Oh, the times they are a chang…wait, not so fast.
Hollywood has long been criticized for putting tremendous pressure on women to stay petite as can be. (See: her and her and these two. Oh, and her.) But recently, there seems to be a rise in young actresses standing up and saying, "I am woman and these are my curves and these are my muscles, hear me roar!" Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence has, perhaps, been the most vocal on her refusal to conform to a particular body type for roles. The public has applauded her for her confidence and quick wit when it comes to defending her body, but is anyone in Hollywood—or the world for that matter—actually listening?
Just weeks before the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Carrie Fischer, the actress who played the original gangster Princess Leia, shared her disappointment that even now at 59 years old, she felt outside pressure to slim down for her role in the latest franchise installment. If a bona fide film icon can't get some body praise, what hope is there for the rest of us?
Fischer's news comes just one day after Annie Liebovitz unveiled her unconventional take on the coveted annual Pirelli calendar, which swaps traditional stick-thin models in revealing clothing for 11 powerful and fully-clothed women, plus a striking shot of tennis superstar Serena Williams's muscular physique and a raw portrait of comedian Amy Schumer nearly naked. On social media, Schumer shared the shot alongside sentiments that speak to this larger atmosphere of judgment surrounding the female form: "Beautiful, gross, strong, thin, fat, pretty, ugly, sexy, disgusting, flawless, woman. Thank you @annieleibovitz."
Other female celebrities are fighting against this trend of unsolicited judgment by utilizing social media to showcase the hard work that actually goes into getting a fit body by sharing gym selfies and pictures of defined muscle. Pop star and fashion designer Jessica Simpson, who herself has been the talk of many a tabloid regarding her weight, recently released promotional photos for her new line of activewear by showcasing her strong quads and calf muscles. Saturating the media with images of strong women working hard or women embracing their curves is a bold first step toward pushing back against Hollywood's often unrealistic standards of beauty and weight.
Of course, for every Amy Poehler's Smart Girls, which celebrates all girls for all the things, there will be an Operation Harpoon to bring us back to reality. For every Jennifer Lawrence, there will be this guy riding your train. But perhaps taking these little steps forward with calendars and honest, untouched photographs will eventually lead to a Hollywood where Princess Leia can have some meat on her bones without hearing it from the critics.
What do you think? Are today's actresses making strides toward a more body-positive atmosphere or will some things never change?
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