The Oscar-winning actress, Jennifer Lawrence, has come under attack for saying that calling someone “fat” on television should be illegal. She makes the point that there are regulations that prohibit the use of many different kinds of words and relegates different types of programming to different times of day in order to protect children, so why not regulate the word “fat.” She was discussing the problem of “fat shaming,” body image, anorexia and the defeminization of the female body by modern society. The idea that little girls should NOT be made ashamed of their curves is an important idea and one that we actually should be talking about. And yes she was putting the blame on Hollywood, where she is considered a “fat actress.”
The deafening chorus from the conservative blogosphere and media happened almost immediately. Fox’s The Five, spent a huge part of their hour castigating and deriding her. Some even joking how she needs to be given a copy of the Constitution. It’s almost as if they didn’t bother to actually watch the entire interview, relying self-righteously on a little clip. Instead of a discussion on the relevant issues that Lawrence raised, this group of self-touted talking heads devolved into a group of little bitchy middle school children. Meanwhile these are the same people who called for the firing of Martin Bashir and other leftist trolls for the disgusting bullying things they say about Sarah Palin, the Tea Party and Conservative values. Just like the Left you can’t have it both ways. Perhaps the members of The Five need a copy of the Constitution themselves when it comes to the bullies and haters they don’t like. Maybe they should also learn to not make light of the culture of dehumanization that has evolved around women’s bodies in this country.
It is important to remember that Jennifer Lawrence is a role model for millions of little girls in the world. Her portrayal of Katniss Eberdeen in the Hunger Games movies provides her a unique soapbox to support the idea that bullying of girls about their looks and body is a societal ill. Anorexia is rampant among our young (boys are prone to “fat shaming” and body image issues as well). It destroys a person’s self-worth and their ability to think of themselves in a positive manner. Without self-esteem how can a person create, strive and develop? They can’t. The idea that Hollywood and Madison Avenue, have so destroyed what a healthy woman is supposed to look like, and taken from girls the right to revel in their bodies, is not only an emotional crime, but emotional abuse as well.
You can protect your child all you want from the input of culture, but it is still there. Whether it is airbrushed models, starving actresses or commercials manifesting the “perfect” female, our children are bombarded with messages that “normal” is gross and disgusting. Kate Upton, the new model “It” girl, has even been castigated as fat and flabby by critics. Once Marilyn Monroe was the ideal woman, complete with full breasts, a little bulging tummy and broad hips. And Christie Brinkley, the athletic model, was the rage in the 198os. But unfortunately today the ideal woman is a starved 20-something whose female body resembles the look of a 12-year-old boy.
Changing how society views a woman’s body has to start somewhere. Perhaps Jennifer Lawrence’s words may have been a bit inelegant, but her idea still stands. You can’t call a woman a “cunt” on prime time television or use the word “shit.” A quick view of Janet Jackson’s breast during the Super Bowl resulted in a huge fine. These words or pictures, are deemed too harmful for little ears and too inappropriate for society. So why can’t the FCC do the same with words that demean and denigrate another human being? Psychiatry has shown that the meme “words may never harm us” is a fallacy. Words can permanently, and quite easily diminish another person and wreak havoc on a soul.
There is a national movement to stop using the word “retarded” in its derogatory connotation. It’s use is recognized as bullying, amidst the growing realization that there are children in our society that are bullied to death. Words can be recognized as having harmful force and effect. So why can’t society understand that there are little girls (and boys) out there who are starving themselves to death because of a perverted body image and maybe, just maybe, we should make “fat-shaming” taboo.