A Moment of Jen
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Monday, April 01, 2002
posted by Jen at 4/01/2002 05:05:00 PM

Just got through reading Kate Betts' half-hearted mea culpa in yesterday's New York Times. Betts is the former editor of Harper's Bazaar -- the one who decreed that the Bridget Jones-era Renee Zellweger was too zaftig to appear on its cover.

"It wasn't as if she was wearing Gwyneth Paltrow's fat suit from "Shallow Hal,""But that girl-next-door charisma was nowhere to be seen." (Hmm, so the girl-next-door charisma came across just fine on the big screen in the movie, but not in a photograph? Go figure) "Even after several thousand dollars' worth of airbrushing, there was no hiding the truth. It's not in anyone's best interest to publish these," I said delicately. The cover was killed."

But, says Betts, she was wrong. Clearly, the world of high fashion is caught up in a plus-size revolution! She goes on to marvel that Saks actually has a whole floor (a whole floor!) devoted to plus-size fashion, and to breathlessly note that there's even a plus-size fashion show each year in New York (and guess what, Kate? They don't make us larger-than-a-size-fourteen gals ride in the back of buses anymore, either!) She wrings her hands about how her own ambivalence might have been the reason for killing the photos. She treats readers to the saga of trying to lose 10 pounds of "baby fat," and how fashionistas whispered unkindly about her. And at the end, she sticks her chin out defiantly and seems to say that a plump Renee still wasn't cover-worthy. "By gaining weight for "Bridget Jones," she defied the cultural archetype and presented an image of herself that permeated the surface. In the theater world they call that bravura. Is that a pose for a cover? You tell me."

Okay, then, I will. Yes, it was a pose for a cover. And Kate Betts is a big fat coward for wimping out.

Printing the photos of Zellweger (who was, what? all of a size eight?) would have been in many peoples' best interest. It would have been in the best interests of the millions of women who, since the sad demise of MODE, absolutely never get to see anyone who even vaguely resembles them in the pages of a mass-market publication. It would have been in the best interests of girls and teenagers who are going to spend years of misery trying to attain the Kate Moss silhouette that Betts and her ilk have deemed acceptable. It would have been a brave move, and a smart move. It might have even meant that Kate Betts would still have a job at Bazaar, instead of just regrets.

Okay, glad I got that out of my system. On to happier news -- fresh Bachelor tonight! I was in the car for fifteen minutes, and must've heard three ads for the show, complete with kitty-cat meow sound effects. God help me, I can't wait.

And on Wednesday, the tour cranks up again. I hope all you Philly locals will come to Borders at 17th and Walnut to hear me. I'll be reading from GOOD IN BED and, if time permits, from the I-swear-I'm-almost-done-with-it IN HER SHOES. Be there!
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