Everyone knows that women often have a very complicated relationship with their bodies. Whether they are voluptuous and curvy or slim and small breasted, women tend to pick themselves apart and focus on the negative rather than learning to love themselves for who they are. Certain bodies types have long been praised in the media but a shift is occurring and it’s for the better.
As more and more female celebrities refuse to give in to the pressure to look a certain way, they are ushering in a more genuine concept of beauty and providing role models for women of all shapes and sizes. Here are just a few examples of these all-important trailblazers:
Just a few years ago, no one really knew who Jennifer Lawrence was but as soon as she hit the screen as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, her meteoric rise to stardom began. While she sported a tight jumpsuit in the film (and often wears revealing clothing in other roles), it was clear that she was not willing to starve herself to gain approval from moviegoers, even though it was her big break in a highly anticipated role. After winning a couple Oscars and being cast in virtually every movie released in the last two years, she’s proven that natural is beautiful.
When Macklemore and Ryan Lewis scored a huge hit with “Same Love,” vocalist, Mary Lambert, was thrust into the spotlight. As a plus-sized, lesbian artist, she undoubtedly faced her fair share of criticism but the strong woman, who recently revealed she was sexually abused and assaulted in her youth, refused to let the world define her. In a message to her Facebook fans, she wrote (among other great things): “I am allowed to look sexy, feel sexy, and be in love. I am worthy of all of those things, and so are you.”
One would think that creating and starring in the hit HBO show, Girls, would earn Lena Dunham enough respect to avoid being so ruthlessly criticized but her reality has been the opposite. It’s true that, on her show, Dunham’s character is often nude but even when she’s fully dressed, people have something negative to say. Last year, Howard Stern called her a “a little fat girl who kind of looks like Jonah Hill” but later apologized when the actress called in to his show. Recently, while he was interviewing Joan Rivers, the 80-year-old comedienne slammed Dunham for being “fat” and for not encouraging women to “look better.” Fortunately, the actress seems unaffected by the opinions of others and continues to be true to herself.
The British actress is known for her waifish frame which, based on the criticisms of heavier stars, should be the ideal body type in Hollywood but her experience demonstrates that you just can’t win. Back in 2004, Keira Knightley was shocked to see that the movie poster for King Arthur had been retouched to give her larger breasts. From that point forward, she made it clear that she never wanted to have her body altered in promotional materials ever again.
The sultry Mad Men star embraces her curves and shudders at the use of the term “full figure.” She has commented on the fact that she works hard on the show but that everyone seems fixated on how she looks. The upside to this is that Christina Hendricks has been recognized as one of the most beautiful women in the world by both men and women and has helped redefine the idea of what it means to be powerful and sexy in a male-dominated work environment.
While it certainly helps, we don’t need to wait for a shift Hollywood to occur before we make changes in how we see ourselves. Accept yourself as you are and show love and gratitude for the only body you will ever have.