Octavia Spencer: “The weight obsessed media is destroying not only us but our children”


Octavia Spencer just posted to Facebook one of the most thoughtful missives on weight and body image that I’ve read from a celebrity. I really appreciated both what she had to say and how she came across. Lately Octavia has been making headlines for some quotes about her weight. Right after Octavia won the SAG, People ran a story with the headline “Octavia Spencer: My Weight Is ‘Not Healthy’.” Then we heard that she admitted to wearing three pairs of Spanx under her SAGs outfit. Well in this latest essay, Octavia makes it clear that she was asked these questions by journalists, that she answered them honestly, and that she finds them a little sexist. What’s more is that she’s perfectly happy with her body and wants to convey that message to everyone, particularly young people who may be influenced by a media obsessed with weight and body image.

After being honored by my Guild on Sunday, I was whisked to the Press Room where one of the first questions I was asked (by Ted Casablanca) was ‘what I felt about underweight women’. (i’m paraphrasing here) I’m thinking….this is relevant because… Then I started thinking, would these questions ever be asked of my male counterparts? Better yet, underweight actors or actresses? Nah, I don’t think so!

Anyway, I answer: “Women would be alot happier if they ate…However, it is society that has told them and continues to tell them that you are less valued if you are of a certain age, or weight…something has to change. ” I began that by addressing my own weight issue..”Granted I’m not at the healthiest weight because when you are heavier around the middle…” blah blah blah. YOu get it. The next thing I read, Octavia Spencer is WORRIED ABOUT HER WEIGHT…. OCTAVIA SPENCER FEELS SHE IS LESS VALUED BECAUSE OF HER WEIGHT…

Of course I was miffed that not only was I being misrepresented, but it was sending THE WRONG MESSAGE to kids out there.

So, I decided to tell you IN MY OWN DAMNED WORDS the truth! First of all, Ladies and Gents here’s what i am NOT DOING….I am NOT WORRYING ABOUT MY WEIGHT! I AM NOT TRYING TO CONFORM TO an unrealistic model of beauty.

I AM however being proactive in being the healthiest I can be. And before you ask, NO, awards season is not the reason. I’ve been doing this for the past 10 years because it took that long to gain the weight! Right now, believe it or not, I’m pretty damn healthy! 20 LBS (max) is all I intend to lose.

Now hopefully having cleared up the constantly tweeted, and blogged about “I am less valuable because of my weight” MISQUOTES attributed to me, I want to touch on the real issue here. The weight obsessed media is destroying not only us but our children! Our culture is at the precipice of redifining who we are. Right now in this salacious age of the internet coupled with the “beauty and fashion” industries respectively ONLY promoting a “certain” kind of pretty, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in bullying, eating disorders and body dysmorphia among MALE and female teens. This is no joking matter.

Here’s what I will leave you with: Be happy in your own skin. If you are unhealthy start by making small changes to become healthier. You are unique, beautiful, and worthy. Last but certainly not least, don’t buy into any of it. AND I MEAN LITERALLY! I don’t buy magazines that don’t feature women who represent my physicality or varying ethicities on their cover because they are saying, YOU DON’T MATTER TO ME…YOU ARE NOT MY DEMOGRAPHIC. To that I say, good, that’s $35 a week I can save!

God bless!

[From Facebook via Huffington Post]

I love her! I really needed to hear this too, because I’ve gained a little weight and I obsess about it. I don’t know if I blame the media for this issue, but they do perpetuate it. I think that so many people, especially women, think about their weight and size constantly that it just tends to get more media coverage because that’s what we want to talk about. Is that the media’s issue because we’re bombarded with images of women who are very thin and fit, or is that our issue because we strive for an ideal that’s hard to achieve? It’s a feedback loop that’s hard to piece apart. It’s just nice to hear a celebrity say that they’re fine with how they are, that they’re worthy, and that we are too, even if we’re don’t look like the women on those magazines. Even the women on those magazines don’t look like that, though.

photo credit: WENN.com

 

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102 Responses to “Octavia Spencer: “The weight obsessed media is destroying not only us but our children””

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  1. whatthehell456 says:

    Good for her! A nice breath of fresh air :)

    • originalone says:

      With all due respect, although I understand what Octavia is trying to say, and there is no correct way of saying it, it’s really the eating the total amount of calories per day, that is the equivalent amount of calories that could help keep off starvation for a whole family for a whole week in a third-world country, that is ridiculous.

      There has to be a middle ground somewhere. Wish not only magazines would put up more natural-looking women on their covers, and inside their pages. But also to stop the ridiculous notion that big is beautiful. Healthy is beautiful, no matter how big or small you are. Eating in one serving, the amount of food that could save a third-world child from hunger for a full week, is just not beautiful, or healthy.

      And Btw, I’ve seen Ms. Octabia in person, and she is not big at all. The damn camera makes her angles look fuller!

  2. ladybert62 says:

    Good for her – and I like that lavender dress.

  3. Lisa says:

    “Here’s what I will leave you with: Be happy in your own skin. If you are unhealthy start by making small changes to become healthier. You are unique, beautiful, and worthy. Last but certainly not least, don’t buy into any of it. AND I MEAN LITERALLY! I don’t buy magazines that don’t feature women who represent my physicality or varying ethicities on their cover because they are saying, YOU DON’T MATTER TO ME…YOU ARE NOT MY DEMOGRAPHIC. To that I say, good, that’s $35 a week I can save!

    God bless!”

    Well…there’s NOTHING more for me to add…except this…

    I LOVE ME SOME OCTAVIA!!!

