Jessica Simpson Dishes on Body Image

Photo: Glamour.com
Photo: Glamour.com

I loved Jessica Simpson when she first stepped onto the scene; she was different than the other bubble-gum pop singers and the pipes she had just blew me away.

I loved her show Newlyweds, and some of her songs define my college experience with my girlfriends (“I Think I’m in Love,” for example, was our song, played at all our weddings in honor of the great guys we all ended up finding senior year of college).

And despite coming off at times like a ditzy chic, she has a strong business sense and has really done well with her shoes/clothing lines, even if her acting abilities haven’t been the best.

Over the years, she’s one of those celebrities we’ve seen torn to shreds for her weight “ups and downs.” Criticized left and right. Brandished one week; fawned over the next.

The pressures of celebrity are great; there’s no denying that. One could argue she did it to herself, by being so accessible … but she’s always struck me as someone very real.

Very honest. Someone you could be friends with, because she knows what it’s like to be a average girl as much as she knows how to be a paparazzi-ducking celebrity.

In a truly candid interview with Glamour, Jessica opens up on body image and the notion of beauty. She seems to have a very realistic outlook on her body, and it was refreshing to hear her admit that yes, her weight fluctuates and no, it’s not a crisis. Check out an excerpt here:

GLAMOUR: I understand your new TV show (The Price of Beauty) is about what women all over the world do for beauty.

JS:
I fell in love with the idea when it was presented to me. They said, “You were the first person who came to mind. We know the scrutiny you’ve been under, and we see the strong woman you’ve become.” I thought, Wow, there are people out there who aren’t thinking I’m on magazine covers just because my weight fluctuates.

GLAMOUR: So on the show, you’ll travel around the world and observe what’s considered beautiful in different cultures and why?

JS: Yes, whether wearing rings to elongate your neck in Thailand or having plastic surgery in Brazil, women all over the world go to [great] lengths to feel beautiful. It’s not fair that women look in the mirror and feel disgust because of what society has made them believe. I’ve been through it myself, and understand the pressures. We’re all facing the same struggles together, whether you’re a celebrity or not.

GLAMOUR: So you plan to draw on your own experiences?

JS: Yes. When I was young, I would look at magazines and feel a lot of pressure. As a child of 12, I would write things in my journal like, “I’m lying here and all I can think about is that my stomach is hanging over my underwear.” That disturbs me even today! I was always disconnected from myself; there was this idea of perfection I couldn’t ever get to. But all women struggle with insecurity, and we all have something we don’t like about ourselves.

GLAMOUR: And you’ve dealt with a lot of unfair media criticism [about your weight] in past months. How have you been feeling about that?

JS: I absolutely, 100 percent do not agree with how the media has made everyone [body] obsessed. And they do have the power to do it. Celebrities aren’t perfect. It’s amazing to me how much thought is put into a woman’s figure on tabloid covers.

GLAMOUR: What do you hope women will get out of watching a show like this? (her new show, The Price of Beauty)

JS: No matter how much money you spend to make yourself beautiful—with all the products, the diets, the plastic surgery—in the end, women need to fall in love with themselves and realize they’re beautifully and wonderfully made. There is no “perfect” you. It will be interesting for women to see how self-obsessed we’ve become.

You can read the rest of the interview here.

How about you? Thoughts? Do you think a show like Jessica’s will fuel our nation’s body obsession or raise awareness at just how out of hand things have gotten?

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16 thoughts on “Jessica Simpson Dishes on Body Image

  1. Thanks for posting this, Melissa. I probably won’t get to read the issue so I appreciate it.
    I think the show has potential to affect people but I worry that they won’t take Jessica seriously enough to get to the meat of the show. It will be intersting to see, both the show and how people respond.

  2. No prob, Lara!! 🙂

    I know, she has created the whole (pardon me for saying this) “dumb blond” persona for herself and it could work against her. She’s a savvy business-woman, but that could be overshadowed because she’s not taken seriously.

  3. I hate that she gets such a bad rap from the media. I personally love Jessica Simpson because she has to be a really strong person for being in the spotlight all the time. She’s raised more awareness on how obsessed our society is with weight. Leave her alone, I say and get on with it.

