Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Why I Think Jennifer Lawrence is a Role Model

Did you catch the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show on Tuesday night? Yeah, me neither. I was watching  Cupcake Wars On Demand while I laid in my bed with my new companion Nausea.

I'm writing this today because of two things I read/watched in succession on the inter webs. First I watched this video:

A friend posted it to Facebook and, let's be honest, the cover picture of the video on the post was of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, and that's why I clicked to watch.

And then I read this blog post from the Grits and Bottle Rockets blog. The combination of the two got me thinking about how poorly women are represented in the media, and how the media has spread to so many parts of our current technological lives. That spread has made it entirely too influential, as is obvious by the tweets in the above blog post.

I traced my train of thought backwards to where it started: Jennifer Lawrence.

It started with Jennifer Lawrence because, as mentioned, she was pictured as Katniss on the original video link I watched. And I remembered a quote of hers I read recently that said "In Hollywood, I'm obese. I'm considered a fat actress." - a notion which I find absolutely ridiculous and overwhelmingly appalling. Have you seen her? If she's obese, I'm a six-hundred pound human who has to get lifted out of a house by a crane.

That thought lead me to remember the interview she did on the The Hunger Games: Catching Fire press tour. It was Global Fan Day, and since I'm a Hunger Games fanatic (not ashamed to admit it), maybe I watched all of the interviews that day.

Anyway, at the "Fireside Chat" Jen did along with the film's director Francis Lawrence at Yahoo!, she was asked a question about body image and weight. Jennifer Lawrence has, in her short yet illustrious career, been outspoken on how women are portrayed in the media and how it's not right to set such a standard because it's an unrealistic standard. (I would also like to add this chat was moderated by a woman, Marissa Mayer, who at 38 is president and CEO of Yahoo!. That's prettycool.)

"With these unrealistic expectations for women, it's disappointing that the media keeps it alive and fuels that fire... it's something that really bothers me because I love to eat." And there it is. In that two minutes she's said it all about body image and weight and the fight that's happening in this world and will only get worse as time goes on.  As one of the #VSFashionShow tweets said, "You hear that? That's the sound of a million teenage girls purging".

Now it's TRUTH TIME.

I appreciate Jennifer's stance and sentiments in the above video becauseI've never found myself particularly good-looking. I think I'm okay looking. If I use the right products on my face and in my hair, wear an outfit I think is cute and flattering to my too short, too chubby body and weirdly-shaped-because-of-transplant-scars torso, then I'm okay looking.

If I use dark purple or dark blue eyeshadow my eyes will look a little bluer.

After my first kidney transplant, once all the excess fluid was gone from my cells thanks to the miracle of kidney function, I got down to 122 pounds. I was still a size 8.

I wear a lot of black because I look good in black, being so fair, but I think deep down it's because black is slimming.

I'm not ever going to be that woman who walks down the street that guys check out or whistle at or think is "sexy".

I know I'm never going to have the figure of Adriana Lima or Jennifer Lawrence. I don't have the facial symmetry that makes a model a model.

I'm not entirely okay with the way I look. I wish I was skinny, I wish I had thicker hair, I wish I was taller, but I'm not. I can't fix short. Working on the other stuff is the best I can do, so long as I'm working towards realistic expectations. Healthy does not equate skinny.

America's new best friend likes to eat. She doesn't care what the media thinks about her, or that she may be considered "a fat actress". It's more important to her to leave the dog and pony show in the arena and be a strong, confident woman who will gladly admit that when she's not working, she hangs out at home, on the couch, with Ben & Jerry. She'd rather be candid and real than airbrushed and fake.

Jennifer Lawrence is someone with a message of a positive body image who can inspire women to do more than just hit the gym and eat carrots for the rest of their lives because they don't look like that in a million-dollar bra and matching panties.

That is a message that should be heard and heeded from a woman who is a role model for women of all ages.

Hardly anyone looks amazing in a million-dollar bra anyway. Isn't the point of a million-dollar bra to notice the bra and not the wearer?

Post Script: Truth Time was not meant for pity or compliments. I need neither. It seemed on par to be candid in this post. If you have a compliment, go look in the mirror and give it to yourself. You've earned it.

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