“OMG, You won’t believe what (insert name of female star) wore to this event (Oscars, Grammys, UN Conference). Honestly, sweetie, you need to put that cookie jar aside….”
Yes. That is exactly how many articles about celebrities and their lives go. The time peg could be anything; an event like the Oscars or said celebrity’s appearance at a social event. The talk around their looks would always take precedence over insignificant things like their acting abilities, their artistic talents, and their concern for causes like world hunger.
Because numbers are important. Entertainment journalists know this. And to ensure that their article gets enough clicks, like, and shares, they will write about how fat she looked instead of how amazing her speech was.
And that is the sad reality of the showbiz. I know it because I am studying to be a journalist and I have often seen that the easiest things to write about on a deadline are often the nastiest and the meanest.
Because it does not take much to be mean. And since people like gossip (negative, full-of-conflict, controversial gossip), body shaming a celebrity is the best way of doing it.
Some of the victims of this trend are Kelly Clarkson, Adele, Kate Winslet, Rihanna, Mariah Carey; the list is very long… and mostly filled with women.
Sure, sometimes a publication will try another tactic and say that someone is ‘curvy’ but mostly that would happen only when that celebrity has had the guts to give it off to their critics and trolls. And even then, sometimes the magazine would still photoshop the image of the person in order to make them fit the tone of the article.
One wonders, what is the lure of the fat fetish?
Here are the top five reasons
- It is easy to write a critical piece about someone’s weight instead of writing a completely fresh story based on why they are actually in news
- It serves as click bait. People love to read dirt on celebrities. Sometimes when other kind of dirt is scarce, writers have no choice but to resort to body shaming
- Fashion writing often demands it. Because despite the increasing call for body positivity, plus-size models are on the fringes of the fashion industry. Who cares what they are doing for feminism as long as they can be used for a few cheap laughs
- Men like it. They form a large majority of the internet trolls who fat shame celebrity women on the internet. To see their own thoughts echoed by a magazine gives them a huge ego boost (and a boost to the publication’s numbers!)
- No one really says much about it. Because when a celebrity defends their body and their love for it, everyone claps because it is the polite thing to do. However, inside they all believe that if they could, they would want to be thin
And this sickens me. Because entertainment writing can be so rewarding and fun to read. However, it takes effort. And when one is on deadline, effort is often the last thing on the writer’s mind.
So they revert to cheap, time-tested methods of writing. Regurgitating deeply held negative stereotypes is an easy one.