degree that it is when she is a talented actress and undoubtedly has other things going on in her life aside from her weight.

Society has an ongoing conversation about younger celebrities who market themselves with their bodies (e.g., Paris Hilton/Kim Kardashian's fame spawning from sex tapes), but I think that Oprah and Kirstie exemplify the same cultural pressure to submit their bodies to scrutiny in the name of fame that the younger generations do; except, rather than being directly tied to their sexuality, it's to their weight (which is then connected to sexuality, but also a whole host of other "ills" such as laziness, selfishness, and stupidity). It's like they're Weight Sluts. We can envy Oprah for her billions, her fame, her success, her life, as long as at the end of the day we feel like we're better than her- that lazy, stupid bitch who can't keep the weight off.

Update: Was interviewed by the New York Times for my commentary. We'll see if I am actually quoted in the article that they post. Either way, I'll be posting a link to the article to this website as a way to further this interesting conversation. :)

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