It’s been a big week for women’s weight in Hollywood.
The body image debate is perennially a trending topic, but recent events have seen several high-profile women take Hollywood and the fashion industry to task for their body dysmorphia problem.
First, former Victoria’s Secret model Erin Heatherton revealed she left the brand after she was told to lose weight for two of the brand’s famed runway shows, leading her to feel “really depressed” and consider skipping meals.
“I got to a point where one night I got home from a workout and I remember staring at my food and thinking maybe I should just not eat,” she told Time magazine’s Motto section.
In the same week, Italian designer label Gucci was lambasted for using an “unheathily thin” model in an online British advertising campaign.
The ad was banned by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority for being “irresponsible”, citing the model’s stance and dark eye makeup as making her appear “gaunt”.
Gucci shot back, describing the model’s weight as a “subjective issue” and arguing the models had “slim builds” but were not unhealthy.
It’s evidence of the unusually high demands placed on those in the public eye which have, in turn, redefined what is regarded “normal”.
Comedian Amy Schumer fell victim to Hollywood and the media’s ever-changing body standards this week when she found herself in the “plus-size” issue of Glamour magazine despite being a US size eight (Australian size 12) at her biggest.
“I think there’s nothing wrong with being plus size,” Schumer captioned a photo of the magazine cover on Instagram.
“Plus size is considered size 16 in America. I go between a size 6 and an 8. @glamourmag put me in their plus size only issue without asking or letting me know and it doesn’t feel right to me.
“Young girls seeing my body type thinking that is plus size? What are your thoughts? Mine are not cool glamour not glamourous.”
Glamour‘s editor in chief, Cindi Leive, was quick to respond to Schumer’s complaint, denying the magazine ever intended to classify her as plus-size.
“We love Amy Schumer, and would never want to offend her. To be clear, @glamourmag special edition never called her plus-size,” Leive wrote in a statement.
“Her 2015 cover story was included in the edition, aimed at sizes 12 and up, with the coverline ‘Women who Inspire Us’ [because] her longtime message of body positivity — and talking back to body haters — IS inspiring. (To me, too!).
“To be clear, size 6-8 is not plus. (Even size 12 — frequent size of ‘plus’ models — is smaller than average American woman!) But women of all sizes can be inspired by one another’s words. So sorry if implication was otherwise, Amy.”
Schumer ended the conversation with an Instagram video of herself in a bikini flying a kite, thanking fans for their support and adding, “[the] bottom line seems to be that these labels are unnecessary and reserved for women”.
Following Schumer’s comments, her friend and fellow actress Jennifer Lawrence said in an interview in the April issue of Harper’s Bazaar magazine that she didn’t consider herself to be a “normal” body type.
“I would like us to make a new normal-body type,” she asserted.
“Everybody says, ‘We love that there is somebody with a normal body!’ And I’m like, ‘I don’t feel like I have a normal body.’
“I do Pilates every day. I eat, but I work out a lot more than a normal person. I think we’ve gotten so used to underweight that when you are a normal weight it’s like, ‘Oh, my God, she’s curvy.’ Which is crazy. The bare minimum, just for me, would be to up the ante.
“At least so I don’t feel like the fattest one.”
Schumer and Lawrence are just the latest in a chorus of calls for the abolition of the term ‘plus-size’, including model Ashley Graham.
“The fashion industry may persist to label me as ‘plus-size,’ but I like to think of it as ‘my size,'” Graham said in her 2015 Ted Talk.
“We are calling ourselves what we want to be called – women, with shapes that are our own.”