A Moment of Jen
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Thursday, December 23, 2004
posted by Jen at 12/23/2004 08:37:00 PM

One of the best questions I got on the book tour for LITTLE EARTHQUAKES came in, where a reader asked about plus-size celebrities who lose weight. Do they have an obligation to talk about how, or why, they’re doing it? By going from large to small, are they betraying the cause?

I’m not sure I had a good answer then, but basically, what I think is this: what individuals do with, or to, their own bodies is entirely up to them. If a woman, famous or not, decides she needs to diet or have weight loss surgery for her own health or happiness, far be it from me to sit in judgment.

What bugs me is the way that some dieting celebrities downsize their tolerance, going from “I’m big and I’m beautiful” to “I’m thin and I’m sexy and I’m SO MUCH BETTER NOW, so fie on you fatties, I’m getting naked for Playboy!”

I try not to judge. I try to be ever mindful that actresses and singers labor under different constraints than writers, who are almost expected to be on the frumpy side (or at least to look less lovely in person than they do in their author photos, on the rare occasions when they get recognized at all).

But can I just say that Kirstie Alley is breaking my heart?

I had high hopes for Kirstie. She’s beautiful, talented, and brave enough to call her show “Fat Actress.” If anyone could tell those nasty tabloids or narrow-minded Hollywood to get bent, Kirstie’s my girl!

And she was…for about ten minutes.

Now, as devotees of People know, Kirstie’s over her big-and-proud phase, which lasted about as long as Veronica's Closet, and has proceeded directly to penitential-dieting purgatory.

She had fun getting fat, but now she wants to get skinny. She hasn’t had sex in four and a half years, because she doesn’t want to have “fat sex” (whatever that is). She’s miserable, and unhappy, and most of all she’s sorry that she let herself go and drank too much soda pop and wound up with a body that’s an affront to….to who, exactly? The National Enquirer’s photo editors? Hollywood casting agents? Hugh Hefner?

Whoever she was worried about offending, it wasn’t her fellow size-fourteen-and-beyond sisters. We cheered when she posed for People, critiquing her old photographs, talking about how ridiculous it was that she felt too fat to wear a two-piece bathing suit during her Star Trek era.

We cried when she posed for People again and said that fat isn’t pretty, or sexy, and that she’s going to be thin by the time “Fat Actress” is released – one of the odder promotional strategies I’ve heard.

The final nail in the coffin – Kirstie’s now shilling for Jenny Craig, because “their food is, hands-down, the yummiest!”

The yummmiest? I think I just threw up a little in my mouth. Which means that this Jenny Craig weight-loss regimen is going to work for one of us.

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