In a pre-Super Bowl interview with President Obama, Matt Lauer pointed out that the new president was “[taken] out of Us Weekly‘s cover shot of his wife and daughters in order to make room for last week’s hot topic, which was Jessica Simpson’s weight.
In reaction, Obama dryly commented on Jessica being “in a weight battle, apparently.” As a result, blogs and magazines and talk shows are asking if the president is making fun of Jessica’s weight. Really, guys? From watching the video, it seems clear that Obama’s dryness is poking fun at media coverage, rather than Jessica’s weight.
Jessica has, in years past, said she hasn’t understood people’s obsession with rail-thin women, and has also expressed concern over the health risks that come with extreme slimness. She also spoke out about the criticism onstage last week, saying, “I feel like in our world today, we focus on so many things that are completely pointless.”
The last time that Hollywood seriously played up curves was decades ago, during the 1940s and ’50s; conservatism and traditionalism prevailed in those days, and perhaps a fuller figure signified affluence in those post-Depression, post-WWII days. In short, the “curvy housewife” was ideal. Then the Vietnam War and Twiggy came along, and the decades since have made “stick-thin” the new “curve.” We haven’t quite gotten out of that mindset.
Having said that, we have a bounty of challenges facing our economy and our country, so perhaps, for the same reasons, another era of curviness is on the horizon for the worlds of fashion and tabloid culture. (Of course, it’s hardly a matter that, er, outweighs the economy, the wars and dozens of other more pressing issues our president and all of us are confronting.)
Over the past week many celebrities have spoken out in support of Jessica: Carmen Electra, ex-hubby Nick Lachey, Kim Kardashian, Heidi Klum, sister Ashlee and brother-in-law Pete Wentz, among many others.
As for me, I certainly don’t know what it’s like to be judged by the tabloids or have my every cheeseburger documented (I’m eating one right now, fyi). But, I do remember my time on “America’s Next Top Model” being the most scrutinized time in my life with regard to my weight. One of the (non-aired) storylines of my season was the fact that I was just a little bit too heavy, in their eyes, and that sentiment was made clear to me at least every other day. One unnamed “judge” even taught me about the “chew and spit” diet! (I tried it, it sucks).
That scrutiny was almost unbearable for me, so I can’t even imagine what Jessica has gone through over the past week. But hey — perhaps a sea change will occur, the trend will turn away from sexy-’rexy, and Jessica will show herself to be ahead of the “curve” after all.