Lili Reinhart: the media worships only one size of women

Lili Reinhart has talked about body issues in the past. It’s something she feels strongly about, especially how the media is perpetuating an unobtainable body image for women. She’s spoken about photoshopping and the messages we’re sending young women. Lili has also discussed how hard she has been on herself in the past. This is heartbreaking because Lili is only 25 years old and has battled depression for over a decade. The comment in the headline is paraphrasing Lili’s point, which is that women come in all shapes and sizes and they are all beautiful. But many of us grew up with magazines and social media only presenting one body type as attractive.

Lili Reinhart is getting real about her body image and mental health.

In a series of Instagram Stories, the 25-year-old Riverdale star first shared a “love note” to her body, before revealing, “I’ve been struggling with obsessive thoughts about my body/weight the last few months and it’s gotten pretty severe in the last week.”

She added that she wanted to be “vulnerable and share” her inner battle “in the hope that any of you who are also struggling don’t feel so alone.”

“I’m here with you,” she added. “it’s challenging to look at your body with love instead of criticism. It’s a practice I’m still learning.”

Opening up about her experience with fame, she stated, “I didn’t think being in this industry, that is so obsessed with women’s bodies and weights, could ever mess with my own body acceptance and positivity.. but it has.”

“I wish I hadn’t grown up in a time where the media worshipped only one size of women,” the actress shared. “My body has carried me through 25 years of life. All my scars, tears, trauma… I wish I could love it more, even when it doesn’t look like it did when I was 20.”

She continued and said she’s “trying”, adding, “I know my body deserves equal love and admiration at any size.”

“To not feel at home in my own skin is a devastating feeling,” Reinhart wrote. “As if my body has betrayed me by changing.”

She revealed, “I’ve looked in the mirror and pulled my skin back tight to see what I *should* look like. What I’m expected to look like.. in an industry where you’re -inconvenient- when not a sample size.”

“It’s painful to think hundreds of millions of us are so concerned with what our bodies look like,” she continued. “That’s an incredibly broken system. Somewhere along the line, humanity really f—ed this one up.”

Reinhart noted, “I know I’m not alone in this toxic way of thinking about my body. And it’s heartbreaking that this feeling is understood by so many of us.”

She ended by urging her followers to “continue to talk about it. Normalize it. Empathize with others. Show compassion and kindness.”

[From People]

I think what Lili’s saying is important and not just for the reason’s she’s stating. I agree that there have to be more body types celebrated. For the record, I think it’s getting better, but we have a long way to go. Magazines are doing a better job than film and TV. But I know that there are those who look at a slim lady like Lili and tell her she has no right to say anything. I think she’s saying something, because body image doesn’t discriminate. Like what Jonah Hill said about making comments on a person’s physique, someone who struggles with how they look will always hear them a different way.

This also makes me sad because it reminds me of something I hear all the time from women in LA. Here, looks, weight and age are all women are defined by. That’s probably an over-generalization, but not by much. When you speak to most women in LA, they will mention that they’ve gained weight. It’s commonly couched in a joke but it’s usually incredibly cruel to themselves and likely one of the first things out of their mouths. What they’re saying is, I know you’re thinking it, so I’ll put it out there first. It just kills me to hear the next generation is still dealing with this. I like that she’s talking about it, and I love the idea that we all start showing each other compassion. I just wish I had some answers for you. Because if I’m being honest, I said some fairly unkind things to the chick in the mirror just this morning.


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A post shared by Lili Reinhart (@lilireinhart)


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A post shared by Lili Reinhart (@lilireinhart)

Photo credit: Instagram and InStar Images

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21 Responses to “Lili Reinhart: the media worships only one size of women”

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  1. Mama says:

    I hate my looks. My body. I hate how my age has changed me. I always assume if I was beautiful, thin, younger that I’d be happy with myself.. but the fact is I started dieting in 6th grade and have the diary to prove it. Now that I’m 50… I still dealing with disordered eating. I look in the mirror and hate what I see. I don’t think I’ll ever like it and as strong as I am and as much as I workout – my disordered eating keeps me from losing weight. Blah blah blah…. will it ever change? Probably not. I don’t see Hollywood all of a sudden making “real” women the stars of romantic comedies (without there being some big headline making it a brave choice.

  2. Red says:

    It’s wild because to an outsider, she is the beauty standard. We put these impossible beauty standards on women where even Victoria Secret models are still editing their photos and getting plastic surgery. And men will get angry at women when they aren’t beautiful or natural enough, because they expect those women to look like the Hollywood standard.

