Keira Knightley discusses anorexia claims: ‘I knew I wasn’t anorexic, but…”

Just take this as evidence of how slow it is today, gossip-wise. I’m stretching out Keira Knightley’s Allure cover interview and photo shoot to two posts. To be fair to myself, I did include another interview in the earlier post – it was a nice piece in which Keira talked about how much she sometimes hated the Anna Karenina character, and how she loves that Love, Actually is a Christmas movie. Well, now we’ve got more excerpts from the Allure piece – Keira talking about body image, feminism and about her engagement. She really does seem so breezy these days. No more dark, morose Keira.

Keira on the claims she was anorexic: “The anorexic stuff — all of that — it’s always going to have an impact, so I think it did hit pretty hard. Because you go, ‘Oh, maybe that’s right!’ I knew I wasn’t anorexic, but maybe my body is somehow not right. Or my face is not right. Or the way I speak is not right. When you’re going through a period where you’re really getting a lot of criticism, you go, ‘Maybe all this is right! You just kind of want to hide it all.’”

On feminism: “I am a feminist, but I clearly objectify myself – so that right there is a total contradiction to feminist principles.”

Hitting the wall, and taking time off to travel: “I’d hit a wall and needed to step back in order to learn the things I needed to learn”… But amidst the darkness, she never wanted to abandon her profession: “There’s clearly something in me that goes, No, actually, I know I’ve got something.”

Aging in the spotlight: “It’s very, very hard on women who get older…I can say that when I’m 27, you know. Talk to me when I’m 37.”

The ticking clock: “Acting – it’s not like its offered one day, so it will be offered the next. There’s a little space for you. And when that space appears, you kind of have to jump in because it’s not necessarily going to arrive again.”

On her fiancé, James Righton: “Maybe I’ll be permanently engaged!” She also said, “We’re total opposites.” Music is Righton’s life, but “I know nothing about it,” said Knightley.

She feels lucky: “The people I’ve worked with! Having a successful career! It’s absolutely, totally extraordinary, and I’m incredibly lucky! But….” she said. “There isn’t a ‘but’ really. That was it…. I take that ‘but’ back.”

[From Us Weekly and Allure]

I like this new movement to get younger women to self-identify as feminists. I think Romola Garai made a better case for calling herself a feminist, and I feel like Keira’s self-identification as a feminist is good too. I know what Keira means when she says “but I clearly objectify myself – so that right there is a total contradiction to feminist principles” – but I don’t agree with her. I don’t believe it’s un-feminist to objectify yourself. It can move into that sort of Spice-Girls feminism BS of “it’s empowering to expose my body!” but sometimes a woman DOES achieve empowerment through exposing and objectifying her own body. It’s a complicated discussion!

Photos courtesy of Allure.

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41 Responses to “Keira Knightley discusses anorexia claims: ‘I knew I wasn’t anorexic, but…””

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  1. pz says:

    Anything is better than Lady Gaga’s “I’m not a feminist, but I have lots of lesbian friends!” comment.

  2. Amelia says:

    Feminism seems to be the topic of the month :)
    I think it’s a really slow day all around.
    I’m seriously considering going back to bed.

  3. LAK says:

    I love the discussion around women who expose their bodies as a feminist empowerment move.

    I view it through the prism of the alternative where culture/religion shame women’s bodies and in extreme cases persecute women for showing even a minimum of skin.

    And One doesn’t have to go to the extreme places to find women who are shamed and ashamed of their bodies, who can’t undress infront of other women even in a locker room because they have been indoctrinated with that shame.

    Anything that challenges that is good in my opinion.

    I see the spice girls/madonna brand of onstage female nakedness as a challenge to prevailing attitudes similar to attitudes that provoked the slut movement.

    Ultimately though, I think it boils down to choice without judgement. We should be free to do whatever we want with our bodies without censure, which is one of the joys of feminism.

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      TO make a point about feminism-whether one wants to strip down in a locker room in front of other women or not is not necessarily indicative of shame.

      Really it’s just a personal choice and in keeping with the feminist movement, I don’t really think that there’s a right/wrong approach when it comes to revealing one’s nudity. Isn’t that what feminism is about? Personal choice? I like to think that women own their own bodies and shouldn’t be ashamed if they feel a natural proclivity to privacy OR if they want to let the boobs fly around other women.

      I’m a feminist and I’m not ashamed of how I look naked but I don’t necessarily feel comfortable being naked in front of a bunch of strangers. Doesn’t mean I’m repressed.

      On that note, I think part of the New Feminism is redefining the term to be more inclusive of women’s individual desires and needs, not imposing upon women an ideal of what “being a feminist” requires, according to one person’s narrow definition.

