In What Way Does Will Smith Need a 'Fitness Journey'?

Illustration for article titled In What Way Does Will Smith Need a 'Fitness Journey'?
Screenshot: Instagram

Yesterday, the tabloid press was abuzz after Will Smith posted on Instagram: “I’m gonna be real wit yall - I’m in the worst shape of my life.” He was not the first celebrity to discuss their pandemic related “weight gains,” and in fact, this post contributed to what Jezebel editor Kelly Faircloth previously described as a “decades-long pattern in the way America talks about weight.”

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Now, he’s announced a show documenting his “fitness journey” on YouTube, which feels like the inevitable conclusion to the dozens of articles written about his initial post.

In a post announcing his new show, Smith said:

This is the body that carried me through an entire pandemic and countless days grazing thru the pantry. I love this body, but I wanna FEEL better. No more midnight muffins…this is it! Imma get in the BEST SHAPE OF MY LIFE!!!!! Teaming up with @YouTube to get my health & wellness back on track. Hope it works! 😬

What Smith leaves unsaid: Of course it will work.

I’m not in the business of dictating how other people might feel about their bodies, but how, exactly, is it in any way helpful or interesting to watch one of the richest and most successful celebrities in Hollywood get in “the best shape of my life!!!!!” In fact, this announcement feels even more manipulative by the casual nature of his original post, under which he wrote that he was in the “worst shape of his life.”

The copy even sounds the same.

In “The Weight,” Kelly Faircloth wrote what I believe to be the quintessential summary of this trend of celebrity fitness “inspo” and its place in the general wellness ecosystem. I’ll let her be the final say on this:

It’s not like anybody is surprised to hear they’ve gained 20 pounds in the pandemic; people know whether their pants fit or don’t fit. It’s not a shock that a year of stress would result in some weight gain, and much of America has spent the last year with much, much bigger problems than an additional 10 pounds. And, too, many Americans have been more concerned about having enough to eat, as evidenced by long lines at food pantries across the country. [...] The discussion of personal health, over and over again, is framed in terms of weight, rather than centering the practices that are good for all bodies—exercise and healthy eating—regardless of size. And, too, the obsession with personal responsibility obscures the possibilities for structural solutions.

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Speaking of Instagram, Billie Lourd shared a picture of her baby Kingston watching his grandmother Carrie Fisher in Star Wars. It predictably moved most of the Jezebel newsroom to some stage of tears:

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The Real Housewives “All-Star” spinoff feels less like a gathering of the most beloved The Real Housewives castmembers, and more like a meeting of the supervillains.

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Can someone explain the caption on this to me? “Domesticated.” What does it mean, Vanessa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Ellen DeGeneres’s car is really expensive. [Just Jared]
  • Angelina Jolie updates. [ET]
  • Of course Paris Hilton’s shirt was photoshopped. [ET]
  • Leigh-Anne Pinnock is pregnant. [People]

DISCUSSION

fast-k
Assistant Undersecretary of Only Okay

Like most American women I have struggled with my body image in a pretty casual, every day way. Like, it bums me out, makes me feel insecure, but my relationship with my body has never been one of the largest dictators of my lifestyle. So the body positivity movement has never been a community I feel comfortable in. The pressure to feel “beautiful” or “sexy” feels alienating to me. I don’t feel those ways about my body, and not just because of the rolls, or the stretch marks, but because living in my body often feels awkward.

So I decided to reframe body “positivity” for myself in a way my brain can grasp better. I try to love my body for what it does for me. For myself, I have high endurance for hiking and biking, so I love my body for being able to walk me up and down hills for hours. I love my fingernails for protecting me for those times my knife slips, or how they can peal an onion. I try to find my skin fascinating in how stretchy it is. My skin bag carries around so many bones, and those bones keep my arms in one place and my toes in another! It’s so cool! I love my mouth for just making so much saliva, a gross but also interesting substance I don’t even think about producing, but it just comes oozing out of this fleshbag I pilot. Even, as much as I complain about it, my body having such a strict internal clock and scheduling my period for almost exactly every four weeks, how did it know it’s been four weeks? These days I can’t consciously tell the difference between the days of the week, but my uterus has a fuckin’ calendar. That’s so weird and cool!

Anyway, if you want to join my movement that I in no way plan to organize, you’re welcome to. This brand of thought has honestly helped me appreciate my body in a way I never was able to before. We are all bizarre, fascinating, gross, interesting organisms full of pus and glands and bones and blood. That makes us all really fantastic.