This post may contain affiliate links.
If you buy something from one of the linked sites you won’t pay anything more, but I might make a commission.
So Zoe Saldana, all 115 pounds of her, is on the cover of Allure magazine. How do I know how much the actress weighs? That’s printed on the cover too.
Outrageous, right? “115 Pounds of Grit And Heartache” appears to the right of her neck, on top of her curls. The way the title is written reminds me of what’s often written about very thin actresses who also happen to be short: “Five-Foot Nothing of Acting Power!” “Five Feet Tall But Towering Over Hollywood.” If either of those titles appeared on a magazine nobody would bat an eyelash – it’s not like an actress has control of her height.
But weight, for an actress, is a whole other matter. From Amanda Bynes tweeting that she needs to be 100 pounds to Jennifer Lawrence claiming that in Hollywood she’s considered a fat actress, this is an issue that will never go away. But to splash an actress’ weight on the cover of a magazine raises (lowers?) the issue to a whole new level.
Fiona and I were watching Good Morning America this morning and saw the story together. I asked her what she thought about it. “I think it’s mean. They’re making fun of her.” Bless her heart, Fiona thought the cover was calling Zoe Saldana fat. Fiona is nine and weighs 66 pounds, so to her, 115 sounds like a lot.
Once I explained to her that for an adult woman that’s really thin, Fiona changed her attitude. “Well, that’s stupid. Why would anyone care? They should just want to be healthy.”
When Fiona was younger, she went through a long phase (a year? Two?) where she thought she was fat. This would be ridiculous for any six-year-old, but Fiona is thin and active and healthy and I saw a swirling future of eating disorders and anorexia chat rooms.
So, I’ve just tried to drill into her that she’s beautiful. She’s healthy. She’s making good choices. We jog together. I take great pains to hide my weight loss efforts from her. When she does occasionally have a question about what I’m eating or why I don’t want to share some cookies with her, I tell her I’m trying to be healthier.
And it seems to be paying off.
I know that at nine, she still has the hardest years of mean girl judgment ahead of her – we’re not even at the woods yet, let alone out of them. But I’m trying to lay the foundation now. And that’s where my focus will remain: on her. Not on signing petitions or burning copies of Allure.
I’m not saying I’m not mad at the magazine. It was a calculated move on their part to get attention, and every big media outlet is playing into it. People will be outraged, and that outrage will sell more copies of the magazine. Who knows how many young women will see it and call themselves fat for not being 115 pounds?
But my point is, there will always be another magazine cover, another website, another classmate making mean comments, another thinner body that my daughter could compare herself to. Fighting all of the outside forces would not be a good use of my time. Building my daughter up to ignore them is.
So, Allure, you did a shitty thing. And you know you did. But I’m not going to give you any more attention or energy for it. As I always tell my daughter, you can’t control other people’s actions, but you have complete control over your own reaction. And Fiona has decided that you’re stupid. She wins.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 0. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.