Jessica Simpson spent ‘years beating myself up for an unrealistic body standard’

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Back in the day, when Jessica Simpson first became famous, she was the “curvy” blonde in pop music. That was one of the ways she set herself apart from Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera and Mandy Moore. Jessica was the one with big boobs and just a curvier figure overall. Look back at those early photos though, and I guarantee that you will be surprised by just how slender she really was. Over the ‘00s, her weight fluctuated a lot – I remember when she lost so much weight for the Dukes of Hazzard movie, and then she gained weight when she dated Tony Romo, and on and on. It was especially hard for Jessica because – I think – she’s always craved the good opinion of the fashionistas, the cool kids, the taste-makers, and those were the people who tended to see Jessica and her weight as a punchline. Jessica is back on the promotional trail to hype the newly-released paperback version of her bestselling memoir, Open Book. There’s more stuff in the paperback about her struggles with her weight:

As a young singer and breakout reality star in the late ’90s, Jessica Simpson endured such intense scrutiny about her looks and weight that it often eclipsed any other news about her life. It’s a topic she wrote about in her bestselling memoir Open Book, newly out in paperback. In the newly released version, she includes a journal entry from 2009 when a concert appearance made headlines and put the attention into “hyper drive” for how she looked in “mom jeans.”

At the time, she wrote, “Today my heart breaks because people says I’m fat.”

“Why does the cruel opinion of this world get to me?” she continued in her diary. “Last week I read back to my journals from 1999 and I beat myself up about how fat I [was] before I even gave the world a chance to…”

Now 40 and a mom of three kids — Birdie Mae, 2, Maxwell Drew, 8½, and Ace Knute, 7½ — with husband Eric Johnson, Simpson reveals how she healed from the hurt and what she’s learned from sharing her story.

“There is a wonderful movement for body positivity now and the response to that portion of my story has been overwhelmingly supportive,” she tells PEOPLE. “I don’t think people always realized that there was a human being, a beating heart and working eyes with actual feelings behind those headlines and that words can hurt and stay with you for a lifetime.”

Looking back, Simpson says, “I spent so many years beating myself up for an unrealistic body standard that made me feel like a failure all of the time. I am still a work in progress when it comes to self-criticism but now I have the tools to quiet those voices in my head when they speak up.” And she adds, “I believe in my heart that a healthy body and a sound mind-body connection are what’s truly important and help me accept imperfections as beauty.”

It’s a bittersweet moment, she writes as she rereads her journal entry from over 10 years ago. “I hate that I was treated as an object to be tossed around like a rag doll,” she writes, “but I smile to see me talking to myself back and forth across all these years.”

[From People]

I’ve said before that I consider Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce to be the start of a change in pop culture perceptions about what kinds of bodies are “beautiful” or desirable or fashionable. Jessica should be in there too – I always loved her for her very real weight struggles because… that’s normal. Millions of women beat themselves up for their weight and not being able to stick to a diet and all of that. Jessica was always very relatable to me. I also always loved the fact that Jessica led with her boobs – as someone with big boobs, I’ve always enjoyed seeing how Jessica tries to harness her girls and what kinds of clothes she wears to feel comfortable and cute.

Here are some photos of Jessica in 2009 when people were calling her “fat.” It’s shocking how great her figure was, isn’t it? I still say that the only real problem was just that she didn’t know how to dress when her weight changed.

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Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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63 Responses to “Jessica Simpson spent ‘years beating myself up for an unrealistic body standard’”

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  1. Lauren says:

    I think that unrealistic body standards are also very much part of certain cultures. I’m Latina and my family has always been stressing me since the age of 13 about losing weight. How much prettier I would look if I lose weight, if I’m not ashamed that my mother is thinner than me, why don’t I look more like my cousins. All this while purposely ignoring that I have PCOS and losing weight for me is extremely difficult. And these critiques didn’t come just from my family, but from the whole Latino community around me. At a point, I managed to say fck it, but it took me 18+ years to get there and it was a debilitating, stressful fight to get there. I managed to lose the weight in the end to better help out my PCOS, but it is very difficult not to punch people in the face when they say that I look so much better now.

