Media’s Obsession with Thinness More Apparent than Ever

Do we need any more proof of the media’s obsession with thinness than this – a 70 picture slideshow on ABC News of the “Ups and Downs of Celebrity Weight“?

It seems we can’t escape the thin equals beauty equation, but what continues to surprise me time and time again is how unhealthy looking these “beautiful” women always appear.

Here are some highlights from the slideshow:

Gwyneth Paltrow – It appears Paltrow was required to gain 20 pounds for her most recent role in the soon-to-be released movie “Country Strong” yet I see little to no difference between the two pictures. And frankly find it ridiculous that this is a headline worthy story.

Neve Campbell – When I look at the side-by-side pictures of Campbell in the slideshow I am more shocked by her skeleton-like figure in the first one than how much weight she has gained in the second. To be honest I think she looks far healthier (and beautiful) in the “heavier” image.

Christina Aguilera – While the pictures of Aguilera report that she has “packed on some pounds” they don’t mention one of the obvious reasons for the weight gain – perhaps having a child.

Anthony Hopkins – Hopkins lost 75 pounds over the last two years with an extremely strict diet regime of which he says, “I’m in the gym six days a week, I power walk, live on 800 calories a day. No pasta. No seconds. A sandwich occasionally. Now I’m a health nut.” A health nut? Eight hundred calories a day is extremely unhealthy, even dangerous, especially considering the vigorous workouts. For a man to lose weight healthfully he should be eating 2,300 calories a day, almost 3 times the amount Hopkins was consuming.

Lea Michele – When teasers for the new season of “Glee” started this Fall I was shocked by how much weight Michele had lost and this picture confirms my shock, but what is even more disturbing to me is that the caption characterizes her weight loss as a means to “stay fit” but to me Michele actually looks extremely unhealthy.

Kim Kardashian – Both pictures of Kardashian look completely retouched and altered to make her appear even thinner and more toned.

While many pictures did not call attention to the women’s unhealthy bodies I’m happy that a few did like Ashlee Simpson’s whose caption revealed that the celebrity has struggled with an eating disorder in the past.

Meg Ryan’s picture was another one that stuck out to me as being extremely unhealthy and her caption too called attention to her “painfully thin” body and “gaunt” figure as did Cate Blanchett’s which noted her “emaciated frame” and shoulder bones that “looked like they would cute the straps of her dress.”

Seventy pictures scrutinizing various celebrities’ bodies on a major news network site like ABC is proof of our culture’s obsession with beauty and being thin – one in the same for women and increasingly men today. This narrow definition of beauty is really a disservice to us all and frankly there are far more important issues I’d like to read about on ABC then celebrity weight and loss gain.

Check out the slideshow yourself and see what you think >

The media’s obsession with thinness is made apparent with a 70 picture slideshow on ABC News titled the “Ups and Downs of Celebrity Weight.”

Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography used under a Creative Commons license.


Lim Y.
Lim Y7 years ago

thx for the article.

Carol Cowbrough
Carol C7 years ago

Noted. Thanks.

Empress Ginger
Ginger Strivelli7 years ago

Fat people need to be accepted like gay people need accepted and disabled people need accepted, mixed race people need accepted. Why is it that being Fat is considered a moral failing, a terrible flaw, something that must be 'fixed?' but all otehr differences are diversity to be celebrated?

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman7 years ago


Dean P.
Dean P7 years ago

I am in love with all shapes and is to short to fret it!

John B.
John B7 years ago

I have a very different take than the other comments here as I look at this with disdain over the concept of celebrity. What price is one willing to pay to be a celebrity?

Women are taught that they have to be super skinny to have the celebrity look. Men have to have the chiselled abs to be the sexiest man alive. Do you realize how shallow one has to be to rest their future potential as an individual upon their appearance? This does not mean that everyone who is good looking is shallow only that if that is all that you have to offer the world then you deserve to be a celebrity.

If one really wants to combat these stereo types then shut off the celebrity tv shows and don't surf to the celebrity gossip web sites. Quite frankly none of this celebrity drivel has any importance in anyone's life.

Trish Phillips

If you would recall not that long ago the girl who played in that movie "Don't Tell A Word" had a heart attack at the ripe old age of 34 because she was taking pills to lose weight. She looked like those old pictures of Karen Carpenter just before the poor thing passed away. I am NOT anorexic nor bulimic but my body lacks the bacteria required to allow it to digest food properly. So keeping weight on is a problem for me. I also have a very fast metabolism. It means I end up eating yoghurt for the bacteria whether I like the crap or not and more than one doctor has admitted that milk was the saving grace of my life. I will drink half and half cream when my weight starts dropping into the danger zone ( under 110 lbs. I'm 5'6" tall ). Yet I will tell you that there is a horrible fascination there. One time I was down to 98 lbs. How I got that way, wasn't intentional, but once there; to maintain it.... ah, that was the sick part. My muscles hadn't been so defined in years. The fact that I was trembling half the time, ah well. I was used to that.
Twiggy didn't mean to cause all of this. The poor lass did when she showed up in the 60's and suddenly caused a new sensation, a new look. People have been trying to live up to how she just happened to be built ever since. It's a pity that the media and public are too stupid to let her go. I wonder if she ever feels guilty just for having been so lovely?

Charlene R.
Charlene Rush7 years ago

If you wear 4 or 5 inch heels with pointed toes, you probably fall for this obsession with thinness. Women permit male designers to dictate fashion. ABSURD!!! Go ahead, ruin your feet and legs, makes no difference to most people.

Until women stop trying to compete with other women, and start 'sticking together', we will have this problem.

Men learned long ago, that there is strength and power in numbers. They, as well as women, love to see females fight with each other. It gives them some sort of superior feeling. Men promote in-fighting among women, and women fall for it.

It works perfectly well, for men.

Cheyenne Ziermann

What's wrong with this? First of all, every body is different. Paltrow is someone with a super fast metabolism and a small build. Hopkins may do little exercise and only need 800 calories. Obviously eating 2,300 only made him fat.
Also, the reason this is in the media is because they are celebrities. It's not a very big deal. They are judged for appearances, from weight to hair style to nose size. It really is nothing strange, and nothing bad - I'd rather promote skinniness than obesity.

James R. Stewart Jr.

I now weigh 155#. (At age 77) At age 18, I weighed 155#, after 8 years in a YMCA swimming team. I still maintain that kind of condition, by walking around the block, and eating with Intelligence and Restraint. I hope to live another 20 years, and I know how to do it. Solid food, by itself, will only solidify your body. THINK. Restrain yourself.