      • hmmm says:

        And there is a difference between feeling shame, and modesty. Getting naked, I think, is a spurious subject for arguing feminism and female empowerment. Just goes to show that the original tenets of feminism have been subverted. It is indeed about choice. But not all choices are to be applauded.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        I would use the term “evolved” instead of “subverted.”

        The original tenents have matured with the changing times, that’s all.
        Grandma’s feminism isn’t as relevant as it once was.

      • LAK says:

        @Originalkitten – i know the difference between modesty and shame. i also know the difference between modesty and repression. One has got nought to do with the other. And wasn’t what i was talking about.

        I have made it very clear in my post that choice, without judgement is where i stand on the issue.

        I have also made it very clear that i look at this issue through the prism of RELIGIOUS/CULTURAL tenets which affect women worldwide, including those living in liberated countries where they have been indoctrinated with a sense of shame about their bodies to such an extent that even undressing in a locker room [as an example] is shameful.

    • Amelia says:

      This is why I love CB :)
      What other gossip blog combines rational discussion with the Fass/Ham dong?

  4. busy ramone says:

    I doubt that a woman in her profession has the luxury of NOT objectifying herself.

    Anyways, I appreciate that she has the courage to call herself a feminist when so many women are afraid to do so.

    • Charazar says:

      Women with more “revealing” pictures are stuck in a general dicotomy of sexsy for/from a hetero male POV versus “it sexually empowers ME”. This one of two ways ideology bother me because it seems exclusive to women in these types of pictorials and paints a more limiting expectaions based in gender of the subject. A more comprehensive look would give females the same carefree and “laid back whatever/ Im having too much fun to care about how you want to box me in” pass that is so embeeded in males doing the same natured shoots. IMO I wish females cold be accepted with attitudes more like the Jackass boys, in terms of “nudity doesnt have to do with my sexuality/degrading/ empowerment”. Its not like we have to coach boys with that bodies aren always a canvas of only denying or envoking your own personal sexuality. that child like carefee, for lack of a better word, attitude is one I crave for females because that laid back chill out jackass boys mentality is rare for various sociological reasons.

    • teenydj says:

      You don’t see Frances McDormand or Cate Blanchett objectifying themselves, right? That is actually an option.

      • Christina says:

        Exactly. Have Meryl Streep or Cate Blanchett ever consented to having themselves photographed feeling their own boob?

        No, because real actresses, as opposed to glorified perfume models, don’t need to degrade themselves that way. Empowering? Piffle.

  5. Christina says:

    Why is Kiara doing a breast examination in the first photo? Couldn’t she get her gynecologist to do that?

    Oh, and the nudie pics are cringeworthy. Proof of what I wrote on the other thread: Kiara is certainly beautiful, but she is NOT sexy, and never will be.

  6. Shelley says:

    I love Keira. She is a sexy beautiful skinny tomboy AND she has an ounce of talent. Women do NOT have to be plus size to be sexy

    • Leigh says:

      riiiggghhhtt… ’cause that’s the big problem with the media today.. that only the plus size girls are considered sexy – there’s so much pressure on all of us to gain weight… LOL.

      • Kim says:

        Well skinny women are told to Eat a Burger when is the last time someone suggested Latifah or Adele eat a salad

      • LAK says:

        Do you know how many articles around women call big women ‘real’ women?? every single one. As if the smaller skinnies are ‘imaginary’ women.

        And it’s practically taboo to call a big girl ‘fat’ even if she is. We must call them ‘curvy’ nevermind that ‘curvy’ denotes an hourglass figure which can be seen in all sizes.

      • Leigh says:

        Well ladies, that’s because models and actresses have created such an impossible level of beauty and body type that the “curvy” women are celebrated. Its an effort to make the more common and, in many cases, natural body type the normal level of beauty and fitness we all hold ourselves to.

        The “eat a burger” comment is generally a comment to those people who starve themselves to match the image of the stick thin model or actresses (that are airbrushed to perfection) – that is a comment to the people who hold themselves to the impossible and largely inachievable level of fitness and beauty that celebrities and models achieve through personal trainers, specialized diets and photoshopping magic. It’s not a comment to the thin girls who are naturally skinny with their high metabolisms that eat a normal, healthy diet and live a healthy lifestyle.

  7. Liv says:

    I really find her more likable lately. She’s growing on me.

  8. Izzy says:

    I think feminism is in direct opposition to objectifying women. Objectifying women is one of the ways in which the patriarchy keeps women secondary to men. How can you take a sex object seriously? If a sex object is taken seriously it is *in spite of* not because of objectification. If someone feels empowered through objectifying themselves(basically acting as the patriarchy wants women to act), that’s fine. But it isn’t feminism.

  9. LucyOriginal says:

    I am very “bipolar” about Keira. If there is such a thing.

