Friday, June 22, 2007
Saturday, June 09, 2007
BY BELINDA M. PASCHAL
Hollywood’s obsession with body size has been weighing on my mind for a while, but I couldn’t find the words to express my thoughts. That is, until a recent Fox News segment illustrated why this obsession persists and why starlets are shriveling to shred of their former healthy-looking selves.
Last week, newsman Neil Cavuto wasted airtime on MeMe Roth, founder of National Action Against Obesity and organizer of the Wedding Gown Challenge, which exhorts women to prove they can still fit their bridal dresses. Roth suggested that Blake Lewis should have won American Idol instead of 17-year-old Jordin Sparks because of the latter’s size, which Roth deemed "obese."
Not that it needs to be said, but Jordin is far from obese. She's not an underfed waif, but she’s no Ruben Studdard, either. (And so what if she was?) Jordin's what's known in some circles as "thick" – voluptuous, curvy and packing a few extra pounds, but in all the right places.
According to Roth, Jordin’s weight makes her a poor role model and she fears kids will want to be like her. What, talented and successful? I can think of worse things to be – like a smug, mean-spirited twit.
"When I look at Jordin … I see diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol," Roth said. "She is the picture of unhealth."
When I look at MeMe Roth, I see a self-absorbed, judgmental bully who undermines the purpose of the organization she represents. Yes, there's an obesity epidemic in America and we need effective solutions to this problem. But while Roth champions an important cause – good health and fitness – her strategies leave a lot to be desired.
One contributor to the epidemic is lack of sufficient scorn for overweight people, claimed Roth, who’s boycotting Redbook for its March cover story, "We Love Your Body From Size 2 to 20." Roth even says people should drop heavier friends like a hot, buttered potato with sour cream. "(They’re) more likely to suggest a Starbucks topped with whipped cream than your fit friends who might think a yoga class or quick jog sounds fun," she writes on her blog. "It’s no different than alcoholics avoiding drinkers."
Hate to break it to ya, Meems, but my thin friends rank yoga and jogging right up there with stoning, branding and bamboo shoots under the fingernails.
What drives MeMe? A compliment from her own idol back in her groupie days. "In the 80’s, I was Van Halen’s #1 fan … (I got) to meet the band. Eddie Van Halen made me promise I’d never get fat. He said I looked like something out of Playboy."
Yeah, a bookmark.
Furthermore, what qualifies her to say who’s unhealthy? Does she have access to the medical records of every overweight person in the country? I’m the first to admit I could stand to shed some pounds, but my blood sugar, heart and cholesterol are better than that of several skinnies I know.
Ms. Roth, eat a donut or 12 and relax. You're no American idol yourself.