  4. Findley says:

    She is a talented actress–and beautiful too.

  5. Oi says:

    I really really realllly appreciate that she doesn’t try to gloss over this health side of weight. I feel like too many of the “weight defenders” do. And that’s not right either.

    Also really like it that she makes a point about eating disorders and body image problems with men that are on the rise. She is absolutely right, it is no laughing matter. I have seen too many women brush it off like women are the only ones who can have these problems. That only makes it worse.

    And I can proudly say that my mom gave me the same bit of closing advice when I was about 12, and I have never once regretted it.

    She damned well better win an Oscar! Lots of love!

    Edit: Ted C can drop dead. He hates women. I wish actresses and actors would start boycotting him and E! (stupid ! can die in a digital fire as well).

    • normades says:

      “I really really realllly appreciate that she doesn’t try to gloss over this health side of weight. I feel like too many of the “weight defenders” do. And that’s not right either.”

      Great point. I hate when people defend being overweight as “curvy” or “helthy”. Being stick thin is not good for your health, but carrying around extra pounds isn’t either.

      We all need to eat healthy. Period. Foods that are unprocessed and closet to their natural state as possible.

      I love Octavia and think she’s been the consistently best dressed actress this awards season. And I loooove that she calls out Ted :-)

  6. Gine says:

    She’s great! And wow, that teal dress is gorgeous on her.

    Also, ugh, Ted Casablanca. Shut up.

  7. yaa says:

    excellent.i realy love this woman

  8. Alecia Murphy says:

    I am glad she is decidedly standing up for people who previously didn’t have a voice. This is great!

  9. Amy says:

    I love when people call out Ted Casablancas. He’s obnoxious.

  10. The Original Mia says:

    Great message. Classy woman. Loved her calling out Ted. Troll.

  11. heatheradair says:

    I was prepared to get a little self-righteous about whatever she said…..until I read it: and it was precisely the tone I hoped she’d take.

    YES, we have an obesity epidemic on our hands, and no amount of “self-acceptance” is going to make heart disease and diabetes and metabolic disorder disappear. HOWEVER — an inappropriate swing in the opposite direction that valorizes only the non-eating underweight is not the solution.

    Finding healthy, active, happy, self-confident role models for our kids, and re-inforcing what’s positive about ourselves as we work to be the healthiest we can be — THAT’S a better option. Michelle Obama comes to mind here, actually……

    And she nailed that sentiment.

    And she’s also absolutely right: it IS a sexist question to pose (but, face it, Hollywood is a sexist machine).

    Well said, O. Well said.

  12. Holly:) says:

    I didn’t really know who she was until a few days ago, but now, I love her. I am too a large person and I get called all sorts, but I am happy with the way I look and I don’t let anyone bother me.
    WAY TO GO OCTAVIA SPENCER.

  13. Lis says:

    I like this, although it’s a little “after school special” for me.

    I mostly work with morbidly obese patients, and I’m becoming more and more convinced (though reading and experience in work) that (1) being fat is not automatically bad, (2) losing weight is not automatically good and (3) maintaining dramatic weight loss is impossible for most people.

    Most people will be helped by just living healthily and letting their body decide on what weight to be. If you lose weight, your body – specifically your endocrine system – will spend the rest of your life trying to make you regain it. The more you lose, the more severe the effect.

    However, the biggest problem I have with size shaming (it’s mostly against fat people, but I’ve seen thin and average sizes people suffer too) is that it’s just plain rude.

    People (we’re mostly talking about women here, aren’t we?) should be able to decide what they put in their own bodies. Parents should be able to feed their children as they see fit. People who have lost 10-20 lbs should not tell others that it’s easy to lose 100+. And other peoples’ health is no elses’ business.

    Before anyone asks: no, I’m not fat myself. I’m just sick of the attacks against science and against bodily autonomy.

    And I’m always stunned that the same people vociferously defending women’s rights to abortion always seem to lose that focus when it comes to food. If I have the right to decide what I do to my body, that extends to diet and exercise.

    I’m also sick of govts sticking their noses into what people weigh and/or eat. Michelle Obama needs to stop being an interfering old bag, and the govts need to focus on things like border control, defence…I think the economy might need a teensy weensy bit of attention as well.

    Come to think of it, that’s probably why they’re focusing on what people eat. They can’t solve anything that matters and they need to be seen to do something.

    *gets off soapbox*

    • heatheradair says:

      well-put.

      and “bodily autonomy” is a GREAT phrase – ! :)

    • Oi says:

      “f you lose weight, your body – specifically your endocrine system – will spend the rest of your life trying to make you regain it. The more you lose, the more severe the effect.”

      Do you have some scientific back up for that, or can you elaborate on it? Because in my personal weight loss experience the polar opposite is true. A healthy, functioning body backed by a healthy diet tries to maintain a healthy weight not gain previous pounds back.

      • Lis says:

        “A healthy, functioning body backed by a healthy diet tries to maintain a healthy weight not gain previous pounds back.”

        Far be it for me to contradict your experience, but there is a lot wrong with this. May I ask how much you lost? Because, unless it was significant and above all maintained, it’s not really pertinent to the discussion.

        I firmly believe that “healthy weight” is different for everyone. Also, what weight your body decides to maintain with ease naturally differs from person to person.