  4. I was going to post something quite different about the whole jessica phenomenon. I don`t blame her for any of it. I do believe though that she likely eats emotionally then goes on a diet. I would guess she is bingeing. Sorry Jessica. Her weight fluctuates so much. I have a feeling she does not love herself and I hope that she finds that through this show. Clearly I have the same issue I think she has and I wouldn`t wish it on anyone else. I guess it just bothers me when she has some new diet, and is super skinny again. It`s not setting a good example but she doesn`t have to be one just because she`s a celebrity. I just worry about how it affects the rest of us. Like when she was on Dukes of Hazard and worked out 5 hours a day. It bothered me that she was explaining to people that that`s how you get that body. I do admit though, that I am skewed by the tabloids who put together fake interviews half the time. LIke an article about how she got in shape isn`t necessarily one she interviewed for. There really isn`t anything about her that bothers me. I just hope she`s at least working on having a better relationship with herself because it doesn`t seem like she does.
    I think it`s easy to be mad at her when she goes on another diet and gets in shape. Mostly because I wish I had that ability but because of my disordered past I`m scared I will go overboard if I even try.

    1. Interesting point, Susie, and a good one. I don’t like how she gets super-skinny either, for roles, etc. But I do like how she admits she’s human and fluctuates. Obviously, she’d be safer/healthier without the extremes. I, too, hope she’s working on a better relationship with herself. Ultimately, that’s the one that counts the most.

  5. I will be honest….I’ve never really liked JS up until recently. I think it was part of what Susie said, it really bothered me when she got SUPER thin for Dukes of Hazzard, because I’d always admired her for her curves. And I really didn’t like that she thought it was “cute” to be an airhead.

    But recently I will say that I have a new found respect for her. (Maaaaybe partly because she’s my age and a single girl, too). 🙂 I mean, I cannot IMAGINE being ridiculed and made fun of like she is for her weight. Sure, she’s made some poor clothing choices, but is she “Fat” like the tabloids say? No! What I love about her is that, even though these things are being said, she’s made a stand and said, “this is who I am.” I really hope she doesn’t feel like she “has to” go on another diet (like Susie said) to be accepted.

    As far as the show goes, I hope it gets the message across that she’s hoping. I do think she is a great person to do something like this, although I hope she is taken more seriously – maybe this is her shot?

    1. I always loved her curves, too, Holly. I think she’s beautiful. I do agree, that it’s good she says “This is who I am, take me or leave me.” But I also hope she doesn’t crash diet. She looked painfully thin in that Glamour article, even in the photo I chose. But with Photochop …(yes, “chop”) you never know what’s real.

      I hope this is her shot — I like her a lot! “I Wanna Love You Forever” is like the most awesome song 🙂

  6. That`s the thing, she`s skinny again after all that ridicule. It obviously affects her. Same with Jennifer love hewitt. It`s great that they say: this is who I am, but I don`t think even they feel like they are good enough. That`s not the part that bugs me though. What bothers me is that clearly we are plagued by poor body image and it`s a select few that have the guts to admit it. (I don`t know if I would either). I guess I just want one of the gorgeous celebrities to say: I am disordered. And then NOT go back to disordered behaviour a la Stephanie Pratt. I realize this is totally ridiculous. Who am I to say they should stop being disordered.. I have been working on it for how long now?
    I can`t help but think-every time I see jessica, or melissa joan hart or whoever saying: look at me, I`m skinny again- that it`s all just different sides of the same coin. I could be skinny again if I wanted to continue disordered behaviour. I still overeat, but I do it less and less, and starving myself is not going to solve that, although I would be smaller. I guess when I see that it all comes back to my envy that they `get to` continue to be disordered and I don`t. I still struggle.

  7. I see what you mean, Susie — she is giving into pressure by getting thin again … and you know that they’re not any healthier for those swings/fluctuations … I wouldn’t want to be slimmer at the cost of what they go through … no thanks!!! In the end, you’re better off for not buying into the hype and sticking to your non-disordered ways.

  8. This is why I love actresses like America Ferrara as role models for young girls. She maintains her weight and looks healthy and happy.

    While I like Jessica Simpson and the other young stars out there, they gain a tad of weight and are unfairly labeled “fat” and then Boom! they go on crash diets and lose wight quickly and are suddenly the media darling again. Ugh! What kind of message is this sending to an entire generation of girls???!

  9. oh i love reality tv (what! it’s my guilty pleasure)…and i love the idea of this show. struggling with body issues is a global phenomenon so i like that the show will be highlight the experiences of people all over.

    that underwear comment is so on point. i always dread when i started to gain weight and my underwear starts to roll under my belly. 😦 awful feeling.

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