When a Double Standard is Debatable

This is my latest post over at WeAretheRealDeal.com. I haven’t been blogging much here or there … but saw this article and wanted to address it. You can read it here or after the jump.

What is it about us women that as soon as we’re the ones to lose weight, we’re able to look at other women and say, “Love yourself as you are”?

I bring this up today after reading this recent People.com article about Jennifer Love Hewitt who, in 2007, was ripped apart for her fuller figure.

She claimed at the time she didn’t care and loved herself as she was and basically encouraged women to not give into pressure … but then a few months later was gracing the cover of the celeb rags wearing a skimpy bikini. Clearly, loving herself as she was meant making a change. And now she’s out there once again encouraging girls to “love how they look.”

Now someone else might be four times Jennifer’s size and love herself exactly as she is – more power to her!

But here’s the thing (and those in the fat acceptance movement will likely disagree with me here) I don’t resent her for wanting to lose weight or get healthier or whatever she claimed she was doing, if she was doing it for herself – not in the slightest. I think we should all be empowered to take the best care of our bodies as we can! I know I wouldn’t be comfortable with myself if I wasn’t taking good care of my body–working out, eating right.

But it does seem like a double-standard to say “love yourself as you are” and then to go and lose a ton of weight and preach how you love your body and want other women to love theirs.

Or does it?

I question it only because I know from my own experience that I didn’t genuinely love my body before losing weight – and then after losing weight, I suddenly felt great about myself. Like Jennifer on her crusade, I wanted to share those vibes with everyone – encouraging them to love themselves, too. It was a lot easier to love myself when I had lost weight – in my mind, it meant I was loving my body and taking care of my body … obsessing, yes, but in my head, it was for the right reasons.

At the time, I was 25 and vowed to stay thin at all costs … and that led to disordered eating issues and over-exercising and a whole host of other negatives that, in the end, resulted in me seeking out therapy and beginning my blog.

While I’d say I’m 95 percent recovered today (I still sometimes have negative body image thoughts) I HAVE gained weight (about half of what I lost five years ago) — yet I still feel empowered and want to continue to spread that “love your body” message because, to me, loving my body means accepting it as it is now … in the here and now.

And maybe Jennifer understands that too? Maybe we need to give her more credit? While I admit it was initially frustrating to read this article about Jennifer … I also understood her position.

Let’s be honest here. I think it’s always easier to tell someone how they too can take XYZ va-k (when you have plenty of disposable income), how they too can cook like a master chef (when you had culinary training), how they too can run a marathon (when you’ve done it yourself). It’s meant to be encouraging … we just need to be cognizant of the nature of the advice.

My only hope is that Jennifer’s ultimate message (a good one about self-acceptance) won’t be overshadowed by speculation about the size of the bikini she’s rocking.

How about you? Do you think Jennifer Love Hewett is sending mixed messages with her actions compared to her words?


One thought on “When a Double Standard is Debatable

  1. This is why I never want to be famous. 🙂

    I think that if you are super-famous and the tabloids scrutinize your weight, you have to respond to it in a positive way and say that you love your body (otherwise, how else are you going to respond – certainly not by saying “yes, you’re right – I’m fat.”) But the reality is, nobody takes that kind of criticism positively, even if they say they do, so of course JLH or Jessica Simpson or whoever is going to want to lose weight after hearing comments like that. Who wouldn’t? I have no issue with that because I understand it…my issue is when they promote their weight loss in articles, magazine covers, etc. after being on a high horse about loving their curvy body.

    Personally, I don’t like it when people say things to me like “you look skinny” or “have you lost weight?” It makes me really uncomfortable. I hate the idea of co-workers and such scrutinizing my body, and plus, what if I gain the weight back? Will they notice that, too? So when I do lose a few pounds, I actually do my best to *hide* it so I can avoid comments like that. I’m sure that puts me in the minority!

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