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!
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