Through My Eyes: Body Image, Jennifer Lawrence & The Media

(Image courtesy of Buzzfeed.)

In the past few days, a certain Huffington Post article has appeared in my Facebook news feed. Normally, I will read the article and comments, then step away because I'd rather not risk confrontation by sharing my opinion. This time, however, I felt more and more compelled to say something, which leads us to this post.

Blogger Jenny Trout wrote "Jennifer Lawrence Body-Shames You More Than You Might Realize" on her blog before a modified version appeared on Huffington Post. In summary, Trout argues that the soundbites of body positivity shared by Jennifer Lawrence are actually soundbites of body-shaming because Jennifer Lawrence is "conventionally beautiful" by media standards.

Because I try to avoid confrontation, finding the words for this post has been difficult. I would like to begin by saying that Trout has points I agree with. For example, Jennifer Lawrence has said some things that are problematic. Also, if Melissa McCarthy were to say the same thing as Jennifer Lawrence, she would be vilified because of her size.

However, my biggest point of dissent is where the author places blame. When I read the article, I feel as though the author shames Lawrence for falling into a standard of beauty held by the media and determines that, because of her beauty, Lawrence cannot be a spokeswoman for body positivity.

First, while some of the things that Lawrence has said regarding body positivity is problematic, I would like to remind everyone that everyone says something problematic from time to time. We are not perfect. Jennifer Lawrence is not perfect - she is 23 years old and making the mistakes 23 year olds make.

I would know, I am 23 years old.

When I make a mistake, or say something that is troublesome, I expect for my friends and family to point me in the right direction and allow me to learn and move on. Jennifer Lawrence is expected to somehow be better because she is in the public eye. But we are all people who can only do our best and we all deserve the chance to become more knowledgable and move forward.

Second, instead of being angry at Jennifer Lawrence for becoming a spokeswoman for body positivity and having an acceptable body by the media's standards (except they photoshopped that same acceptable body), let's hold the media to a higher standard. Let's force the media to value traits like bravery, kindness, honesty, diligence, humor, and silliness. Let's allow women to be fat, thin, athletic, or any other body type without shame or guilt or fear.

As women, we need to embrace each other and hold each other up and hold the media up to a higher standard. We cannot do that if we cannot be kind to one another.

This has been tagged with zerotohero because it fulfills the day three challenge. When I created this blog, I pictured myself writing criticisms and commentaries on pop culture. This is the type of post I wanted to write and I finally wrote one. Also, I know this topic can be touchy, so please keep your comments kind and grownup. 

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