I can’t recall exactly how many girls have said to me, “God, [insert superhumanly gorgeous celebrity here] is so amazing. How can I compete with that?” I’d have to say it’s been enough to fill the pages of any women’s magazine with the likes of Scarlett Johansson displayed on the cover.
It seems that us average Joe’s are always complaining about the unreachable standards of beauty that Hollywood sets for the rest of America. “Well, I could look like that if I had thousands of dollars for a personal trainer,” and, “Hello! Dr. 90210 much?” are examples of the things we say to ourselves when our self esteem is lowered a few degrees by another image of celebrity perfection. Boo hoo, America. We aren’t such innocent bystanders.
I have to laugh when I think about America’s reaction to Britney’s comeback performance at this year’s Video Music Awards on MTV. I didn’t witness it live, but after hearing all of the negative comments stirring about campus, I obviously hurried home and turned to YouTube for a replay.
Afterwards, I didn’t quite understand why all the torches were being lit to run the former pop princess out of Sin City. I thought she looked good- better than I would in a bikini. That’s when I began wondering if we have any right to chastise Hollywood for being so much more beautiful than the rest of us.
We are frustrated and whine about the pressure Hollywood puts on regular citizens to be skinny and gorgeous. However, we are also the unappeasable critics who continue to demand perfection from celebrity eye candy. We are our own worst enemies.
Instead of blaming ourselves, we ignore our own participation and throw out statistics like “the average woman is a size 12.” Who cares? We are perpetuating the size 0 standard that Hollywood struggles to uphold and we struggle to emulate. Maybe we should all stop struggling and be comfortable with ourselves. Wait, this is America. Fat chance- no pun intended.
“Celebrities are put forth as having the perfect body. We have anger and resentment because we don’t think it’s fair that we should achieve these same body types,” said Leslie Goldman, the author of Locker Room Diaries: The Naked Truth About Women and other works on women’s health issues.
Goldman thinks that this anger is why we dish out such harsh criticism towards celebrities.
“When they don’t look perfect, we finally get a chance to take out our anger.” she explained. “It’s reassuring to us, that they aren’t actually perfect.”
That’s the lesson. These famous bodies aren’t as perfect as we think. They have cellulite and curves which can be easily airbrushed away in photos, but perhaps not for a live VMA performance. Instead of throwing stones of resentment, we should let celebrities be as normal as we are. Being normal isn’t such a bad thing. We’re just going to have to deal with it.
Kathleen Hager can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.