        For instance, primate experiments have found that, even with forcefeeding, only 60% of the subjects will gain significant weight:

        http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/20/health/20monkey.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all

        Also, most people will regain their weight because their body decides that it needs to regain it. People naturally have a set weight, determined by both genetics and environment.

        http://justmaintaining.com/2010/10/25/more-on-binges-a-digression/

        http://justmaintaining.com/2011/06/15/an-open-letter-to-weight-management-scientists/

        http://www.drsharma.ca/obesitywhy-is-it-so-hard-to-maintain-a-reduced-body-weight.html

        Maintaining weight loss means constantly fighting your endocrine system. It’s possible, but it’s essentially an extra job for the rest of your life.

      • Oi says:

        Ok, wait a second here. You are citing a blog. Granted, it looks like the lady running it has a lot of good advice, and has obviously had a long and difficult journey but as far as I could tell she’s just one person stating her own observations and opinions. That’s not a great help to your argument.

        Second, I think the problem here is miscommunication. You were talking about obese/morbidly obese people. I was talking about weight loss in general. There are significant differences, as the last article you cited states. It has been proven that obesity affects the body for years, if it ever goes away at all. I’m not disagreeing at all with the fact that keeping obesity weight off is hard. But not everyone who has lost weight was obese, or has problems with their endocrine system ( which is the group that I was initially talking about):

        http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Obesity_and_hormones?open

        most people who simply need to lose 20 lbs have any of these symptoms.

        And I’m not entirely sure what the point of the primates article was. That actually supports my argument because over half of them gained significant amounts of weight when they were overfed. A lot gained some, but very few gained nothing. They were )presumably) healthy. Over eating isn’t healthy. That’s how it works. Eating more than you burn=gain.

    • Shay Kay says:

      What’s that you hear? The sound of APPLAUSE ….and now a STANDING OVATION.
      My heart breaks when my 7 years old girl says “I’m fat and I’m ugly!Don’t deny it!” I went through the same thing with my 12 years old son who is just now concious on how to control his weight. I am not overweight but I was as a child, I pack healthy lunches, and I cook healthy (most of the time), and I banned sugar filled drinks and snacks. I have failed in making sure they get enough physical exercise consisently. Heaven help me, help them. Unfortunately no matter how intelligent, outgoing, and personable my children are they will be judged on their weight by their peers and their self-esteem is effected. The same cannot be said for being “too thin” as most young ladies have already gotten the message that “You can’t be too thin.”

    • lucy2 says:

      I agree with most of that, but I disagree that it’s “interfering” to try to improve school provided lunches and teach kids more about nutrition and making healthier choices.
      If parents want to pack their kids Twinkies and bologna, so be it that’s their choice, but if the school lunches can be better, why not try, especially since for some kids that’s the best meal they get all day.

      • Rachel says:

        My thoughts exactly. I know school breakfast and lunches may be the only meals some children get a day. I would prefer those meals to be healthy, wholesome food. If parents want to pack their child’s lunch, I would hope they’d pack healthy meals, but they can pack whatever they want. I know when I was in school, my Little Debbie snack cake was the best part of my day.

        Lis thanks for mentioning that size shaming goes both ways. I am on the thin side of the spectrum (I prefer thin to skinny), and I often feel shamed when people make nasty comments about “skinny” people.

    • MissyA says:

      I agree that it *isn’t* the job of the government to dictate what and how much its citizens eat. . . BUT Americans are experiencing an OBESITY EPIDEMIC. And that epidemic affects everything from our health care system, to the quality of our children’s education.

      So I don’t think it’s out of line that Michelle tells us to cram more fruit and veggies down our collective cram-holes. I think it’s shameful that, as a nation, we NEED to be told that fresh produce is good for us. Very, very shameful.

      On topic – I really like Octavia’s perspective. I think once individuals begin to embrace how awesome their bodies are, the more comfortable they’ll be in their own skin. Comfort exudes confidence. Confidence creates possibilities. Possibilities are new experiences!

      • Lis says:

        “BUT Americans are experiencing an OBESITY EPIDEMIC.”

        Untrue. The average American is 19lbs heavier. It’s hardly “lifting them out of the house in a crane” time:

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/25/20-pounds-heavier-americans-weight_n_1110883.html

        Considering that the population is both older and less white (coloured people tend to be heavier), I’m really not that worried.

        “I think it’s shameful that, as a nation, we NEED to be told that fresh produce is good for us…”

        But you don’t NEED to be told. People know, and make choices to eat what they want.

        I am SO, SO, SO sick of this idea that, unless we’re doing as we’re told, we kuh-LEER-lee don’t know what’s going on.

        Consider, for one second, that people know and simple choose other options.

      • Oi says:

        @Lis: Totally disagree. There are a good number of people out there that DON’T know how to eat healthy. That is actually a very real problem. Its great that you do, but many quite seriously do not. We don’t need a nanny state, but nutrition education in western cultures is pathetic.

      • lucy2 says:

        Agree, Oi. There are still people who really don’t have a clue.
        There was just a story the other day about a 17 year old, with a mother, in the UK who has eaten little besides chicken nuggets her whole life. She was hospitalized, BTW.
        I also read a great article once about one of those urban farming charities (called Growing Power, just found the info), and they described how in once of the areas they went into, most of the people only had access to convenience stores and fast food.

    • Jules says:

      Wow, I was with you there until you had to cross the line and go after Michelle Obama.
      “Old bag”…really?
      There really is nothing wrong with suggesting that schools, which get gov’t funding for the meals they serve, try to make sure those meals are healthy.

    • ali says:

      Nice words Lis – and very very true –
      it sickens me how okay people are with being fatist -

  14. maemay says:

    What i like about Octavia is that she shows off her curves instead of wearing moomoos. She has a great shape and while over the HW standard weight she always looks great.

