Much has been made of Angelina Jolie’s small frame as she worked the red carpet and stage at this year’s Academy Awards.
She is thin. I’m no expert, and I’ve never seen her in person, but to me she seems almost dangerously thin. But again, I’m not her doctor. I don’t know. She’s a gorgeous woman, by normal people standards and by Hollywood standards? — she’s still gorgeous, but she’s skinny. No doubt, she’s skinny, even by Hollywood standards.
However, let’s step back a minute and take a quick look of the Psyche of an American woman, a movie star mother, no less.
Angelina is in her thirties and has, what, a gazillion kids? Some adopted but some to which she has given birth. She is in a relationship with a movie star, a sex symbol. She herself is a movie star. She’s got to keep up appearances. Really, it’s part of her job. The camera doesn’t lie, except that it, I’m told, adds ten to fifteen pounds and magnifies every line and wrinkle.
Angelina is a mother and getting older every day in an industry that worships youth and chases perfection. Women naturally gain a few pounds over the years, a medical fact to which I have no citation. Also, pregnancy and childbirth can wreak havoc on the body. I’ve had children. This is something I know about. Some changes are publicly visible, some not. Some changes are temporary, some not. Yet despite these truisms, Hollywood stars are often paid to show the world that having children does not change a body at all. “Here, let me pose in a bikini after having twins.” (Jennifer Lopez and Mariah Carey). It becomes a race as to how fast a bare midriff can be publicized after childbirth.
But that’s Hollywood, folks. So given these biological strikes (age and childbirth) against women who strive to maintain their high school look, it’s no wonder that it can cause some kind of weight loss hysteria.
And speaking of high school, ladies, think back to your last high school reunion, your Ex’s new woman or your Ex-Best friend. I hate to say it but to many of us, the best revenge against a woman and the sweetest music to our ears is to hear that so and so has “gotten fat.” (Gasp) Or ladies, after your man dumps you for the younger, skinnier version of you, many silently think, “Just wait until she drops a couple of kids and gets fat.” Men do it too, whispering to their slim current girlfriend after seeing an Ex who has put on a few pounds, “Whoa, I dodged that bullet.”
What if you are that girl who stole somebody’s boyfriend or husband, or whose looks are often envied by other women– it may seem that the world wants to bring you down by seeing you “get fat.”
So, what can a woman do? We stay thin if we can, and get even thinner. That way, no matter what, nobody can say we “got fat.”
But does this apply to Angelina Jolie, a freaking beautiful movie star? I say hell yeah. I think she personifies what women go through daily and over the years. We are not supposed to change. We are never supposed to change, except maybe if we lose weight.
Even if you are Angelina Jolie with Brad Pitt on your arm, one might ask? Hell, yeah, I say, Hell yeah.
Angelina has it rough, I say. She’s beautiful — but because of her job, her public persona, she simply can’t “get fat” — and in her industry, “fat” means size 6, or 4. Plus, she’s the girl who got (stole?) Brad Pitt from the beloved ex-wife Jennifer Aniston. Now Angelina has all these kids, she can’t possibly get fat, then she’d no longer be the sexy siren, the other woman. She can’t possibly be the frumpy mom while slim, healthy, and free Jennifer Aniston is out there because in “Girl Wars” this would appear to be a loss. (And I know how ridiculous this may sound, but on some level I believe it happens, ridiculous or not). No, gaining weight is not an option for poor Angelina. She has to be thin. And, I guess, thinner. Unnaturally (for a mother and woman in her mid-thirties) thin. Still, my guess is that she’s naturally slim and smaller proportioned anyway, but society may generate extra pressure to go beyond that.
It’s sad, but sometimes, as a woman, it seems that regardless of our accomplishments, all we can do is “not get fat.” If we got the guy and the kids, remaining thin and/or becoming even thinner becomes the only guns in the arsenal of an adult woman. We can’t control our age, once married we can’t collect men, and once we become mothers so many other things get out of our control — but we can control our weight, or at least try to. And people make millions off of our desire to do so.
