Hilary Duff And The Celebrities Who Regret Being "Too Skinny"

Illustration for article titled Hilary Duff And The Celebrities Who Regret Being "Too Skinny"

In the November issue of Health, Hilary Duff reportedly regrets being too skinny as a teenager. "I don't think I was happy then," she admits, joining a small but growing group of celebs who go public with their body acceptance.

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Kylie Minogue says she also used to be "too skinny," until she underwent chemotherapy to treat her breast cancer and put on some weight. "When I look back at some pictures, I just think, 'That's too thin, that doesn't look good,'" she says. "Now everything's changed. It's coming back to normal—whatever normal is. New normal."

Duff and Minogue aren't the only ones to find some sort of peace in being their bodily selves:

  • Ashley Tisdale, who told Shape magazine that "being a bit more curvy and toned is so much more beautiful."
  • Kristen Wiig — who, even as a skinny child, was called "Kristen Pig" — claims to have been too thin when she was "younger."
  • Ellen Pompeo, who gained some weight after having a baby. "I weigh 10 pounds more than I ever have. I love it, because everyone always told me I was too skinny before... [My weight] doesn't matter to me. I have a healthy baby."
  • Mirrors 2 actress Christy Romano, who gained "maybe 10 pounds" after moving from L.A. to New York. "Now I'm in New York and they're fattening me up, which is great!"
  • Even Lindsay Lohan has been quoted as missing the boobs she'd once lost during a spate of hyper-thinness, though it's been a while.

While finding acceptance with one's body is a good thing, it's a little stange — and also sad — that this is the sort of thing about which a celebrity "goes public." And it's still rare. On the other end of the spectrum, Christina Hendricks and her curves have been praised, but at some expense: now it seems people can't stop talking about her body, and it's making her nervous. (If she starts talking about eating a lot of roasted chicken breasts, we'll know what happened.)

All chicken-dinner projections aside, Duff et al demonstrate that there is another way to live in Hollywood that doesn't depend on dieting. Of course, these are celebrities who have a degree of confidence seems to be the major factor here: The Hollywood star industry feeds off of women's insecurities, and promotes the idea that one can never be too thin by continually presenting audiences with a certain beauty ideal. (You can blame snack foods for this as well.) But as we all know, when staying thin becomes a preoccupation, as it did for Duff and others, you can be too thin. Why else would she be unhappy, if she weren't feeling pressured to be thinner than she wanted to be? When she started focusing on she wanted, she became happier. Would it be nice if other stars followed her lead?

Hilary Duff: 'I Regret Being Skinny' [Digital Spy]

DISCUSSION

raisin-girl
Raisin.Girl

I have a theory about this.

Part of being a success as a woman (hell, sometimes part of just existing as a woman, think I on my bleaker days) is looking good (meaning conventionally beautiful) and making it look effortless, part of which isn't letting on that you're compromising yourself in your struggle to conform to conventional beauty standards, or that you wish it wasn't as much of a hassle as it can be.

This goes for women like me, who just have to go out in public on a daily basis, but obviously it goes double for women in the media spotlight.

The media in the form of tabloid magazines consistently celebrates what I no longer call natural beauty and now think of as seemingly effortless beauty, in girls such as Beyonce, Veronica Mars (whatever her real name is), Kristen Stewart, Miranda Kerr, Rachel McAdams, etc, etc on the one hand, and unexpectedly and savagely attack women like Heidi Whats-Her-Name, Paris Hilton, Danni Minogue, who are sometimes more obvious examples of the deliberate conscious effort it takes to be conventionally beautiful - ie plastic surgery, excessive fake tanning, laughable fashion choices, etc, etc.

When female celebrities start getting skinnier and the media sledges them for it, I think that apart from the general "Yesterday we loved her, today we hate her, tomorrow we'll probably love her again" mentality, there is also an element of discomfort at the sheer bald obviousness of the struggle to conform to beauty standards and thus be validated.

The attitude seems (to me) to be that a girl who's naturally blessed with beauty, and thus to be idolised and celebrated, wouldn't get "too" thin because she's not having to make any conscious effort to conform to the current beauty standard of slender yet toned. Whereas the girls who start off glowing and beautiful whose weight drops as their star rises... It's uncomfortable. Because they're spoiling the illusion of effortless perfection and the media has mixed feelings about that. It's less about starlets being accused of upholding unhealthy body ideals (I'm sorry, but I honestly don't think tabloid magazines give a flying fuck about this and it's just a load of lip service) as opposed to ruining the fantasy that beauty and therefore success come effortlessly.

See also the mockery that older women, such as Madonna, are subjected to in their efforts to stay looking young and beautiful. Because it's just that: an effort, and god forbid we start asking ourselves exactly why a 50 year old woman is made to feel that she needs to look 25 or she'll disappear forever.

Wow, that was an epically long post. It's times like this I wish I wasn't hours behind the rest of you and could actually contribute actively to discussion as opposed to stand poking with futile desperation at the greasy spot on the ground where the dead horse lay before it decomposed.