    Why are WOC only asked about weight issues and not the girl from Bridesmaids. Noone is trying to rain on her parade with weight bait questions and Octavia is not even as big as her.

  15. Tapioca says:

    Oh dear!

    Obesity will kill “our children” before anorexia/bulemia ever will.

    The current generation of kids is the first that’s expected to die younger than their parents because they eat nothing but cr*p and don’t exercise. Obese youngsters need encouragement to live long, healthy, active lives, not to be told that it’s normal to be breathless, diabetic and prematurely dead. If you think bullying hurts in High School, try living with sleep apnoea, oedema, arthritic knees and lower-limb amputation in middle age!

    Eating disorders are a symptom of an underlying mental issue and often the only form of control a sufferer feels they have. No-one looks at SJP or Angie Jo or Demi and decides they want to look like a skeleton, and blaming the media’s representation of thinness for EDs is short-sighted, simplistic and insulting to people living with those conditions.

    *rant over*

    • aang says:

      my 13 yo suffers from anorexia and while it is a manifestation of her anxiety disorder it is made much worse by the media and “science” about food. she is afraid of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease because a neurotic kid can’t take all the hysteria with a grain of salt. add the unrealistic standard of beauty to that and you’ve got a mess. the thinner she got the more people would tell her how great she looked, she should be a model, they would kill for her figure, etc. she was starving and the world told her that she looked better than ever. (she was never near heavy to begin with) giant eyes, sunken cheeks, protruding hip bones. she looked like she belonged on the cover of any fashion magazine. or in a concentration camp. we live in a sick world that is killing our girls with lies.

    • Jane says:

      I absolutely agree with Tapioca! As a young person today I do not feel pressure from the media to be thin. I am petite and feel more pressure from the advertisers trying to push all kinds of low cost processed foods that will raise my risk of diabetes and heart disease. Obesity is a main issue in many developed countries today. There are barely any eye popping statistics such as 2/3 of USA are overweight in relation to eating disorders. We need to be promoting healthy foods and the need to have the correct BMIs for your height.

    • rachael says:

      Bravo! 100% agreement. I am so sick of unhealthy obesity being the new “protected” class of people. It’s not acceptable, it’s unhealthy and sick… Does anyone else feel this way?

  16. Happy21 says:

    Yes, Yes, Yes!

    This is how I try to live my life.

    I think its always good to be conscious of your body and what you are putting in and what you are taking out (exercise) but I don’t think its healthy to obsess about being a certain weight or mold of what beautiful, sexy or hot is. If you can love yourself, the world will see that and you will feel great about yourself forever.

    However, I do have a problem with curvy being really heavy. Curvy is curves. A bit of softness but not fat. For example, Melissa McCarthy (I do love her) is not curvy. She is a heavy woman. I have a couple of friends who are overweight, probably almost obese who are constantly posting shit on FB about how curvy is where its at, etc. Truth be told they eat like crap and they are lazy and don’t exercise. They are just making excuses for being fat. I dont’ agree with that.

    We need more celebs and people like Octavia to make young people understand that weight is not everything, beauty is only in the eye of the beholder and being a smart person is just as important. I don’t need my five year old neice telling her mum that she is fat and that she (the five year old) hopes she is never that fat. Why is a 5 year old even thinking about being fat??

    Scary society we live in. Something has to change.

  17. Whatever says:

    Amen Octavia! A friggin Men!

  18. Julia says:

    I agree with her but I am tired of the overwhelmingly blatant agressive ‘sack of bone’ skeleton and anoriexic looking offences in a country where 2 millions of citizens weigh 500+ lbs and where overweright related desesae still kill more than underweight related ones.

    There is in one side a cult of thin popele in magazines and a cult of pure insults and nasty attitude to belittle the ‘right target’ to belittle, dehumanize, dewomanize skinny women who are not REAL women in the blogosphere while the overweight ones are tolerated and never deprived of their womanhood.

    It’s a global problem and as a thin person i am sick of the pure vile insults thrown at thin women like they don’t deserve the same tolerance people will use in the blogosphere about chubby or overweight ones, even hesitating to call them ‘fat’ but having no problem to call a skinny type a sack of bones or a skelleton like they are the right target and don’t deserve the same tolerance.

    Until a woman will not be respected wathever her weight, until there will be the double standards in both the media who glorify skinniness and the blogosphere that love to degrade to no end those skinny women they even consider less than women, then the problem of image will persis in a sovciety that keeps on producing people who are becoming more overweight than underweight anyway.

    • Diana says:

      I understand what you’re saying, but no one hesitates to call someone fat, I’m sorry, but they don’t. I see it thrown around the internet by the minute. IMO, thin people don’t get it half as bad as overweight people. Its not even close.

      Its kind of like the idea of “reverse racism” in my mind. Sure it exists, sure it sucks but when compared to the other side, it doesn’t even compare.

      Skinny is “hot”. Overweight is “disgusting”. Its what I’ve been taught day after day. I agree, weight either way should not define a person.

      • Julia says:

        I don’t agree with her view about the most damaging to our kids in the US.

        Each period of time has seen the media glamourizing

      • Julia says:

        I don’t agree with her view about the most damaging to our kids in the US.

        Each period of time has seen the media glamourizing a certain type of body, from the overweight pale roman woman during the renaissance to the skinny type of today, through the more curvy in the 50′s.