    • Korra says:

      I find her body enviable, but she is in an industry where she can’t escape someone in a position of power — a casting director, an agent, a studio exec — telling her that she needs to lose another x number of lbs. It is absolutely perverse, but it how this industry operates and won’t change until more people speak out.

  3. AmyB says:

    I am 53 years old now and grew up in the 80s/90s. After college, I developed severe anorexia (eating disorders have their root in deep psychological issues that get played out in self destructive behaviors involving your body/food/and mental health). That was the time of Kate Moss, and the original Supermodels. Victoria Secret models. Our society may *slightly* change the type of women’s body they worship – but for most it is unattainable. IMO, the focus should be much more on mental health and THAT relationship with your body, to let go of the toxicity of these thoughts. NOT an easy task at all! I spent decades in therapy and took me even longer to gain a normal relationship with food and exercise again, but I did it!! Looking back on that girl, I would never ever want to be her again! It is such a dark, prison-like place to me, and almost cost me my life! I applaud people like Lili standing up like this and realize how hard it must be. This shit is very real for so many women, and it’s terrible! But when you have so many models/influencers even photoshopping their own pics now??? UGH! I see the reality and toxicity of that – but I get so angry because the young impressionable girls who follow them, probably do NOT!!! (Hello Kardashians!)

  4. Erin says:

    @mama sending you love. I think back to when I was a teenager in the 90s being angry at the patriarchy and that nothing has changed for women. I’m so sorry so many of us are suffering from this. I myself first developed an eating disorder at 14. I’m a lot better now but it’s been 26 years of counting calories. I wish us all the strength and power to love ourselves as we deserve to

    • Mama says:

      Thank you. It is hard. I have a very strong daughter who I raised as best I could to love herself and it has paid off. She is happy with herself and eats what she wants, exercises, excels in her sport in college, etc. I strive to be more like her but it is hard. All those many years of hate ingrain themselves.

  5. Bettyrose says:

    I don’t work in the industry but I lived in Southern California for a decade and this was a major reason for why I left. I was at my thinnest those years. A slightly chubby size 4, hardly glamorous by those standards but I was fixated on my clothing size. The constant sunshine did seem to be an appetite suppressant. I rarely ate restaurant food. Lived on salads and ran daily. But I was still pissed off that men felt entitled to comment on my looks all the time. Or commented to me on other women’s looks. I used to say it was the place feminism went to die. Anyway I turned 40 and proudly posted bikini pics to prove I was still in the game. And by 42 I couldn’t live in that environment any more. I felt like I was alone in fighting body image BS. I’m no longer in SoCal. And I’m pandemic fat at this point. But Im in my late 40s now and honestly don’t GAF. I want to lose weight and be in shape again, but for me and my health. IDK if I have a point here other than do NOT let other people think they have the right to discuss your body. We have to be a united force in combating that BS.

    • Gabby says:

      Hi Bettyrose,

      Where did you end up moving to? I’ve been in Los Angeles for the past 12 years and am feeling the strain. Tired of obsessing about looks, calories, and comparing myself to others.
      I’m trying to convince my husband to get out of Cali but I’m not having any luck so far…

      • bettyrose says:

        I’m in the Bay Area, which is where I’m from originally. I left for years, lived a variety of places, and at times swore I’d never return, but here I am. It’s expensive and there are many challenges to life here, but it’s a very different culture than down south. I noticed immediately at my new workplace when I moved that there was zero tolerance for the type of sexist jokes that were commonplace in my prior work environment. I’ve often said though that I understand why people who aren’t from here (e.g. don’t have family and roots and reasons to stay) choose to leave. Especially if you can sell a house in California and take that equity elsewhere.

  6. mrsBump says:

    i fear that as long as our currency is linked to beauty ( and youth), this is a losing battle. Beauty standards may change, more different types of beauties may become acceptable, but there will always be a physical template that we will need to adhere to.
    Unlike us, men have more than 1 measure of worth, it can be power, wealth , influence , wisdom, strength etc.
    We need to rid ourselves of the tyranny of beauty, whatever the package it comes in

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      This is so true. But I don’t see it happening in my lifetime. Society (and not just my own country, this is universal) values women for their looks above all else. We “like,” “admire,” and “respect” the women who are more attractive, even if their credentials are the same. To some extent we do the same with men, but to a MUCH lesser degree. I don’t know how society will/can change that.