So if I could peak inside Angelina Jolie’s mind, I could hear her saying:
Yes I’m still the same size.
Yes, I have many children but I’m still thin. I’m still cool. I’m still sexy. I can still play a non-maternal female protagonist.
So take that, Jennifer Aniston, Hollywood, and stereotypical “normal” Size 12 thirty-something women everywhere. I have it all and I’m still thin. I’m so damn thin. And here’s my leg:
I ain’t mad at her. To quote Chris Rock, “I’m not gonna say it’s right, but I understand.” Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman. (Insert country twang here.) I just hope Angelina is healthy, appearances aside. I also hope that girls and women don’t starve themselves to be as thin as Angelina Jolie. I also hope that, as a whole, we can learn to accept that keeping or gaining a few pounds over the years is not evidence of failure in life, or conversely, that being as thin as possible is not proof of success.
And I just want to tell Miss Jolie — woman to woman,
“Psst, if you become too thin, it will make you look older, Angelina, and it can cause osteoporosis. Just remember that and take your Vitamin C. Your acting, producing and directing chops will be wasted if you waste away to nothing. And if you become a hunch-back old lady before your time, the plum roles will pass you by anyway. Have some broccoli.”
Just Me With . . . my right leg and my two cents, though nobody asked.
See Related Posts: “Confessions of a Skinny Mom” and “The Adultery Diet“
I love it! So damn true.
I hope Angelina reads your blog, you’re a good friend! Great advice! 🙂
Friends have seen her before in public. They say she is super skinny and has a big head.
Really? Probably being so skinny makes her head look big –kinda like a skeleton. hmmm.
Love this post! Thank you!
It’s sad that even a woman who appears to “have it all” still struggles with the same body image issues that every other woman on the planet. And you know what sucks? The fact that being rich, famous, gorgeous, with a hot man on her arm still means nothing without being skinny to go along with it.
I think she is too skinny and it takes away from her looks. Looking at her pictures they say the camera puts on ten pounds so I would hate to see her in person. I have never found her to be the “beautiful” person everyone says. She is attractive but not beautiful to me.
I agree. She appears so painfully thin in the pictures, especially recent pictures. I wonder what she looks like in person. It does take away from her looks in general and her look on the red carpet. Like I said, I hope she’s healthy but she’s so thin she appears weak.
I think she looks too thin, especially since, like you said, the camera is supposed to add pounds.
But you’re right…the pressure on most of us, especially her, to stay thin must be great.
Yes, although she has great bone structure, her being too thin is starting to show on her face. I do wonder what she looks like in person.
I CONSTANTLY get mistaken for Angelina Jolie. Oddly, only by the blind people. Or crazy people.
I hate it when that happens.
According to a friend who has seen her in person, she actually does have a really small frame and is actually quite petite (this was surprising to me because I always thought of her as tall & athletic). I’m really petite too so, if I do lose 5-10 lbs (ie. from sickness or excessive stress) it shows & I start looking sickly. I imagine it’s probably the case with her too because she does look like she’s bordering on the sickly look. I fully agree with what you wrote – there must be a huge amount of pressure on her to “not change”. That combined with the stress her job, motherhood & all the traveling she does – I’m sure it’s hard to find time to even eat. But man, I still want to feed her a Big Mac meal or two.
The post-baby perfect bodies make me feel sick – such an unrealistic standard!!
It myst be pretty sad to be Angelina Jolie… People are fascinated by her and kind of hate her “perfection” at the same time. Maybe she would gain some sympathy if she put on a few kilos :).
Yes, as many blessings as she has, I do think it’s difficult to be her.
I think she’s sickeningly thin. I can’t even stand to look at her. It’s a terrible role model for women everywhere.
Yeah, I thought that everyone would think she’s too thin but as I was researching her I saw comments from women saying how gorgeous she looks now. To me she seems like a once pretty woman who is ill or under extreme stress. Not a look women should strive for. Not at all.
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When I told my eight year old son I needed to get in shape (health reasons not for looks, although for looks too) he protested. He said I was soft and comfy. I hope he never grows out of that.
That is so sweet!