        I understanbd that a celebrity will plead fdor her type to be more represented but I don”t agree the way they will attribute the biggest problem being about the media obsession with the nowaday type they glamourize “skinny types” in a country where the major problem is obesity, which according the latest data will touched 41% of all Americans withinthe next two years, where only one thiurd of adult have a normal BMI, where obesity is now running through pre pubered children !

        Obesity is the number one factor that damages children in the US not the media obsession with skinniness.

    • Lis says:

      “…where 2 millions of citizens weigh 500+ lbs…”

      Uh, you got a source for that?

      I agree that thin bashing is just as bad. I’ve been accused of being anorexic and, let me tell you, being accused of being mentally ill because of your weight is hurtful.

      But the fact remains that a woman won’t be respected whatever her weight until privacy, bodily autonomy and good ol’ fashioned minding your own business prevails.

      Even if you consider fatness to be entirely a product of free choice, the fact remains that every human being has the right to decide what to do with their own body. And sometimes that means they’ll be 500lbs, or 50lbs, or whatever.

      It’s like with free speech. It only becomes meaningful when we suck it up when people are saying or doing things we don’t like.

      Our health is none of the govt’s business. What we eat (and when, how, why and where) is no one’s business but our own. The same goes for exercise, or the lack thereof.

      We hang together, or we will all hang separately. If we don’t respect the autonomy of people, we are giving the govt the power to come into our lives.

      I’ll use the example I used before. If we are not mature/enlightened/wealthy/whatever enough to decide on our diets without the govt having the right to take note and interfere, why not with abortion? It’s all a matter of principle.

      • Julia says:

        There are plenty of sites, some of which official that treat about this problem in teh american society, including the dramatic surge of child obesity, trripling in the last 30 years.

        The 2 millions figure related to people weighing 5OO lbs was already said a few years back and was set into the morbidly obese cathegory.

        I tried to post some links but CB didn’t take it into account. So I will try to post this final link with those following data

        Latest Obesity Statistics:

        USA Obesity Rates Reach Epidemic Proportions

        58 Million Overweight;
        40 Million Obese;
        3 Million morbidly Obese
        Eight out of 10 over 25′s Overweight
        78% of American’s not meeting basic activity level recommendations
        25% completely Sedentary
        76% increase in Type II diabetes in adults 30-40 yrs old since 1990

        Obesity Related Diseases
        80% of type II diabetes related to obesity
        70% of Cardiovascular disease related to obesity
        42% breast and colon cancer diagnosed among obese individuals
        30% of gall bladder surgery related to obesity
        26% of obese people having high blood pressure

        Childhood Obesity Running Out of Control
        4% overweight 1982 | 16% overweight 1994
        25% of all white children overweight 2001
        33% African American and Hispanic children overweight 2001
        Hospital costs associated with childhood obesity rising from $35 Million (1979) to $127 Million (1999)
        ….

        http://www.annecollins.com/obesity/statistics-obesity.htm

  19. Scarlet Vixen says:

    I hate to be the naysayer here, because I agree with 99% of what she says wholeheartedly. But, someone who wears 3 sets of Spanx under an outfit doesn’t sound like someone who’s completely happy with her size and weight.

    I am someone who is technically at a healthy weight, but after having children really struggle with the composition of my body and massive feelings of imperfection. I have good days and bad days. But I’m honest about that, and know it’s a work in progress, and that while the media definitely plays a part in my feeling disgusting because I have cellulite and stretch marks and not enough muscle tone it’s ultimately my responsibility to make myself into my best self. But I’m also a grownup who recognizes that it’s not the end of the world if I don’t look like an air-brushed celebrity with a personal trainer–I really feel for the young people out there who haven’t yet realized that there are different kinds of beauty, and that what the media is selling isn’t really attainable.

  20. lucy2 says:

    What a dumbass question from Ted, no surprise. It is sexist, irrelevant, and inappropriate. This is a talented woman who just won a major award, and THAT’S what you ask? He’s a moron.

    I love her response to all this, focusing on health and personal happiness. She seems awesome, smart and confident, and I’m happy she’s putting her new-found attention to such good use.
    She has been rocking the red carpet too, she’s picked some fantastic dresses.

  21. ginger says:

    Great sentiments. I really think that too much emphasis is put on weight as an indicator of health. There are many things that go towards being a healthy individual, and to subjectively look at someones weight and judge really helps no one.

    Health is about eating well, being active and taking care of yourself, and from personal experience I can say this doesn’t always manifest itself in a certain number on a scale. That’s not to say that you can’t tell someone who’s morbidly obese or morbidly skinny, but whatever, that is their body, and their right. I wish the whole weight debate would go away because I don’t think obsessing about it leads to a healthy attitude towards weight in anyone.

  22. Ogechi says:

    I was a size 8 {still am} & the guy whom I was engaged to for 2years asked me to loose weight, I instantly broke d engagement. For heaven’s sake I have huge boobs & hips, so does he want me to lose those too? I wouldn’t allow any man to make me loose my self confidence. I am an African, our men prefer flesh & just because he reads these magazines\blogs, he forgets his root. I love Octavia Spencer & this article, thanks for making my evening.

  23. alice / jane says:

    One of my friend working in the fashion industry once said that the model of beauty imposed to women is in fact unrealistic, since the fashion world is ruled by gay men. Women in fashion are on purpose mold to resemble to what this people is majorly attracted to: prepubescent boys. No hips, no breast, no basic female features. I found that comment enlightening. We all obsess every day in vain to pursue an ideal image which do not belong to what women are biologically supposed to look like. This day by day conveyed illusion, boosted by Photoshop and the flawless stereotypes it creates, it has distorted the self-image and the self-confidence pillars to which todays’ women are pushed to lean to. Will that change someday?

