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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Skinny On Tinsel Town

It's every American woman's nemesis. It gets shoved down millions of throats like a bitter pill each day. Some women handle it well; others choke on it before finally getting it down. Then there are many others who spit it out as if it were rat poison. In all cases, it appears that no one is truly 100% fine with it. So what is this entity - this beast - causing all this turmoil and aggravation in most American women? Why, it's your friendly neighborhood female celebrity, of course! But we're not just talking about any ol' female celebrity here. We're talking about the ultra-thin. It's every American woman's nemesis. It gets shoved down millions of throats like a bitter pill each day. Some women handle it well; others choke on it before finally getting it down.

Then there are many others who spit it out as if it were rat poison. In all cases, it appears that no one is truly 100% fine with it. So what is this entity - this beast - causing all this turmoil and aggravation in most American women? Why, it's your friendly neighborhood female celebrity, of course! But we're not just talking about any ol' female celebrity here. We're talking about the ultra-thin starlets of millennium Hollywood. The girls who have, over the last decade, set a new standard for what it means to be thin. Girls who have raised the "thin bar" so high that millions of women, fat and even thin, feel the urge to retaliate against them. I know what you're thinking - why the hell would this guy - a MAN, after all - have the nerve to pick such a heated, highly debatable topic? Moreover, why would he dare make assumptions about women regarding how they
perceive these so-called offenders? Please hear me out before making any snap judgments, as I have several reasons for broaching such a sore subject.

I've chosen celebrity women because you don't know my real life skinny friends. I can tell you about them but you have no real frame of reference. But everyone in the world knows these women, and everyone has an opinion. Whether it's true or not, I feel it's safe to say that women are usually the ones bothered by images of fat-free movie queens gracing the covers of In Style, US and People each week. I say this based on observations and
experience. After all, I personally don't observe men picking up these magazines weekly and griping about how "anorexic, sickly and disgusting" these women appear to be. If anything, men are repeatedly criticized and bashed for finding many of these same women extremely attractive. The end result is that men are forced to share whatever feelings they have about these women only in the company of other men. That sounds pretty drastic,
doesn't it? That's because the debate over what's too thin versus what's not has taken on a life of its own. But this leads me to a bigger issue: some of these starlets are NOT too thin. And often times overweight and obese women enjoy targeting these women anyway. I'm not saying it doesn't make
psychological sense. Who wants to be held to any physical standard, anyway? Believe me, I get that part. But that certainly doesn't make it right when, in many cases, it's simply untrue. What I'd like to do is not necessary speak for every guy out there, but at least give you one guy's honest opinion of skinny Hollywood. I consider myself an average Joe, so chances
are that my opinions may very well fall into the majority. Then again, maybe not. But that is the point of this exercise. You be the judge.

Ideal "Gold Standard" Body Types - Jessica Alba, Jennifer Aniston, Sandra Bullock

I realize I'm going to get a lot of grief no matter who I choose, but it's my opinion and I'm not afraid to stick to it. But I'd also like to back my opinions with a little bit of fact. Yes, they're very thin. Yes, they shouldn't lose even one more pound. But, they're still within a healthy range for their height. According to standard
height and weight tables, women should be 100 pounds for the first 5 feet of height, and 5 pounds for each additional inch. In addition to this standard, you're given a range of +10% or -10% of your ideal weight where you're still considered perfectly healthy. Let's use Jennifer Aniston as the example since she's by far the most popular (or at least most discussed) of the actresses above. Jennifer is 5'5 according to most reports. By standard
height and weight tables, her ideal weight is 125 pounds. Keep in mind that the ideal is based strictly on her height alone. However, this also means that 10% of her ideal weight in either direction is 12.5 pounds. Basically, she can go as high as 137.5 or as low as 112.5 and still be considered a healthy weight for her height. Since 1998, Jennifer has been reported to weigh 110 pounds. Ok, ok, so she's exactly 2.5 pounds outside of her lowest recommended range. I think she'll live. After all, these tables are based on standards and recommendations. What works for one may not work for another. The point is that she's not emaciated, she doesn't look sick, and her weight has been remarkably consistent since she dropped 15 pounds in 1998. She has muscle tone. She still has breasts. Her ass is still bigger than her waist. Her skin is vibrant (make-up or not) and her hair is every woman's dream. If she wasn't taking in enough calories, her skin, hair, and teeth would all be suffering. Make-up artists and hair people can only do so much. As far as I
can see, Jennifer Aniston is merely an example of someone who's very good at maintaining consistency and managing self-control. These two things do not constitute anorexia. Besides, aren't dietary consistencies and self-control something we ALL wish we had? She shouldn't be punished for being able to do
something millions of others wished they could do! Sandra Bullock is reported to be 5'8 and 130 pounds. Her ideal weight under these same guidelines is 140. Her highest recommended weight is 154 and her lowest is 126. Sandra is 4 pounds over her lowest recommended weight. There's absolutely no truth to her being too thin. I feel the need to nitpick in this manner simply because these women are nitpicked to death for something that's unsubstantiated.

