Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rock on, Kate Winslet... kinda

by Chloe Angyal

Kate Winslet, The Sydney Morning Herald reports today, refused to use a body double or lose weight for the nude scenes in her most recent film The Reader, wanting a completely realistic look for her character.

Rock on. I hope this becomes a real trend, and not just the occasional few flashes of sanity: last year, Keira Knightly refused to let studio execs photoshop her breasts on a movie poster to make them appear larger.

Describing her own body, Kate admits to having aged, but maintains she is proud of her flawed physique, saying: "Here we go, I have a crumble baby belly, boobs are worse for wear after two kids... I'm doing all right. I'm 33. I don't look in the mirror and go, 'Oh, I look fantastic!' Of course I don't.

I was with her until, "Of course I don't," a statement that totally normalizes negative body image. Why shouldn't she, or any other woman for that matter, look in the mirror and say, "Oh, I look fantastic!"? Winslet makes the idea of a woman looking in the mirror and being satisfied (or even - God forbid - happy) with what she sees sound totally ludicrous.

And frankly, these days it is. Fifty-four percent of women would rather be hit by a truck than be fat, and 81% of ten-year-olds are afraid of being fat. One in five women suffer from an eating disorder or disordered eating. In our society, negative body image is normal. It's the people who love their bodies who are unusual. Imagine living in a world where negative body image wasn't the norm, and the where people who didn't say "I look fabulous" when they looked in the mirror were a small minority, instead of a depressingly vast majority.

Ms. Winslet did win me back with this, though:

"Nobody is perfect. I just don't believe in perfection. But I do believe in saying, 'This is who I am and look at me not being perfect!' I'm proud of that."

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