    • Amandahugandkiss says:

      Uh, I don’t think this is true.
      1. Stop assuming gay men are attracted to pre-pubescent boys. That is not only ignorant, but incredibly offensive.
      2. Models are very thin (and always have been- check out the waists of models for Dior’s New Look) because clothes hang better and photograph better. That’s just the way it is. It isn’t realistic I know, but it is what it is.

      I do agree that the media is completely out of control in terms of weight obsession. I don’t see a way out unless people start organising and boycotting, pure and simple. Money sadly is the only way to get most things done these days.

      • TooManyJens says:

        “Models are very thin (and always have been- check out the waists of models for Dior’s New Look) because clothes hang better and photograph better.”

        Well, yeah, if they design clothes that hang best on extremely thin bodies, only people with extremely thin bodies will be able to make those clothes look good. There are other ways to design clothes, but nobody wants to be known as the designer whose clothes are worn by fat people (where “fat” apparently > size 4).

      • alice / jane says:

        @ amandah, I didn’t meant to be offensive and I was of course generalizing (it was like assuming that straight men are attracted to younger women). If it sounded ignorant or insulting, I do apologize.
        It’s true that models have always been thin so the clothes fit better, but I do really think that things went way overboard lately.

  24. hollah says:

    I’m trying to think of what magazines she must read besides “O”.

  25. Lynnie says:

    I want both the teal and lavender dresses! She looks great in them.

  26. kimberly says:

    I don’t agree with the media saying woman are fat when they are clearly not.

    I do agree that being over weight is not something to be proud of like some people may have you believe.

    It’s a case of unhealthy eating, soda/energy drink consuming, and packaged meal living. You can eat as many lean cuisines you want, but the fact is processed foods make you fat, even the ones that are “healthy”.

    If you want to lose weight, get back to basics and stop buying prepackaged foods. Stop drinking venti lattes and mochas you fat whores, then maybe I won’t have to hear all the people cry when spring comes and they’re still wearing sweaters.

    I hear so many people complain they don’t have the time; yet they are up to date on all the popular tv shows . . .priorities I guess . . . life choices are yours alone.

    • ginger says:

      Processed food does not make you fat, consuming more calories than you expend makes you fat. I have friends who manage to stay size 4-6 who exist on absolute rubbish. They manage it because they don’t eat a lot. Of course they’re not eating fresh fruit and vegetables either, but to look at you wouldn’t have a clue how terrible their diets are.

      • normades says:

        While you are correct in saying that if you eat very little, say a candy bar a day, you can loose weight because your caloric intake is so little.
        But processed foods are generally very high in carbs and if you eat a lot of it (which people generally do) they WILL make you fat and unhealthy.

  27. Zimmer says:

    I love her. She’s beautiful and more celebrities should think like her.

  28. MissyA says:

    I can’t comment on Liz’s response, so I’m doing so here.

    First of all, your source is sampling from an undisclosed number of participants who are self-reporting data. Big red flag.

    Secondly, while it’s helpful to see how individuals fare over time, it’s not relevant to the discussion at hand. What we need is an “apple to apple” comparison – a comparison of 18-25 yr olds in 1970 to 18-25 yr olds in 1990, ect – to get a true picture of demographic trends. Like such.

    http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.HTML

    That’s how demographers gather statistics around the world, and that’s how countries are able to compare relative data.

    And the data absolutely suggests that we are in an obesity crisis.

    As to needing to be told what to do, yeah I’m with you. It really pisses me off when people can’t apply common sense to everyday life. But part of that is endemic in our food culture. Corporations don’t want us to buy food that fuels our bodies, they want us to buy their crap. It’s obnoxious when I’m at my campus’s food court and I have to choose between a “red delicious” apple (bluck!) and an old brown banana – or McDonalds!

    So yeah, I get what you’re saying, and I fully agree. Many people choose to be willfully ignorant, and it sucks. And willful ignorance affects my choices, which sucks even harder. But I also don’t see the harm in having a role model (like Mrs Obama) reminding people that there are better options out there. Just my two cents. :)

  29. Julie says:

    Just because someone is “thin” doesnt mean they are healthy, especially the older ones – resembling a skeleton is one way to go – makes you look like you’re ready for your funeral ahead of time. If people would concentrate on “healthy” rather than a certain weight or shape, everyone would be better off. Im sure there are plenty of women who think demi moores diet of red bull and drugs made her look “amazing”. Im just tired of so much time being spent on this issue when there are so many other “important” things to deal with in this lifetime.

  30. Ruffian9 says:

    Brava Octavia! She is magnificent.

  31. Amanda G says:

    I really feel for Octavia, Adele, J.Hud and others who will always be asked about their weight along with (or before) their talent. It’s really quite insulting, but I think she’s blaming the wrong people. The media only covers who or what people are interested in. Since we are a weight obsessed society, that’s what they’re gonna cover.

  32. Jules says:

    Very well put. She has the right attitude about all of it.

  33. Nikki says:

    I am closer to Angelina than Octavia in body shape I have rail thin arms and legs. I have clothes hanger linebacker shoulders. And I eat three meals and 2 snacks a day. It hurts when people look at me and say you need a sandwich. I get tired of my own family whose body shape is closer to Octavia saying we need to send you to the fatting hut because otherwise a man won’t want me. It is hurtful on both side of the spectrum. Can we stop body shaming people to gain or lose when it maybe nearly impossible to do.