    • ce says:

      Lauren, my Abuela has been doing the same thing my whole life, plus calling my dad/Tio ‘fat’, commenting on people’s weight in a really toxic way etc. When I was severely underweight was the only time she never commented (instead she picked apart my puberty skin, nice!). As adults me and my siblings have gotten to the point where we tell her straight out that the comments are hurtful, which doesn’t change the behavior (she’s 87), but gives us control over how we respond to them. Much love to you and your healthy life!!

    • Meredith says:

      Lauren and CE, same with my family too. Before my Tata passed away he used to tell me I need to make sure I don’t end up like my mom, so I can only imagine the stuff she heard growing up. My nana also used to say stuff like that and it’s worse now because she has Alzheimer’s and zero filter. When I FaceTime with her I make sure I have make-up on and hold the phone at a good angle. 🙄

      • Justwastingtime says:

        Ditto, my mom is Irish Catholic (lace curtain Irish) and my sister and I are always nicely dressed with makeup when we see her. It’s really, really, really important to her.. just like it was with her mother. We just laugh at it now but both of us have discussed that we are being careful not to pass that nonsense onto another generation.

    • Nicole says:

      My uncle told me I was going to get fat. I was eating a slice of pizza and was 5 months pregnant. I told him I didn’t care. *eyeroll* His daughter/my cousin is busting her ass trying to slim down after her 4th and final kid. I’m glad she’s focused, but I can’t imagine how much of her motivation come from comments for her dad.

    • Asiyah says:

      I had the opposite problem. I was constantly shamed for being too skinny because us Latinas (especially Dominicans like myself) are naturally curvy. I always felt like “not a real Latina” because of it. At the same time, I saw our culture constantly putting down women they deemed fat (for example my mom) and it made me see just how women can never win. There is no middle ground because even a women of a “suitable” weight will be criticized for something else.

  2. cassandra says:

    This is a recurring theme for me-and I think for a lot of people. I hate pictures of myself in the moment, but years later I realize how good I looked

    • IMUCU says:

      Yes, looking back at older pictures I think “I didn’t look so bad.” Even when I didn’t think that way then. Now I am about to go see my grandpa and his wife in a few weeks and I just dread what they will say about my weight bc I am heavier since I last saw them. They always say something, ever since I was a little girl.

  3. ce says:

    I’m built pretty similarly to Jessica, petite and curvy. I remember when the criticism about her body came out I was annoyed because I actually liked the outfit everyone was criticizing her for (and still do! Mom Jeans for life!) Being curvy in the early 00s was not a thing, I’m glad it changed and quickly.

  4. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Women beating themselves up for unrealistic weight goals and expectations? Going through life being told you had to look a certain way? Dieting day in and day out from the time of adolescence for decades? Being judged for the way you look no matter where you are, who you’re visiting and who you’re with… including family members (especially moms and grandmothers and basically any female?). Welcome to the club. The club of aging women looking back at years and years and years of emotional abuse. Sux don’t it.

    • Billie says:

      WOW. Just wow.

      I went through it too, but I for one hope younger generations can hear stories like this and break the cycle.
      This comment is mean and attitudes like this just aid in the continuation of abusive standards.

      • Kkat says:

        She a lot of times has super negative takes in the comments

        Yeah it’s pervasive in our society, but you know what? Instead of having a shitty defeatist attitude about it, you break the cycle and don’t perpetuate it with younger generations in your life.
        But generally people with this attitude promote it because they themselves suck and it gives them an excuse to keep it going.

    • emu says:

      The book ANTI-DIET is excellent at addressing all of this!

