Jessica Simpson opened up to Maria Shriver and Ali Wentworth about her body image and emotional eating at the Women's Conference in Long Beach, Calif.
On the public's obsession with her weight:
"I feel like people are constantly curious as to how much I weigh or what I look like or what I wear," Simpson said. "There's no way you're not going to be affected by the ugly things people say about you. It's very hurtful. It definitely brings up a lot of your own insecurities."
Simpson is hardly a fattie. If she went out in Midtown she’d still be "that hot girl" at the bar, regardless if she’s 10-15 pounds over her goal weight. However, that’s her point — she feels self-conscious even at a healthy weight.
While it’s refreshing to hear that even booblicious stars have body image issues, perhaps we should hold Jessica Simpson to a higher standard. Her stunning good looks and curvaceous figure contributed heavily to her success. She made the conscious choice to market her sex appeal, especially when she took the role as Daisy in The Dukes of Hazard and pranced around in an itty-bitty bikini in the music video for “These Boots Are Made for Walking.”
If her beauty and pilates-toned bod got us staring at her to begin with, isn’t it only fair to criticize?
People rarely comment on Aretha Franklin’s or Susan Boyle’s weight. It's recognized that they are larger ladies, but this is irrelevant to their careers since they never banked on their looks. Similarly, if your dentist packed on the pounds it wouldn't affect your confidence in his or her dentistry abilities.
Simpson is more sex symbol than singer. As unfair as it sounds, her appearance is pivotal to her fulfillment of this role. (She doesn’t have to play this part forever, though — Tyra Banks transitioned from Victoria’s Secret model to an over-the-top and body-confident talk show host.)
Even if Jessica Simpson owes her stardom to her sex appeal, the obsessive focus on her yo-yoing weight only hurts everyone. It conditions us to accept negative remarks about others’ bodies. Reading headlines that a “fat” Simpson tipped the scales at 130 pounds make the few Americans who are not overweight or obese (a mere 34 percent of us, according to a Center for Disease Control study) irritatingly body-conscious.
What is more annoying than a skinny bitch complaining about being fat? You know the drill — a size four stands in front of the mirror and whines to her roomie, “Do I look fat in this?”
“You’re not fat,” the roommate responds.
“But do I look fat?” At best she’s self-doubting, at worst disgustingly self-involved.
Not to mention that the negativity does little to motivate the average American woman who weighs 164.7 pounds and stands just under 5-foot-4. (By the way, the average American man isn’t doing much better at 5-foot-9 and 194.7 pounds.) Encouraging weight loss for purely aesthetic reasons glosses over the troubling health crisis facing America.
Perhaps it is our worries about our own weight that help sell celebrity tabloids. If one of the sexiest women in America has body image issues, suddenly she's not so different from us.