Since the mid-1990s, when Kate Winslet first dared act in movies while housing her inner consciousness and internal organs within an incredibly beautiful body, headlines have declared her “brave” for doing so. Winslet, blessedly, for her part, has generally remained chill about living in a human shell, expressing longstanding irritation at using airbrushing in ongoing attempts to make her body appear thinner; proclaimed her own, natural pubes good enough for The Reader; and most recently, saying that scenes which showed her stomach in Mare of Easttown were fine as is and did not need whittling down to what executives reasoned was a more audience-pleasing size.
However, the conversation around this tendency of Kate Winslet’s to declare that audiences and filmmakers get the body they get when choosing her for a project often borders on cruelty, while ostensibly extolling her bravery. Take, for example, today’s piece in The Guardian titled “Kate Winslet Shows There’s More to Middle Age Than a Saggy Belly.” Here is the opener:
“Kate Winslet has always had guts. But for her to have a belly, let alone one that wobbles and jiggles in the way most 45-year-old women’s middles quite unremarkably do, is still apparently a thing so shocking as to make headline news.”
While the sentiment of the piece is that once again Winslet has used the reality of her body to authentically portray a character, this time one in her mid-forties, to great effect, this is a conversation that has been ongoing since she was 18. Kate Winslet is not some sad, haggard old lady with whom all of us normies might commiserate as we hobble toward the scary old age of 47. Kate Winslet is gorgeous and a great actor who has made quite a few truly exceptional films and television series. As The Guardian piece notes, “Alarm bells should always ring when a woman is called brave for taking her clothes off,” yet the writing once again acts like Kate Winslet is brave for daring to be very hot and great at her job, which in this case was portraying a middle-class woman who lets her roots grow out, sleeps in shitty old tee shirts and worn-out Old Navy pajama pants, and whose body looks like a body. Yet we keep indulging this weird chorus of bravery chatter every single time Kate Winslet takes her clothes off. It’s been 27 years. Can we please talk about something else?