  5. Iris says:

    It’s wild looking at those photos in the Mom jeans and realising… she actually looks fine? They’re not that bad. I was a teenager at the time and really believed she was fat

  6. Lunasf17 says:

    I remember when the mom jeans controversy happened and looking back it was so crazy. She looks thinner than like 90% of Americans but really, we need to call her fat because she is shorter and curvier than other female celebrities at that time. Definitely sexist and body shaming. My only gripe with her is I thought she has been selling dieting products and programs on and off for years so if that’s your business then your body is probably going to be under the spotlight.

    • (The OG) Jan90067 says:

      She did do Weight Watchers after her first baby, didn’t she? I think she said she gained about 70-80 lbs with that pregnancy…?

  7. Sayrah says:

    I loved her book. She’s actually pretty great.

  8. Stef says:

    Thanks for writing this and making such important points about women’s bodies, changing perspectives on what “pop culture” views as acceptable and/or attractive.

    I too remember the vitriol Jessica received relentlessly for her weight fluctuations. She didn’t deserve that crap. She’s always been a favourite of mine since she first debuted because she could really sing, was down to earth, and wasn’t trying to be someone else, regardless of how much the media mocked her body and intellect.

    She really stepped into her own after divorcing Nick Lechey and after the Dukes of Hazzard. The fact that she had to practically starve herself for the Daisy Dukes, and was applauded for it, is sickening and indicative of the toxicity women in the media face daily.

    I want to read her newest book!

  9. Hillbo Baggins says:

    I read her book thinking it would be an easy superficial read but I can out really impressed with her and now a big fan. She was truly open and honest about wanting to be successful, her struggles with men and alcohol, and yes also about how the talk about her weight affected her. She’s been through a lot and has always had to hide it behind a smile and perkiness.

  10. Bettyrose says:

    There was a time when the only thing I knew about Jessica Simpson was her weight. I’m pretty sure the first time I heard of her was in reference to her body type.

    • smcollins says:

      I remember when she first came on the scene she was branded as the “Christian good girl”, which considering her father was a minister at the time it kind of made sense? This may or may not be true but she supposedly also “saved” herself for marriage, although she was only 20 or so when she got married so I can believe that (maybe she addresses it in her book, I haven’t read it). Basically she was the “Pure Virgin” to Britney Spear’s “Lolita”. Then her father made the creepy comment about the size of her breasts and all bets were off. I’ve always had a kind of soft spot for Jessica. She seems genuinely sweet and good-hearted.

      • bettyrose says:

        I vaguely remember that, and again it was people fixating on her body. I agree that she seems like a really sweet person. So does Brittany. I honestly don’t know how they both survived being exploited as teens without developing a hardness to them, but I wish them nothing but the best in life.

  11. Susan says:

    I’m a couple years older than Jessica, and definitely was an adult during that phase of pop culture. As we look back on it, I am BLOWN AWAY by the misogyny and double standards we accepted. It makes me shameful that we seemingly accepted—and bought into—this line of thinking about that generation of women (Britney, Jessica, etc). I remember all my peers loved the faux feminism movies of that era (House Bunny, Coyote Ugly, even Legally Blonde, etc) and I couldn’t put a finger on why those movies didn’t sit right with me. It’s such a weird feeling to be a proud feminist—and have always considered myself one—and yet the stuff I seemingly absorbed and quietly supported…oof. Hard to explain, can’t put into words. It wasn’t THAT long ago?! We’ve come a long way baby.

    • bettyrose says:

      Oh gawd, I forgot about House Bunny. I actually really like Anna Faris as an actor but the whole message of that movie was . . . questionable. It was hardly the first movie to teach nerd girls to find happiness through becoming sexy, though.

    • Betsy says:

      I remember commenting negatively to friends about the faux feminism at the time and getting quite the earful back – it’s just fun, we should just enjoy it, didn’t I agree that body empowerment was feminism and in that vein. It’s fuzzy, now, 20 years on, and I’ve never been a particularly eloquent feminist, but we have been asked to swallow a lot of bull over the years.

