Milla Jovovich had a lot to say about weight in a recent Net-a-Porter profile. The actress and model admits to being 15 pounds lighter last year after going on an all-liquid diet to prepare for a Vogue Paris cover shoot. Jovovich's nonchalance about gaining the weight back is refreshing, I guess. But she offers up one of my least favorite reasons for why women should be cool with a few extra pounds: Because men like it better!
"I lost the weight but, to be honest, when I looked at pictures of myself — not in a magazine, in real life — I felt I looked older," said Jovovich. (There is some research showing that thinner women are perceived as looking older than larger counterparts.) "I always notice guys are more attentive when you have a little weight on you," Jovovich added.
"My husband always loves it. [He says]: ‘Your boobs! Your arse looks amazing!’”
I'm glad Jovovich's husband (director Paul W.S. Anderson) makes her feel good about "having a little weight" on her. And despite fashion's fascination with underweight women, it's true most men don't have quite such strict standards. Yes, in fact, a lot of them will profess to prefer women with "a little extra meat" on them (as it's so often awfully described). To wrinkle their noses at women who are "too skinny." To admire the "real women" with their curves.
The danger — with men making these kinds of statements or with women endorsing them — is that it can create an aura of faux body-positivity. Ladies, you don't have to be stick thin to be hot! ... you just have to be the perfect amount of thin. Please fall precisely within this ever-changing threshold for appropriate body size, thanks. Too far one way or the other and you might be — gasp — marginally less attractive to the male population at large. And we all know a woman's goal should be to physically appeal to the largest number of men possible at all times.
We're supposed to worry about finding this perfect sweet spot of being not-fat but also not-too-skinny. Screw that. I know Jovovich was probably just trying to be positive, but I wish we could talk about women's bodies without always referencing men. I want a world where women aren't going on all-liquid diets to achieve some artificial measure of thinness — but where naturally thin women aren't put-down for their sizes, either. Where men's attention isn't predicated on a woman's weight, and women's ideal weights aren't so reliant on what makes guys "more attentive."