  34. Amanda says:

    Oooooo she’s from my hometown! We had the same high school English teacher (not at the same time), who was a sexy slutty older lady who kind of made me feel like I was being taught by a Southern version of that Samantha chick from Sex and the City.

  35. Chatcat says:

    She is awesome…love her honesty (not much of THAT comes out of anybody’s mouth associated with celebrity). But let’s be honest, if more MEN would be honest (without embarrasement) that they are (or want to be) attracted to a size 12 women instead of size 2, then the mags would have to adjust to sell. Being a healthy size 12 is far more appealing then a size 2 to 90% of all men…just ask em! But alas, most guys think it wouldn’t seem right to be so honest.

    • Amanda says:

      Actually, a variety of men are attracted to a variety of body types. Your statement that 90% of men would be more attracted to a size 12 than a size 2 is not based on reality, and really you just make yourself sound like one of those petty girls who is automatically prejudiced towards any girl who is thin. And the way you emphasize the word “man” makes it seem like you’re suggesting any male who’s not attracted to larger girls isn’t a true “man”. So much stupidity in this post… where to begin?

    • Julia says:

      I think it’s more complex than that.

      I think in each period of time, in each country, the media or the ‘primitive’ media advertized a body type that was deemed as the beauty standard of that time.

      In western countries for avery long time the chubbier, even overweight type (according today standards) was the beauty model. Actually the skinny type as we see today is in the universal history the latest and more recent time where skinny women were deemed as beautiful and healthy,; Before that, fior centuries it was the chubbier version, the tan one being about the last 50 years. Before that the real beauty should have been pale to be considered healthy while today a tan skin is considered healthy…it wasn’t a century ago.

      The difference today is that the type that is glamourized by the media is often used as a scapegoat to justify real body image problems.

      There is a very concerning obesity problem which is ten times more prevalent than the anorexic types and this is what should be of concern more than the media glamourizing a certain type of women as the media has always chosen one model over the others, a model that was always non representative of the majority.

      Just because today that model is the skinny type shouldn’t be a reason to put the blame on the media and on skinny women when the main problem is obesity and the rise of it in younger populations.

      • Amanda says:

        There are also cultural divides over what weight is considered “attractive”. In the town I come from (and Octavia too), skinny white women are a small minority and aren’t considered by most men here to be the ideal body type. I know that most of America is trying to shrink their asses, but in a town like this you grow up worrying that your ass isn’t big enough! It’s also not uncommon for a man to pressure his girlfriend into gaining weight to be more “attractive”.

      • mel says:

        I think she is fabulous…but I agree – the issue is obesity in America…it causes BILLIONS of dollars in health care needs/medications. I see folks every single day who would have far less health problems if they lost weight. So even though women should not strive to be a size 2….a healthy weight should be maintained…and of course its different for everyone…but you get the drift.

      • Julia says:

        True.

        In the Congo, there is this strange phenomenon, young teen dancers, usually start with a thin but athletic leanly curvaceous shape, then in order to fit in a phantasy standard that says the bigger you are, the healthier you are perceived because you eat, hence you are rich, some dancers went into using needles full of toxic fluids used for fattening some animal and you have those young women who went abnormally fatter and bloated while still dancing, which makes the movement less gracefull and less fluid.

        Also, you had some very young women eating fat foods so that people won’t say they have AIDS.

        There is this general idea all over the world that if you are skinny, you don’t eat much but that isn’t always true. Some women who are big boned and more naturally athletic will go into low carbonic diet to maintain a body deemed as healthy when others will eat a more balanced and highly calorific type of food and be skinnier.

        Also studies suggest in the US that the poorer segment of society is the one where overweight problems is more prevalent because not only they eat much more though they have less finance, but they eat more ‘cheap food’, it’s often a question of quality thahn quantityt and the way you eat and swallow and socialize at tables, Americans eating quicker bigger portions than Europeans while Europeans stay at the table longer eating lesser and more quality food at that.

  36. Blue says:

    I love her and everything she said. Peole need to understand that not everyone is meant to be skinny, everyone has an individual healthy weight and that’s what they need to strive for. I don’t buy any of those magazines & I have saved a lot of money on groceries since I stopped buying processed foods. No frozen foods except veggies and fruits. I have also lost weight, still have more to go but I’m steadily losing. :)

  37. JudyJudyJudy says:

    she is lovely – and that first dress is a killer. But I hope from now on she refuses to answer any of these questions other than to say that she is focused on healthy living. Go Olivia!

  38. Shy says:

    Well Octavia is not obese or fat. She is little overweight. I guess she can say she is healthy.

    But I don’t agree on the whole “we’ve seen a dramatic increase in bullying, eating disorders and body dysmorphia among male and female teens”. By how? Is she talking about that thing that half of americans are overweight and it’s a big health problem and media and parents try to encourage those obese people to stop eating for ten and loose weight. Because they will die. This whole Internet campaign: “Stop discriminating fat people. Don’t make them loose weight. Let them be obese. They are happy and healthy that way. And you are haters” is kind of scary.

    Did she saw Wall-E picture? Did anyone else saw? Did you saw those people there? Because that is our future. I live in Ukraine. And we don’t have obese people walking on streets. Even really fat people are rare. And you know why? It’s not because ukraininans are immune to “fat” gene. Or because they have superfit bodies. It’s because ordinary person here can’t afford himself/herself to eat for ten. Their salaries are not big enough…. People in America and Europe are obese and fat because they have too much cheap food. How cheap it has to be if any ordinary obese person can eat so much. And add the fact that there are so many obese people who ate so much that they can’t walk. Which means they don’t work. Which means their family is buying that food.

