I’ve always had a soft spot for Ginnifer Goodwin – we’re both pale with dark hair, we’re both 32, and she plays a polygamous Mormon wife on a show that purports to not be about Mormons but really is, (or at least is really about the weirdly naive-yet-oversexed stereotype of Mormons that Hollywood so loves) and I’m an actual Mormon (albeit a way more boring one than the Big Love family – once you take away the kinky sex quadrangle all you’re left with is a bunch of smiley people who don’t drink, don’t smoke and bring Jell-O to parties). See? We’re practically twins!
We also share another uncanny trait: We’ve both been dieting since we were children. She joined Weight Watchers at age nine
and I started counting fat grams in my journal – my goal was 0g a day, no one told me you need fat to live! – at the same tender age. We split paths when she decided to stick with Weight Watchers for life and I decided to try out every diet in creation plus some I made up myself (ice cubes and baby carrots, no joke) before embarking on the long disordered-eating journey that finally landed me where I am today: recovering, intuitive eater, but still with some issues. Frankly I think she made the wiser choice.
Across the board, I think Weight Watchers is one of the most sensible and reliable diets (or “healthy lifestyle plans”) out there. While there is much to quibble with in the details, overall I think they give people great tools for identifying healthy food and deciding how much of it to eat. Certainly many people have had a lot of success with it – there’s a reason they remain perennially popular. The problem here is not with Weight Watchers per se, but the fact that Ginnifer has been on a diet since she was nine. For the record Weight Watchers would like you to know that they don’t accept members under ten. Okay, then.
Why would anyone need to stay on a diet for their entire life? Here are two clues:
1. Elle Fanning (little sis of Dakota) is fashion’s new It Girl, only thing is she’s twelve. As in 12 years old. 12!! The Daily Beast writes
“Though she’s still missing five teeth, Elle has shot up to 5-foot-6, and dresses look good on her ballet-dancer frame. “More designers are going to want to dress her because she’s tall-it’s sounds crazy to say someone has a good figure at 12-but she captures a youthful spirit,” says Interview’s entertainment director, Lauren Tabach-Bank.
Sadie Stein of Jezebel
skewers the Beast with her characteristic wit retorting,
“That’s not a “ballet-dancer frame;” it’s called prepubescent. Elle Fanning is an adorable girl who shows all signs of being a very competent actress. But holding her up as a fashion exemplar largely because she’s a child is just plain creepy.”
2. One of the hottest models for women’s couture
right now is Andrej Pejic. Long blond hair, colt limbs, tiny waist, high cheekbones – there is nothing particularly surprising about his popularity except for one thing: he’s a he.
It isn’t that Elle is a remarkably mature looking young woman or that Andrej is a very effeminate man – the problem is that Elle looks exactly like a child and Andrej looks every bit like man (google him and look at his regular pics if you don’t believe me) and yet they’re trussed up and displayed to women who are told that this is the standard of beauty. When you think that we epitomize a prepubescent child and young man as the ideal of womanly beauty then suddenly Ginnifer’s epic diet doesn’t seem so crazy.
In an interview with Health magazine
Ginnifer explains, “I’ve never had a dramatic weight problem, it’s just that I tend to indulge, and then I need to get back on track so I can button my pants.” When pressed by the interviewer to further explain she elaborates, “It’s my hips and my upper thighs. Even at my crazy skinniest, where I’ve looked at myself and been like, “Ginny, you’re too skinny,” those are still there. And I think it might be … permanent?” Well that would be yet another thing we have in common because I can be skeletal up top and still have the fatty bits at the tops of my thighs. (Hmm, perhaps women aren’t supposed to be hipless with thighs the same diameter as our calves… like prepubescent children and young men?)
The interviewer finishes the body talk by asking Ginnifer which movie stars she wishes she most looked like and she picks, “Jessica Biel […] she’s a freaking knockout. Jennifer Aniston, too. They might be the only two women in the world who have bodies like that, so I’m really glad that they chose a profession where we all get to look at them all the time.” Ginnifer finishes up by calling herself “curvy” which comes out sounding like an epithet. I appreciate the self-deprecation and all but I want to reach through the magazine and hug her and then yell, “Hasn’t anyone ever told you YOU are beautiful Ginnifer?! Just the way you are! Hips and thighs and all!” Girl even cops to popping her own zits. And she rocks a pixie cut. See? Beautiful.
How old were you when you started your first diet? Is a life-long diet just what it takes to stay healthy in our food-obsessed culture? What’s your opinion of Elle and Andrej as couture paragons – am I missing the whole point of high fashion?
Written with love by Charlotte Hilton Andersen for The Great Fitness Experiment (c) 2010. If you enjoyed this, please check out my new book for more of my crazy antics and uncomfortable over-shares!