jennifer lawrence body image

I can’t help but think of the .gifs floating around Tumblr, the ones where Lawrence talks about how much food she eats, how she loves McDonald’s fries. Would the Internet have embraced those quotes coming from a larger actress? Someone like Melissa McCarthy?

I’ve noticed a funny thing about Melissa McCarthy. Well, besides the obvious, that she’s funny. But I’ve noticed that when Jennifer Lawrence talks about her weight, she talks about how much food she eats, and how she’s never going to diet to be thin. Because Melissa McCarthy actually is a fat woman, she isn’t allowed to make brash statements about body acceptance. She has to apologize for her body. Every single one of those quotes might as well have just said, “Sorry I’m fat and you have to look at me, everyone.” But it’s all she’s allowed to say, in the confines of our culture. If Melissa McCarthy had said, “If anybody even tries to whisper the word ‘diet,’ I’m like, 'You can go f- yourself,” the response will most assuredly not be, “How brave! How strong! What a good role model!” The response will be, “What a bad example, encouraging people to be unhealthy! We have an obesity epidemic! Open your eyes, fat is not healthy, sexy, or acceptable! How very dare she!” Even the mild statements she has made about being comfortable with herself and her body are greeted with backlash from armchair internet physicians bleating about health and lifestyle choices.

Imagine if Melissa McCarthy had made so many public comments about food and McDonald’s. It wouldn’t be cute or funny, it would be schtick. Look at the fat woman, being human and hungry for something bad for her! How grotesquely humorous it is when fat people eat! When Jennifer Lawrence makes these comments, it’s acceptable, because her body is still pleasing to our cultural expectation of voluptuous, slim-waisted, long-necked female beauty.

—  Jenny Trout, Jennifer Lawrence Body-Shames More Than You Might Realize.

I really respect Willow Shields for emphasizing that her goal is to be healthy and not to lose weight. As a celebrity whom many girls look up to, Willow is making an important statement by not being someone who enforces the idealized standard of beauty that pervades pop culture.


“I’m Never going to starve myself for a part…That’s something I was really conscious of during training, when you’re trying to get your body to look exactly right. I was trying to get my body to look Fit and Strong - Not thin and underfed”.

( Jennifer Lawrence about Positive Body Image )


Instead of (literally) buying into the idea that that our bodies are problems in need of fixing, let’s remember that many of these common “problems” are actually completely normal. The more open we are about our body image struggles, the sooner we’ll find that none of us are alone in our insecurity — and that, ultimately, we have nothing to be insecure about in the first place. Besides, even Jennifer Lawrence deals with it.

  • Lena Dunham is a good role model because she’s not a size 2 and is comfortable being naked
  • Jennifer Lawrence is a good role model because she’s not a size 2 and talks about how much she loves food all the time

If actresses like Gabourey Sidibe, Rebel Wilson or Melissa McCarthy behaved like either of these women, they would be criticised by everyone for ‘glorifying obesity and unhealthy lifestyles’. Do not for one minute think that because Lena and Jennifer are idolised by teenage girls everywhere, people are becoming more accepting of fatness.

Stop telling people like me to look up to these women as body image role models. Lena Dunham and Jennifer Lawrence look skinny as hell to me. Maybe not New York Fashion Week skinny, but skinny by everyone else’s standards. 

There’s 'acceptably fat’, and then there’s 'disgustingly obese’. It’s this line that society has drawn, and Lena Dunham falls on the 'acceptably fat’ side of it. The rest of us are just disease-ridden food processors. 

I really hope so! I hate the focus on weight and clothes in our business. I do not believe that an actress must be thin to be attractive. This sends the completely wrong message to young women.
—  Jennifer Lawrence (on whether she thinks of herself as a good role model for not submitting to the ultra thin image) translated from Miss Magazine Austria  (x)

Tumblr celebrates her in .gif as a paragon of quirk and body acceptance, but one thing that may have escaped your notice in the orgiastic celebration of JLaw realness that is the Internet, is that Jennifer Lawrence is a fit, attractive, 20-something woman.

Let’s concede the point here that she is, perhaps, a size or two above the accepted Hollywood norm. It’s admirable, being the star of a movie franchise aimed at teens, that she is concerned about the effect a too-svelte appearance might have on her audience, who are already bombarded with negative body messages every day. But how her statements are being delivered – and how zealous and adoring fans have interpreted her words – only reinforce our cultural standards, and perpetuate the myth that only one type of body is acceptable.

I’m not going to cover the fact that it’s messed up that a girl like Jennifer Lawrence has to justify her perfectly gorgeous body to every single media consumer in the world. We all know that’s messed up. Let’s focus instead on the fact that in order to appease our own self-doubt about our weight, we, the Internet, have decided to ignore how body-shaming the entire image of JLaw, “Spirit Animal” to fat girls everywhere, really is.