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Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth

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

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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.”

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! 😬

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What Smith leaves unsaid: Of course it will work.

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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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