  12. Margot says:

    The podcast “You’re Wrong About” did a 3 or 4 part breakdown of her book. I found it really fascinating. She has been through so much.

    • MarcelMarcel says:

      Yeah, I loved that series too! Left me wondering if I should buy book. I especially loved how country legends would magically appear to serenade & support her at pivotal points in her life.
      Anyhow I hope she makes music she’s happy about. Her voice is so lovely. *goes to Spotify to stream her music*

    • Trillion says:

      It was so good, right? I have never been a fan of Jessica Simpson until that podcast. It made me kind of love her.

  13. amiloo says:

    Our roommate at about that time (2009/2010) worked in tv in Nashville, and Jessica appeared as a guest. He said she was absolutely beautiful and TINY in real life.

    • Betsy says:

      My husband saw her at an event and said the same, like she was doll sized and very pretty (although in that kind of alien way that very pretty people sometimes are in real life vs house they photograph).

  14. MarcelMarcel says:

    There is no one correct proper way to dress after weight gain. I’m short with massive tits and hips. Basically a figure similar to Jessica and my weight has fluctuated over the years.

    She would have been torn apart regardless of her styling. Because she is a womxn existing within a Eurocentric & capitalist patriarchy.

    At my current size I get the most praise for Joan Holloway style looks- cinched in at the waist, cleavage on display & high quality tailoring over the hips. But sometimes I’m making art or doing exercise or going out to fetch whiskey or playing with my bunnies etc… etc… and that style of dress is not suitable for those tasks. People dress how they like for a number of reasons. If she likes those outfits and they make her feel pretty than that’s all matters.
    On a shallow note she looks banging in those mum jeans. I’m highly tempted to recreate that look.

    • Frida_K says:

      I’m similar, though my hips aren’t as large as my bosom. I definitely have a lot going on up front. My waist is super tiny in comparison to both hips and bust though.

      My conflict in life has always been whether to wear 1940s silhouette clothes (which make me look beautiful and are perfect for my body…but then I get a lot of unwanted attention and even harassment) OR clothes that hide my shape (and in so doing, I look dumpy BUT invisible, so I don’t get harassed).

      • MarcelMarcel says:

        I face a similar dilemma. Also I only like to wear natural fibres. So here’s my solution- on days I don’t want attention I dress with Elizabeth Taylor in mind. Like kaftan era Elizabeth Taylor. So I wear loose clothing, loads of jewellery & maybe a fun headpiece (inspired by Moira Rose/Catherine O’Hara). Occasionally I do a punk/grunge look inspired by my butch friends.
        On days I’m okay with attention I wear figure hugging dresses. There’s days are maybe three times a year? So I maybe own four dresses max for this mood.
        So TLDR my solution is to own outfits for both moods. If you know you feel one mood less often buy fewer outfits for it. And most importantly, jewellery doesn’t care about your waistline! You can wear a lovely necklace, headpiece or earrings at any point in life.

    • lisa says:

      @marcel

      first off, your life with the bunnies and whisky sounds amazing

      2nd – I have trouble finding nice Liz Taylor caftans in quarantine that fit me. I used to get them at vintage markets which arent going on here right now. are there any good places to get them on line?

      • mary.kearney@aol.com E Kearney says:

        Look on Etsy for beautiful kaftans and Mirraw for over the top embellished inexpensive ones

  15. LauraGen says:

    I’m very confused by Jessica Simpson. She was on the tamron hall show and sounded completely smashed like she didn’t even know how to form words anymore, but the interview was talking about her being sober…..

    • psl says:

      She’s not sober.

      • MM2 says:

        I think you are confused becasue you missed the point & spirit of this entire article. You seem like part of the group who called her fat back in the 90s and now that that’s passe, you’ll attacked her in other ways without any concern to her being an actual human (or what that does to other human who hear your comments).
        So it continues…

    • MM2 says:

      I watched that interview. She seemed nervous, was trying to pick her words carefully & had that slightly twangy voice that she’s always had. She didn’t sound smashed at all & has been really open about her sobriety.

