Jennifer Hudson's dramatic weight loss has generally been praised in the media, but last night the tide shifted. After her appearance at the Oscars, several commentators asked, "is Jennifer Hudson too thin?"
Hudson showed up to the ceremony in an orange Atelier Versace dress, which we found notable mainly for the unflattering way it positioned her boobs. However, it seems we missed the bigger story of the night. Apparently there's a fine line between thin enough that you are no longer considered a failure at life (despite your Oscar and Grammy) and being so skinny nutritionists must feign concern about your well-being in the press.
Though Hudson's Weight Watchers campaign has sent some mixed messages, she and the company have emphasized that her goals were "feeling good" and being healthy, not fitting into a certain dress size (she was eventually pushed into revealing that she lost 80 pounds).
Today in an Oscars fashion wrap-up, CBS News asked dietitian Marisa Sherry to comment on Hudson's weight loss. She said:
"Jennifer Hudson's appearance left me wondering how far she has pushed the Weight Watchers diet ... She looks good, but each time I see her she seems to be getting skinnier and skinnier and she's now at the point where I would start to question how far she will go."
Though we haven't whipped out a tape measure and studied Hudson's proportions ourselves, she seems to be in roughly the same weight range as she was when she shot her Weight Watchers ads. Her weight loss may have been more noticeable last night because her gown was more revealing than other outfits she's worn in recent months, but she wasn't alarmingly thin, especially when compared to other actresses.
While Sherry was worried about Hudson wasting away, Emma Collins of Hollyscoop.com celebrated her ostensibly-emaciated look. She wrote:
Jennifer Hudson has pulled a disappearing act on us. She was so svelte in her Tangerine Orange Versace dress at the Oscars, she nearly vanished when she turned to the side.
Okay, slight over-exaggeration, but seriously, she looks great!
Yes, the only way she could have looked better is if she had vanished!
The most bizarre attack on Hudson's weight came from Allure Editorial Assistant Alison Caporimo, who wrote:
At a friend's Oscar party last night, a much-thinner Jennifer Hudson was the conversation topic of the evening. "She looks fabulous," one friend said. "Really stunning...and so thin!" The entire room nodded in agreement. However, as the moments passed and Jennifer continued to stand, statuesquely, on the interview platform, the dialogue about her brand new bod started to take on a different shape. "You know," the same friend began, "I think she might be too thin, you know? I liked her better when she was in the middle: not overweight, but not too skinny."
Caporimo ties her friends' reactions to a study about women being driven to distraction by jealousy, and continues:
Were we blind to [Hudson's] new, more attractive body because we just couldn't handle our subconscious envy? Or was there something larger at play here? In a culture where thin is always in, we can't help but feed the system with our own indulgences in "diet" this and "zero calorie" that. But when faced with a tangible representation of that obsession (a voluptuous Hudson turned a size 2), do we feel a bit ashamed of our own weight craze?
Are media commentators really hating on Hudson's thinner body because they're jealous or angry about her being subjected to society's weight obsession? If they are that's something they need to discuss privately with their therapist. The more plausible explanation is less psychologically complex. As a society, we're anything but "blind" to Hudson's altered, "more attractive body" (of course, thinner=prettier), and female celebrities' bodies are considered a matter of public interest. There have already been hundreds of articles about how many pounds she lost, how she lost the weight, and how you can do it to. Now it's time to come at the story from a new angle, and worrying about celebrities' dangerous diets is how nutritionists who don't treat the stars stay in business. It doesn't matter that what's being said about Hudson is obviously untrue, because women's bodies are never, ever just right.
Jennifer Hudson Oscars 2011 (PICTURES): Stunning Or Too Thin? [CBS News]
Jennifer Hudson: Secrets Behind Her Drastic Weight Loss [Hollyscoop]
Jennifer Hudson's New Bod: Do You Respect It Or Resent It? [Allure]