Want to be a Hollywood starlet? Are you sure about that?

You might want to think again, unless you want a job in which everyone you work with gets to gossip about your weight.
This month in Redbook, “The Office” star Jenna Fisher explains what it is that makes weight gain a special kind of hell for Hollywood actresses:

In a normal job, if you gain or lose a few pounds, it’s no big deal. But in my business you have to tell someone so that the next time you go to a fitting, the clothes are the right size. It’s really embarrassing to have to say to your manager, ‘I’m now a 6 pant instead of a 4.’ Emails go out, and they cc the agents: ‘Jenna would like everyone to know that she’s now a 6 pant.’ This is why actresses obsess about their weight. It’s not a private affair.

We often talk about the excessive level of media scrutiny directed at the bodies of women in the public eye. But I’d never really realized that for those women, the scrutiny is constant. I can’t imagine what it would be like to live a life where my coworkers and my boss, in addition to photographers and gossip columnist and millions of complete strangers who happen to watch TV, would get to pass judgment on my appearance. Some might argue that it’s just the price of fame. But I’d argue it’s the price of a culture that has one strict version of female beauty, and that punishes any deviation from that vision.

Via Jezebel.

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at chloesangyal.com

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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  • http://cabaretic.blogspot.com nazza

    Though I am a man, and have a certain amount of male privilege that goes along with it, I know I could never survive for long in the public eye. That degree of constant scrutiny would be too much. I already scrutinize myself enough.

  • http://feministing.com/members/rachelsholiday/ Rachel

    Thanks for posting this! I’ve often felt that being an actress, especially in Hollywood, must be the worst thing ever. Because we all make mistakes, sometimes even really big ones. It’s not unsual for people to loose control of their lives, loose weight, gain weight, date tons of different people, etc. etc. The only difference is that rather than just letting people do their job (act) we let them do their job and help them feel horrible about themselves by blowing things out of proportion or spreading lies.

  • http://feministing.com/members/elizabetho/ Elizabeth

    I would argue that most women do undergo this scrutiny about their appearances in everyday life. It may not be publicly broadcast in the sense that e-mails are sent out, but then again sometimes they are. This is especially apparent with regards to weight – I am sure that most women have experienced other people discussing their weight, making comments about it, or being treated negatively because of it. I really don’t think this behaviour is limited to Hollywood.