Thin yet Muscular Body Types - Madonna, Uma Thurman, Hilary Swank, Lucy Liu

Madonna might be a lot of things, but wimpy ain't one of them. C'mon, even you ladies - whether you hate the controversial queen of pop or not, you've admired those bulging biceps for years now. Every time she hits the stage,
Madonna commands the crowd with her ripped, muscular yet feminine body. I trained several female clients over the years that weren't afraid to hit the free weights hard in order to achieve Madonna's look. How about Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby? Tell me that you didn't gasp when you saw her jumping rope double time, veins engorged with blood and muscles contracting like wildfire as the sweat poured off her. And Uma
Thurman's hard, amazon-like body in Kill Bill surely didn't make you think she was nutrient-deficient, did it? These women are still very thin despite their musculature; however, muscle
requires good nutrition to tear itself down and build itself back bigger and stronger. If these women weren't eating enough, they'd never have muscles to show off, plain and simple. Here's another interesting tidbit: have you ever heard any stories about these women passing out in concert, on movie sets, or being hospitalized for exhaustion? If you have, please let me know. I
don't think so. That's because they're taking good care of their bodies, and their bodies can subsequently handle 16 hour days of being very physical.

Borderline Too Thin - Nicole Kidman, Gwenyth Paltrow, Tori Spelling, Marcia Cross

These women are what Jessica Alba and Jennifer Aniston would be without the muscle tone. They appear to be the same thinness as their toned counterparts, but they borderline on looking a tad malnourished. Just look at their arms - they're skinny as can be, but not necessarily in a healthy way. Nicole, Gwenyth and Marcia are very tall, so that could account for some of what I call the "Olive Oil effect" (for those of you who remember Popeye, I'm sure you remember how spindly and gangly Olive Oil looked - nothing more than limbs, elbows and knees - same thing applies here). There seems to be variances on her weight, but Nicole Kidman usually punches out at 120 pounds at 5'10. Referring back to the standard height and weight tables earlier, Nicole's ideal weight is 150 pounds. She can go as low as 135 or as high as 165 and still be considered in a healthy range. Based on her current alleged weight, she's 15 pounds under her lowest recommended range. Gwenyth is the same height but reported to weigh 112 pounds - 23 pounds below her lowest recommended weight for optimal health. Gwenyth is on
a macrobiotic diet, so she does care what she puts into her body. All I'm asking is that she start adding a little more sushi and tofu to her plate each night at mealtime. Same to you, Nicole. I love you - we all do - but a grilled cheese on white once in a while ain't gonna destroy that delicate, statuesque temple of yours.

The Too Thin Brigade - Paris Hilton, Nicole Ritchie, Calista Flockhart, Kate Bosworth, Kate Moss, Victoria Beckham, Lara Flynn Boyle

Ok, here's what you've all been waiting for - yes, even men find these women alarmingly thin. So thin, in fact, that they do look sickly. So thin that they're no longer attractive. Of all the overweight population that likes to make sweeping generalizations and brand every movie starlet with the title
of "too thin," these are the ones who actually deserve it! When you can see the head of your humerus sticking out at the base of your shoulder girdle like a golf ball, you know you've taken calorie cutting too far. And it shows in secondary ways as well. These girls look plain tired. They're wiped out from not receiving enough sustenance. Exactly how many times did Calista Flockhart faint on the set of Ally McBeal? I know it was reported more than once during the show's heyday. How about Paris Hilton's sex tape? I can't speak for the guy she's servicing, but personally speaking, I was too busy counting the ribs in her non-existent chest than paying attention to the action at hand. If a severely underdeveloped, 12-year-old boy is your thing and you don't want to serve jail time for it, then Paris is the girl for
you. Victoria Beckham tried to hide her itty-bitty starved body with a set of breast implants, but all that did was make her look like a mannequin that had literally been bolted together, piece-by-piece. I could go on and on, but you've seen them all first hand yourselves. My point is that of all the celebrity women out there, these are the ones that I feel anyone is allowed to say are far too thin. At this point, they are so undernourished that I'm
willing to recommend loaded cheese fries and ice cream sundaes as dietary staples (and I say this as a Personal Trainer)! For the love of Christ, eat something - anything - and put on a fast 15 before you wind up dropping dead.