    • A. Key says:

      I completely agree, but it’s something women need to be taught even more so than men. Women teach each other that physical appearance matters (ever called a little girl pretty? there you go, that’s how it starts) Women compete with each other over appearance and bring each other down due to appearance. Men compete in talent and skill, but women compete in who’s the prettiest. There’s a lot to be said for female vanity and the need to be constantly desired by others and approved of. It’s ingrained in and the root of all these problems because the minute girls start to feel they are not desired or attractive their whole value system and self-worth breaks down. We need to change how that value system is constructed in the first place. A man is ok with being unattractive if he can prove himself skillful, smart, hardworking, successful. The concept of a woman needs to be constructed like that too. Less “the better/prettier/gentler/attractive side of Adam” and more “just another human being whose worth will be determined by their skills and behavior.”

  7. Nora says:

    Those pictures at the bottom! If they ever make a Brittany Murphy biopic, she should play her. The resemblance is uncanny.

    • bettyrose says:

      I’ve always thought that, and it endeared me to her early on because I was such a fan of Brittney Murphy. There was a biopic, though. Maybe on Lifetime? I really didn’t like the actress they chose, though. She didn’t look at all Like Brittney and just didn’t have Brittney’s charm. Google The Brittney Murphy Story.

  8. Crooksandnannies says:

    This is heartbreaking. I’ve had disordered eating for years and am approaching 30 and thinking “I was so crazy thinking I was fat 5, 10 years ago when I look so much worse NOW. I should have enjoyed it back then.” But I know that shouldn’t be the true takeaway. It’s so sad to hear someone who’s in their mid-20s already scared that their bodies aren’t what they used to be- she was a teenager less than 10 years ago!

    I do think now there isn’t more than one body type people approve. It’s just shifted. If you were super skinny but don’t “have curves” then you don’t fit into the standard. It’s moving toward thin with larger breasts and wider hips, which is even harder to accomplish and actually impossible without plastic surgery. I’m not saying one is worse, but things definitely aren’t getting better- just different.

  9. Margo says:

    Listen to ourselves!! Can you imagine talking to a friend the way you talk to yourself about your body? We are ALL BEAUTIFUL – I mean that sincerely. Look at yourself in the mirror and say these words out loud “You are beautiful and I love you.” Then go outside, no matter where you live, and walk around for five minutes – look up at the sky. Breathe deep. You are here – make the most of it.

  10. candy says:

    It’s hard as a woman because the prototypical look is so unachievable. I was around 135 pounds for years (as a 5’9″) woman and I had to exercise constantly to maintain that weight.

    I just don’t have that kind of time anymore. I have gained about 30 pounds since then (made worse by the pandemic) and I still don’t look big. It’s crazy to me how thin I used to be and still thought I was big. Most models and actresses are anorexic, except for a rare few who are just genetically very thin. But that is by far the exception. I do feel the pressure to be thin and I hope that with age I just get over that.

  11. thinking says:

    I think her body does fit the template standard for what is considered beautiful body-wise (flat stomach with a chest and no excess fat in the wrong places). I’m not sure what she has to do to maintain her figure, but she definitely has a beautiful physique. Social media is messing with everyone’s minds.

  12. Emily says:

    I too struggled with body image in my early 20s. I was a late bloomer so curves were new and I was also dealing with depression. Even now in my 30s when I feel better about myself, I still check myself out in the mirror multiple times a day to “make sure” I look okay, as if my body has magically gotten fatter.

    The super skinny look that was popular in the early 2000s wasn’t great. But the thin-thick look of IG models is almost entirely down to BBls, posing and photo editing. Even with diet and exercise it’s not achievable. It’s sad that it’s being monetized.

  13. Julia K says:

    We are all complicit, women as well as men. After my second baby, my body did weird things. I went down to 105, and was constantly being complimented on how great I looked, despite feeling unwell. My best co worker friend even said, “wow, your clothes just hang on you, I’m so jealous. ” I wondered then if my worth was tied to my weight, and this albatross has followed me forever.

  14. Ms. says:

    People do judge slim people, and they shouldn’t. You don’t know what kind of eating disorder or messed up mental gymnastics a person may be dealing with to have that figure. Doesn’t matter what age, either. Eating disorders and diet culture bs strikes people (not just women) of all ages.

    Intuitive eating is the best alternative to this madness I have seen. This obsession is outrageous and we have to get off the merry go round. It’s toxic and awful for our collective physical and mental health.