Jennifer Hudson was one of the most talked about celebs at the Oscars this year — but she wasn’t a hot topic because of any nominations or an upcoming film. No, everyone was talking about J-Hud because she looked thin in her orange Atelier Versace dress.
Why? Was it the sexy plunging neckline that created the buzz? Jennifer’s body has been the subject of discussion ever since she hooked up with Weight Watchers and shed 80 pounds. It’s the gift and the curse of any young star: drop a few pounds and see your celebrity rise — though there’s no guarantee it’ll all be good attention.
While everyone feigned celebration and acceptance for Jennifer’s former body, the real compliments started rolling in once she dropped down to a size 6. But people went from happy to “concerned” when she stepped on the red carpet this past week. It appears that when it comes to her body, Jennifer has yet to find that magic number to make everyone happy.
Obviously her body is not of her own power, or else so many people wouldn’t feel so comfortable with dishing out the unsolicited advice and criticism. Her weight is something to be collectively studied and reflected on, as witnessed by the many news stories on the topic. Among the comments that you can read on any story associated with Jennifer’s weight loss you’ll see: ‘She probably had gastric bypass’, ‘She won’t keep it off’, ‘She doesn’t look right’, ‘She cheated Weight Watchers by using a personal trainer’, ‘She’s betrayed the happy big girl crowd’. Yes, some are happy for her weight loss, but the fact that multiple media outlets are debating her thinness shows that the supportive crowd is outnumbered. Seems that jealousy is one of the more prevalent emotions making its way in the comments section.
The argument that she may be too thin is downright ludicrous. Jennifer’s not hula hooping in a cheerio, there’s no visible bones violently jutting through paper-thin skin. Jennifer probably looks like a lot of women her age, and by Hollywood standards she’d still be booked as curvy.
Yes her new look takes some getting used to. Even Jennifer herself told Oprah, “It’s like a brand new me. Sometimes I don’t even recognize myself.”
But more importantly she seems happy and healthy at her new size, something that critics will only acknowledge at the tail end of an insult. When did people stop being happy for her new body and start acting a little bit envious?
In a perfect world J-Hud’s body wouldn’t be news and a woman’s figure wouldn’t factor as such a major determinant in her popularity and success. It’s because of this disproportionate focus on the physical that eating disorders exist — because a woman’s worth can be measured on a bathroom scale, at least according to mass media.
People aren’t asking about her weight in genuine concern. They’re perpetuating the cruel practice of judging a woman on her looks, and the lie that what you have is never good enough. There must be some mysterious secret algorithm that subtracts your age from your weight, divides it in two, then multiplies it by the number of times you’ve been described as being “pretty in the face,” and then a little more mystery math to come to the number at which you will be accepted as the “perfect” weight. Jennifer’s detractors must still be crunching the numbers, so we’ll all have to wait and see what size outsiders decide is best for her.
Ultimately one can’t conjure too many feelings of pity for the criticism Jennifer is experiencing — she decided to become a Weight Watchers spokesperson and ride that wave of talk show appearances. She has willingly made her weight the subject of discussion. However it is disappointing that in an age of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, a woman can’t lose a healthy amount of weight without it becoming an issue of vanity.