      • psl says:

        I think it is funny that you assume I was “part of the group that called her fat”. Aren’t you doing the same thing to me, that you accuse me of doing to her?

        Have a nice day.

      • MM2 says:

        No, I’m pointing out that you are doing something extremely similar to that group. It’s an analogy, so if you do not think that was cool, maybe you should take a moment & think about what you are saying now. Calling people fat effects them & the other people around who hear you say that & it’s a mean spirited judgement call. Calling people smashed who are talking about their sobriety also effects them, all the people around who may be thinking of sobriety or are sober (your words are not helpful to this cause) & is a mean spirited judgement call, which is likely not even true. Our words matter & glad I could make you feel the funnies.

        I hope you have a nice day too!

      • psl says:

        It’s not that “I don’t think it is cool”, it is that I think you are wrong.

    • MarcelMarcel says:

      Sometimes our collective beliefs about addiction impact how we perceive an individual person. Someone might be nervous, tired, excited or even hungry and it impacts how they verbally communicate. A person might just have an accent or cadence that’s unfamiliar to you. A person could be on medication for chronic illness which impacts their ability to speak.
      Anyhow, if you don’t know that a person is addict would you assume that’s due to substance use? Are making you assumptions about Jessica because she’s been open about her sobriety? Most importantly, if someone was struggling would your comment help destigmatise drug use? Or does your comment contribute to a negative culture that enables addiction & overdoses by continuing to demonise it.
      🧐

  16. MaryContrary says:

    I struggled with body image so much as a teen and young adult. I am tall with an hourglass shape, which I’ve learned to love. But as a teen in the early 80s surrounded by tiny women I felt like an Amazon. It was seriously awful.

  17. Darla says:

    I hate the jeans I’m not gonna lie, but her body is banging. The problem was the 90′s hangover. The 90′s were the decade of the anorexic as the ideal. Sometimes I blame David E Kelly, I really do. But I know he was only another disgusting cog in that wheel. (Joss Whedon shares that same idea of the ideal body and I’m convinced he’s why SMG physically disappeared by season 4). And I’ll tell you something; starvation is WORK man. And if you can keep women busy starving so that they take up as little room as possible, they don’t have time for much else.

    • psl says:

      Yes, late 90′s early 2000′s being extremely skinny was “in”. I am 5’6 and usually in the 130-135 range weight-wise, got down to 110 and had 11% body fat. I wanted to look like Calista, Jen, Courteney…..look at all women that time period. It was crazy.

    • Lucy2 says:

      That era was really bad. All of the models were like Kate moss stick skinny, and actresses as well. And now it’s super curvy with tiny waists. Women can’t win.

  18. Jaded says:

    I hid my body away for most of my younger years. I’m slender and boyish from the waist down but my boobs…gawd they were ginormous (I had a reduction in 2007, smartest thing I ever did). They just attracted SO MUCH unwanted attention from guys accidentally on purpose banging into them to outright gawking and comments. So I basically dressed in baggy shirts and dresses, always wore jackets or loose shirts over sweaters and tees. I’ve known lots of women who were like “Fukc you guys I’m showing off these babies” but I was never one of them. Even after the reduction I still felt shy about wearing tight-fitting clothing. Guess it’s hard to unlearn after all those years. Anyway all that to say I really admire Jessica for coming out with the difficulties she faced and I’m glad she’s in a happy place with a lovely family and supportive husband.

    • Ania says:

      Oh Jaded I feel you. I got big boobs at 14, it was horrible. Everyone referring to me as “Ania with boobs”…. well I guess I don’t have to repeat what you wrote. And my family members commenting on this.. Even the comments supposed to be nice were annoying, like this was the only subject worth mentioning.

