According to the media, it’s impossible to be fat and female with high self-esteem. Over the years, we’ve watched Monique, Jill Scott, Raven Symone, and Jennifer Hudson represent the “big” girls with valor, style, and heads held high. They were confident, gorgeous performers, reaffirming Jill Scott’s mantra of “beautifully human.” As each of these women has lost considerable weight, the media’s coverage has focused on weight loss as a self-esteem booster instead of a health priority.
While slimmer, healthier figures are empowering, it’s quite possible that many women would choose to be fat and healthy if the two could coexist peacefully. Admittedly, mainstream magazines, TV programming, advertising, and films are saturated with images advocating “skinny as sexy.” It’s rare that you find an editorial spread that promotes fat as beautiful.
If humans could be fat without transforming into a disease magnet, surely the health community would embrace a variety of figures as healthy and acceptable. But unfortunately, human bodies were not built to harbor excess weight and retain health optimization. Clearly, Monique, Jill, Raven, and Jennifer have accepted this reality as they strive to keep fitness and nutrition as a high priority.
There’s no need to speculate whether or not these women lost weight for self-esteem versus health. Monique continuously credits her husband’s soft nudge to get her to lose weight, saying he wanted her “for a lifetime.” Jennifer Hudson has a similar story, claiming that she didn’t even recognize her weight as a political beauty statement until she started working in Hollywood; all of the sudden, she was representing the big girls. As overweight people surrounded her as a child, she cites her son as the reason that she chose to pursue weight loss. She wanted to be a shining example of good nutrition, active fitness, and a healthy lifestyle.
Similarly, Jill Scott became open to a leaner diet and workout regimen for her son. Reflecting upon her decision, she exclaimed, “There’s a world of discovery in his eyes, and I want to be around to enjoy it!” As motherhood and family have inspired each of these women, it feels as if “weight loss for health” continues to take a backseat to “look at [insert name]’s sexier figure.” Raven Symone shares, “I find it funny that people now come up to me and say, ‘Wow, you are absolutely gorgeous’. I’m like, ‘I was beautiful before I lost weight’. Egotistically speaking, I thought I was amazing.”
It’d be incredible to see the media refocus weight loss as a health issue instead of a beauty choice. While healthy always will be sexy, it’s more important that people recognize fitness, nutrition, and slimmer figures as a necessity instead of a political choice.