Voluptuous, Curvy Body Types - Tiffani Theissen, Catherine Zeta Jones, Kim Basinger, JLo, Liv Tyler

While I'm at it, I'd also like to look at the other end of the spectrum. The full figured women of Hollywood who have curves and are proud of it. Going back 100 years or more, I can only assume that the women listed above represented what "full figured" or "curvy" was actually supposed to mean. Hourglass figures, large breasts, ample hips and butts on thin women.
Basically, these are women who are either at their ideal weight or on the higher end of their 10% recommended range. I want to make this clear because overweight America is trying like hell to redefine terms like "curvy" and "voluptuous." Voluptuous used to define Marilyn Monroe or Elizabeth Taylor 40 years ago. Voluptuous 10 and 20 years ago meant Kim Basinger in 9 ½
Weeks. By today's standards, overweight and obese women are now displaying multiple rolls of belly, back and arm fat packaged in sleeveless halter tops and passing it off as "curvy." I don't know about you, but that's not what curvy means to me. If this is the new curvy, I want no part of it. The unsettling part is that as obesity continues to rise in America, the standard continues to morph into ridiculously new lows. And as the standard
morphs, the "true" curvy women listed above are now also labeled as - you guessed it - too thin. Very sad, indeed, if women at their ideal weight or even a few pounds above it are now classified as nutrient deficient only to mask an even greater epidemic. These women look fantastic, and truth be known, they're actually my favorite type to ogle. They represent a perfect balance of physical health and femininity. Drawing the Line

In a society obsessed with looks but also cursed as the fattest nation, where do we stop the madness? For those of you who visit this site regularly, you know that denial runs rampant among the overweight. But is it fair for the overweight to label every thin, beautiful woman with an eating disorder simply to throw dirt over a much bigger problem? As you can see, I agree/acknowledge that there are plenty of women out there (way more than I listed) in dire need of adequate nutrition. But there are plenty more who aren't. I suppose it comes down to the ones making the accusations. Whatever your motive - jealousy, denial, anger, exasperation - only you have to live
with your perception of what's.true and what's not. If it gets you through the night to believe everyone smaller than a size 18 has an eating disorder, then by all means, have another helping of macaroni and cheese. You're the only one who has to look at yourself each morning in the mirror and be content with your size. However you have to do that is all that matters.
Just remember that the stereotypes you perpetuate are no better than the ones being perpetuated against you.

Mike is a regular contributor to and its' forum. Please accept this article as being "open to debate" it is not meant to be considered fact, but is intended to open dialogue concerning weight and celebrities, and their ultimate impact on society, and self image.


  1. I really like your blog! I'll get a good laugh, or whatever reaction, but I like it! Oh and your title too :-) I have to say, in the ideal body type, mine would be Jessica Biel...

    - Kloé

  2. I just happened upon this blog and I'm not sure if this is what all the post are like but it seems to me that the whole post is based on sterotypes and assumptions. Where are these women that are calling Tiffani Theissen, Catherine Zeta Jones, Kim Basinger, JLo, and Liv Tyler too thin? Who is saying Jessica Alba, Jennifer Aniston and Sandra Bullock are too thin? They look great.

    Who can't appreciate Madonna's body? I'm not sure where you're getting this idea of fat women who sit around and hate women under a size 18 while munching on twinkies and crying about obesity but it's not accurate. Well let me rethink that. Maybe it is common among women you know.

    It might be a good idea for you to visit a few plus fashion websites and see what they're really talking about instead of making up what you think they're talking about. Every fat woman isn't jealous of skinny people and/or masking insecurity with skinny people attacks. Surprisingly enough there are plenty of fat, curvy, overweight women out there who are comfortable with themselves and don't spend a lot of time worrying about how fat/skinny someone else may be.

    I don't visit this site so I am completely unaware the fat denial you mentioned but again I'm thinking this is something you're assuming about all fat people. Reasonable people know that excess weight can lead to health problems.

    Also, thinking someone is too fat or too thin is an opnion - not an accusation. There are people out there that think a size 6 is too fat. There are people that think a size 6 is too skinny. It's a matter of opinion and personal preference, not mathematics. Most people don't ask for a person's measurements and break out a height weight chart before they decide if a person is aesthetically pleasing to them.

    There's more but I'm not trying to write a whole blog post here. Ooops. Too late.


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