    On one hand, I really like her on screen and she comes across as a very down-to-Earth person on her interviews.

    On the other hand, part of me dislikes her. But it’s just my jealousy due to the fact she has worked with Cumber, Fassy, Colin and Viggo. :)

  10. Londerland says:

    Love her, and the “objectification is anti-feminist” thing is really interesting. I suppose I define feminism more in terms with the restrictions placed on a woman by society. If you are reduced to a sex object and nothing more, if you are required (and indeed permitted) to do nothing but be a sexual object, then that is antifeminist.

    I don’t consider it unfeminist to do a photo shoot half-naked, or glammed up, or Being Sexay, but I guess what she’s acknowledging is that she never gets to do any OTHER kind of photo shoot, and she does them anyway. She presumably objects to the notion that she HAS to be sexualised, but she goes along with it.

    So yeah, constantly going along with a sexist ideal that you don’t agree with, that’s unfeminist. But a girl’s got a movie to promote, so… *shrug*

    Life’s too short to tie yourself in knots over this stuff, you know? :D

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      “if you are required (and indeed permitted) to do nothing but be a sexual object, then that is antifeminist.”

      See, my initial inclination is to agree with you but then you take a female porn star at say, Vivid, a company where women are paid 50% more than men and she basically falls into that category right? She is a sexual object and nothing more, yet she makes a very high amount of money by exploiting men’s weakness for (dependence on?) sexual imagery.

      So in a way, she’s dominating in her field and she’s still (arguably and I know there’s a big argument to be had here) successful and she has the choice, the final say in whether she wants to participate..

      Is that anti-feminist? Personally, I’m not sure how I feel about that…

      I could be completely reaching with this example..just sort of “wondering while typing”…

      • Londerland says:

        Wonder away – this isn’t Jezebel, I’m not going to jump down your throat! :) If feminism is anything at all, it has to be an ongoing discussion, at least I think so.

        And I agree completely, a porn star is an exception in that she makes the choice to be objectified. That’s not what I would consider antifeminist at all – objectification is basically the point of the porn industry: that’s their job, to be sex objects, to enact fantasies and live out sexual stereotypes. That’s where sexual objectification belongs – in fantasy. Or in the bedroom – but always between consenting adults.

        For me, the crucial point of feminism, I suppose, is choice. Nobody should be forced to be a sex object, but that’s not because being a sex object is a bad thing. It’s because coercion is a bad thing, limiting choice is a bad thing.

        God, I hope this makes sense!

        (Also, I wonder where Keira’s nipple went in that open-jacket picture, but that’s not strictly relevant.)

      • LAK says:

        Despite my stand on the subject and earlier post, i also wonder about this.

        At what point does the exploited turn on it’s head, and who is exploiting whom?

        I guess at the end of the day, it is about choice and control.

        If the lady at Vivid is in control of what she is doing and making money out of her body, and it is her choise to do so, then wh am i to disagree or censor her BUT what about those ladies on the street corners who are under the control of some pimp [gender not important], who insists they dress skimpily to ply their trade, and the men who use them give them as much thought as those who buy the wares of vivid.

        The sex industry as a whole is a very complicated thing because it’s not a black and white issue outside of complete abstinence. There are always grey areas that other variables make hard to judge eg drugs, poverty, forced sexual trafficking/slavery etc

  11. Gine says:

    I really like how they did her hair and makeup in this shoot. For some reason, makeup artists really seem to want to pile it on her most of the time. This is polished but still fresh-looking.

  12. Marilu says:

    Before i thought she looked anorexic but now is the best ive seen her look maybe its age that has filled her body and face out more. Either way now she just looks skinny not anorexic.

  13. Isa says:

    Did they airbrush her nipple our or does it not exist?

  14. videli says:

    I hate it when someone treats me as a sex object – without my permission, that is.

  15. mimi (a different one) says:

    She is intelligent, honest, interesting and offers such great insights.

    On top of that she is clearly very talented, charismatic and beautiful.

    I wish more actresses and singers were like Keira.

    She is my favourite female movie star.

  16. annie says:

    Why is she topless or clutching her boobs in all the photos? Allure’s not a men’s mag.

  17. jamie says:

    She annoy’s me! her acting is always the same ,and wtf is up with her always sticking her boney jaw out?

  18. Annie says:

    The Keira is anorexic stuff always confused the crap out of me because she never particularly looked incredibly skinny to me anyway, more just boyishly built if that makes sense. She actually has a curvy lower half though. And no, I’m not some pro-ana freak, I can think of plenty of celebs who I think have been yucky skinny at some point, but Keira? Nope. Probably if she’d had mondo boob implants like the execs wanted her to she’d have never have gotten those comments.