      I am so happy now that the body culture is changing and I am more conscious about what I say to and about my daughter. But I have a lot to explain to my mum as she loves to comment how my daughter has a “slender body” and “you can see she will grow to be slim”….. My girl is 3! My mom at 60 still obsesses about diet, she looks amazing and I still hate to serve her dinner etc because she always says “oooh not so much! I’ve gained a pound!”. It makes me really sad, because I know she longs for the days when she was the pretty woman in her circle and now she doesn’t know how to define herself.

      I hope my daughter’s generation of women will be more happy to be the women the are, not feel this pressure to fit in what’s currently perceived as beautiful. Oh I could go on on this subject for ages.

    • MerlinsMom1018 says:

      @Jaded
      My middle daughter is tiny and thin even now (38). She had seriously big boobs when she was a teenager. She also hid them with baggy shirts, etc…(she always said that the grunge era was meant just for her). As she has gotten older she lost alot of them (calls it a miracle) but both of her teenage daughters have big boobs now (18 & 17) and both are under 5′. The oldest has seen a doc about a reduction that’s how bad it is for her.
      I feel for anyone struggling with this

  19. emmy says:

    Her book is great, I finished it a few days ago. I think we may all want to stop discussing the details of her body because it’s 2021 and we should all know better. It’s also been such an issue for her for most of her adult life and there a million more interesting things about her. She looks great, always has.

  20. Amy Too says:

    I’m having thoughts about how her body shape contributed to the fascination around her virginity. Like people found it extra hard to accept that she was *really* a good girl Christian who was saving herself for marriage because she had big boobs. And there was a lot of talk about “how can she be saving herself for marriage and still dress all super sexy?” But it wasn’t necessarily her clothing that was making people think she was trying to be super sexy, it was the fact that she was wearing a shirt while she had big boobs. Outfits that we wouldn’t comment on when worn by someone like Jennifer Aniston would be considered too sexy and slutty for Jessica.

    I had that same problem as a teenager. I was short with huge boobs, and my mom was super concerned about me looking slutty, from the age of like 13 and up. She wanted me to buy minimizer bras or sports bras to push my boobs down and make them look small when all my friends just had regular, cute bras in fun colors. She was extremely concerned about anything that was figure skimming, let alone figure hugging, and basically wanted me to wear turtle necks and hooded sweatshirts all the time. And it wasn’t because I *was* sexually active or flirty or trying to look sexy, it was just because I had boobs. And it didn’t stop at tops. Because I had these boobs that drew attention to the top, I wasn’t allowed to wear short-shorts or skirts that were above my knees when all of the other kids were wearing these cute little shorts and rompers and baby doll dresses. It was actually hard to find clothing for a teen that was long enough and covered up enough because that just wasn’t the style.

    I got her concern because starting in middle school I started getting comments about how big my boobs were and boys would say things and girls would say things and people assumed I was ditzy and slutty because of my body shape. Male teachers would look at me in gross ways, female teachers treated me like I was a bad girl. Boys and even girls felt like it was okay to come up and poke me in the boob or ask if my boobs were real. Seriously? People thought I had breast enhancement surgery while I was a freshman? Or was that just a more acceptable “I’m just asking questions” way to talk about my boobs?

    But I still didn’t like the fact that my mom was telling me I had to wear different clothes than everyone else and cover up my whole body just because I had boobs. Why did I have to change my style based on the gross way other people acted? Why couldn’t we just teach people that it’s not okay to fixate on someone’s body shape and make assumptions about their moral character because of it? I felt like my mom was telling me I *was* slutty and attention seeking and too sexy because I wanted to wear normal clothes.

    • matahari33 says:

      This brought me to tears because I feel you so hard, sis. I went from “mosquito bites” to like a DD at a young age. My mom HATED my breasts for some reason. I learned to hate them to because EVERYONE would stare at them, even if it was a quick glance from a middle or high school teacher. Male or female. I avoided a lot of tops that emphasized my breasts. I regret that now because they were and are a beautiful part of my body.