    • anon says:

      This always amazed me. Example; there was a 600 pound man who ate himself to the point he couldn’t get out of bed. They listed what he ate daily and it was not only more than most people spend on food for a month, but someone was buying and cooking this food for him (as he couldn’t leave the bed) This is not the norm. I know my family is not that nice. He would never have gotten that fat in our family. That was a lot of work to feed one person who started out normal size. (There is probably a video on the internet about him and few others now) Also its about priorities when I have extra money it doesn’t go towards food; maybe a purse or a trip/something I’ll have for a while or just keep my money :-) Where as for some eating and satisfying the taste buds takes priority.

  39. Jacqueline says:

    America is decaying as whole society thanks to the media. the media puts ideas into peoples heads about what they should have and be. The media controls popular culture. America was once conservative and its not becoming Latin and European. Everybody here just wants to hook up like in Europe and wait to get married at 40-50. In Latin and South America all that matters is if you are hot and beautiful. It is a social trait and skill especially in Brazil to be sexy and white. Its not just a weight issue its celebrity culture, beauty as a mandatory trait above all else, money as the symbol for success and causasian culture as superior to all others. America is hypersexual now with 12 year olds having sex, machoness you think only existed in Brazil and sex everywhere tv radio internet etc. It is the beginning of the end. Lets not forget the narcissism, immorality and a horrible education system and health care system. America is not doing very good socially. Its going back into the third world (especially conservatives who mean a lil too well, cutting womens right to choice etc. the extreme difference between poor families 50K a year and middle class families 125K a year. its going to be a 3rd world here soon). Americans and Europeans live for fridays and get drunk. A lot of undiagnosed depression here.

  40. sammib says:

    The age old chicken and egg question – which came first – does the media promote a certain body type and write about weight issues because women are concerned and want to talk about it or do we all talk/think/worry about it because of the media? I think the latter because otherwise the fashionable larger (read normal) sized woman pre 1960 would never have existed.

    Ultra skinny became fashion during the 60′s with Twiggy and the Shrimp and has never looked back. Now we are at it’s zenith with the likes of Posh and size zero. The unobtainable is promoted by the media as the ideal. The female role models for young girls now are all about exterior, and sadly it’s an exterior that only a small percentage of women can obtain. It’s unfair, unrealistic and cruel.

  41. Jacqueline says:

    Im a size zero becaue Im 4 11. I have a 34B cup which is big since at 4 11 you’re supposed to be an A cup. My butt is far from steel no matter how much I try to work it out. I am a size zero. Its possible if you are petite, asian or a boy.

  42. Zoe says:

    She has a great shape and carries her weight well. She looks good. If she wants to lose 20lbs, hope she succeeds in her goal. She will look great either way.

  43. Gabby says:

    That’s great and all, I agree that healthiness should be promoted over vanity, but COME ON PEOPLE, just because being overweight is becoming more common doesn’t mean that’s a good thing or, honestly, that everyone should start applauding them for being ‘real women’!!!

    I grew up in Europe and you see a hell of a lot of fat people in the UK, but very VERY few in comparison in Spain, Portugal, France, Scandinavia, etc. For the majority of the population, it’s not genetics, it’s LIFESTYLE.

    People need to grow up and accept responsibility for being overweight! One thing I notice since being in the US is that outside of the big cities, people barely walk! They drive everywhere, to eat, to work, and to buy stuff they don’t need–everything is much more extreme than in Europe.

    I’m usually pretty compassionate about most things but seriously, this laziness, insecurity and lack of responsibility is what’s “destroying our children” not the people who are pointing it out!!!!!

  44. Maggie May says:

    Read the article and skipped the comments because I think this actress is not only an amazing talent … she is beautiful, smart and very funny.

  45. rachael says:

    I am so sick of unhealthy obesity being the new “protected” class; they want recognition and acceptance. It’s unhealthy and sick… Does anyone else feel this way?

    • Julia says:

      Agree wholeheartly !

      What is even more sick and concerning in the US is that now you have a dangerous increase of obesity and even morbidly obesity in children age ranged from 2 to 9 years old !

      This is what is monstruous and very concerning : 2 years old todllers who are obese ! What kind of a society will you leave when you have children that young who are already obese and have illness related to their state that usually touch adults ?

      Diabetes and heartfailure will now reach childen who are not even into puberty because they are overweright. They donb’t even have a strong immune system to fight adult related illness due to obesity.

      So let’s stop diverting using media and blaming skinny models when the real issue is obesity running among toddlers and young children at a very concerning rate.

  46. ZenB!tch says:

    She looks great. She knows how to dress for her curves unlike the unfortunate Melissa McCarthy. Go Octavia.

    I do wonder if I could get my size 14 ass (down from 16) into a size 10 pair of pants with 3 spanks on.

  47. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    I’m of a normal weight, I don’t really have a dog in this fight, but this ‘thin is the new underclass and we’re suffering because people aren’t rallying around us for being obese disasters’ is frequently a lot of bull in masquerade. There’s genuine concern and there’s that thing that comes after wherein concern dissolves and altruism is just posturing for the cameras. Whoever said it was like the reverse racism claim was right on the money. What a state of things we’ve reached when being worshipped isn’t privilege enough. So one person says something insensitive about your weight when you’re surrounded by a culture that all but deifies it and suddenly you’re the downtrodden victim of the Lard Mafia? Something about that doesn’t wash with me.

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