On Sunday Gwen Stefani shared a sweet photo of her getting Sting's autograph back in 1983. What wasn't so sweet was the caption "chunky me 1983" that she attached to the photo. Every time a slim celebrity calls themselves fat a little part of me dies and I'm not the only one who feels this way. "Please don't call yourself chunky. Too many girls and women look up to you for you to talk like that," one Twitter user replied to the photo. Another said, "that's chunky? I hope no one bigger then a size what 6, 8?? is reading this."
Stefani is definitely not chunky in the photo. If anything she's just wearing an unfortunate sweater, but wasn't everyone in the '80s? She's not the first celebrity to lambast themselves over their own weight. Another notable celebrity who's been critical of her body is everyone's favorite Jennifer Lawrence.
Lawrence is often lauded for her real-girl attributes among them confessing to liking junk food, and standing up to producers when they told her to lose weight for her Hunger Games role. "I don’t want little girls to be like, ‘Oh, I want to look like Katniss, so I’m going to skip dinner,’" Lawrence said. While this is definitely an important stand to take, it feels less sincere when she also talks about her own perceptions of her body:
“I’m considered a fat actress. I’m Val Kilmer in that one picture on the beach.”
“In Hollywood, I’m obese.”
“I’ll be the only actress who doesn’t have anorexia rumors.”
"I'd rather look chubby on screen and like a person in real life."
But here's the dealio J. Law, you're never gonna look fat. Yes, Hollywood directors may be assholes and ask you to diet, but to the public, to the girls who look up to you? You look amazing. You look slim and trim and all those words for skinny. So for an actress like Lawrence or a musician like Gwen Stefani to call themselves anything else is dishonest, but more importantly disheartening. If the girls who look up to these strong public figures have a body that's any larger than these two women, they're going to feel fat and they're going to feel that way not only because society is telling them so, but because of the words out of these two ladies' own mouths.
24 million people in America suffer from eating disorders and it certainly doesn't help when your idols are shaming their own bodies. I understand their urge to preempt any negative comments about their weight by calling attention to it themselves. It's as if they feel that if they acknowledge their flaws before the media does, they're winning somehow. And in all actuality, their perception of their bodies isn't exactly that different from the normal woman's — sadly, it's rare a week goes by without hearing a friend talk about her fat jeans, or her chunky things, or her arms that "need toning" but celebrities need to remember that their words trickle down to their fans who may take them too much to heart.
Nobody wants to be body-shamed by those they look up to. Jennifer Lawrence had it right when she said, "It should be illegal to call somebody fat on TV." Yes, J. Law, it should be. But why can't it start with you?