      I never had back problems because of them ( I have a sturdy Norwegian frame, ha), but I hate all the shame people gave me growing up. Bullying seems like less of a thing now, but the slut-shaming for having a slender body and big breasts was REAL.

      I love Jessica and remember when this “news story” came out. Even my overweight friends were criticizing her. It was really effed up, she’s probably about 140 in these photos but who cares what the number was??

      I’ve listened to her auto-biography on Audible more than I care to admit because she I find her speaking voice soothing, and her story juicy and truthful. She’s a treasure as far as I’m concerned.

  21. Anne Call says:

    In the late 90’s Vogue magazine and “high” fashion pushed the idea of extremely thin women as chic role models. They’ve done a huge disservice to women and female empowerment. Very few women look like that and starving yourself is not healthy. Watching a fashion show with a never ending stream of unhappy skeletal women parading around is pretty depressing. Good news is that designers like Christian Sirano and others are using all shapes and sizes now.

    • Betsy says:

      Very, very thin is still very much the look though, even though there are signs the other direction, finally. You read about how once these models hit their early twenties and their body wants to size up and what they have to do to keep it as slim as they were when they were teens. And why do we have to chase an aesthetic that even models can’t maintain without a hell of a lot of work? I believe there are women who are very thin their whole lives, but it’s just not a terrifically common body type and I don’t know why clothes are cut for them when they’re quite rare.

  22. mappy says:

    why are women getting selfesteem cues from magazines anyway?

    • Betsy says:

      Because our brains take in images. It’s not that they’re taking in self esteem cues, it’s that our brains literally go, oh this is how women should look.

  23. manda says:

    So, these aren’t mom jeans. They are high-wasted flares. Mom jeans are not tight like that throughout the leg. I know outlets are calling them mom jeans but they aren’t, mainly bc mom jeans weren’t a real style when this happened. https://www.the-sun.com/entertainment/356990/jessica-simpson-fat-shaming-mom-jeans/

    Super flares are not usually flattering on shorter people, even if they wear four inch heels, like JS usually does. On top of that, that gigantic belt. It was just not a flattering outfit

  24. Meime says:

    I feel her on this. I’ve struggled from binge eating disorder since I was 12. I’ve been a size 22 and a size 4. I’ve restricted, purged, counted calories, over exercised, used food as a reward and as a punishment. At 37, I’m a size 14 and yes, for some recent health issues I’d like to lose some weight, but after a LOOOOT of work, I am done with diet culture and expectations of what I think “SHOULD” look like. I focus on my health now. I eat good food for my health. I stay active and exercise for my health. And to be a good role model for my 2 year old daughter, so she can develop good habits. We don’t talk about weight. I don’t weigh myself. I don’t talk negatively about my body. I don’t use desserts/treats as a reward or punishment. We try to have balance in what we eat. I don’t care if someone thinks I’m “fat” anymore. Bodies, healthy bodies, come in all shapes and sizes and what you choose to do with yours is your choice. I’m extremely grateful that there is more body positivity now, but still see so many young women striving for perfection and constantly talking about diets.

  25. what's inside says:

    I found carrying extra weight was like having body armor. It warded off all kinds of unwanted attention and did not bother me until I developed health issues from it. Now I do what I need to do to improve my health. Fashion should never be the gauge by which you live. The way you want to live is vastly more important and being true to your authentic self.

  26. Hello Kitty says:

    I waited tables at Ruth’s Chris in Baton Rouge when she was filming Dukes. Can confirm that in real life at the time Jessica Simpson was teeny tiny, like the size of a pre-teen, was literally orange from spray tan, had harsh long white extensions and an absolutely STUNNING face like unbelievably beautiful to the point where you wonder that it’s possible there are humans this attractive on the planet.