On Behalf Of Renee Zellweger And Jennifer Aniston: We CAN Do Better

Photo: CloserMag
Renee Zellweger and Jennifer Anniston

Since forever, women have been brought up to believe they should look a certain way.

Even the Disney princesses are thin, and have traditionally beautiful features; as young girls grow up viewing these films, they turn to those role models for inspiration on how they should look. I’m not one of those “Don’t say plus-sized!” women, because I know I’m overweight and I own it. I don’t need a Disney character to represent me and I don’t need to add another label to my already growing list of politically correct titles I earn just being me.

But here’s the issue: When it comes to judging women on their body image, when is enough, enough?

Recently, rumors buzzed through the internet that Jennifer Aniston was pregnant because of course she would be: she’s married. Add the expectation of babies after marriage to the photos that leaked showing a slight pooch where her supposed hard-core six pack should be, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for gossip.

Spoiler alert: she’s not pregnant. 

Back in July, Aniston penned this essay for Huffington Post, and she’s absolutely “fed up”:

“If I am some kind of symbol to some people out there, then clearly I am an example of the lens through which we, as a society, view our mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, female friends and colleagues. The objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing.”

I agree with Jennifer ... it IS disturbing. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a celebrity of her stature and having unwanted cameras follow me aorund 24/7. 

I remember a few years ago, I had paid an exorbitant amount of money to get my hair done: cut, color and blowout. As I walked to my car, I felt a sense of pride I hadn’t felt in a long time and was less guilty that the money I spent on self-improvement was more than I could afford.

I opened my car door and as I got in, a bunch of young guys drove by and screamed “FATSO!” at me.

Every single penny I spent, every single minute that I felt happy, every single ounce of anything I felt was completely lost. The depression that set in was horrific. Yeah, I probably shouldn’t have let some losers get to me the way I did, but I was in a vulnerable place. I don’t need to justify my feelings. Can you imagine living that way every moment of your life? I, for one, cannot.

But Jennifer Aniston isn’t the only one taking a stand. With a new chapter to the Bridget Jone’s Diary franchise coming out soon, Renee Zellweger is back in the spotlight, and being called out for the way she looks, because OF COURSE SHE IS!

Headlines take up space on major celebrity news sites claiming she’s had work done, she’s too thin, too fat, has had too much botox and the list goes on. Thankfully, Renee Zellweger has spoken up in her own Huffington Post essay “We Can Do Better.” And yes, we can! 

In the article posted August 5th, Zellweger says:  

“I’m writing because to be fair to myself, I must make some claim on the truths of my life, and because witnessing the transmutation of tabloid fodder from speculation to truth is deeply troubling. The ‘eye surgery’ tabloid story itself did not matter, but it became the catalyst for my inclusion in subsequent legitimate news stories about self-acceptance and women succumbing to social pressure to look and age a certain way. In my opinion, that tabloid speculations become the subject of mainstream news reporting does matter.”

"It's no secret a woman's worth has historically been measured by her appearance," she continued. "Too skinny, too fat, showing age, better as a brunette, cellulite thighs, facelift scandal, going bald, fat belly or bump? Ugly shoes, ugly feet, ugly smile, ugly hands, ugly dress, ugly laugh; headline material which emphasizes the implied variables meant to determine a person's worth."

Other female celebrities tweeted support:

Alyssa Milano thanked her: 

As did Rebel Wilson: 

Mira Sorvino applauded: 

I don’t have a daughter, but if I did, I would find it so hard to instill confidence in her, because I myself, am not entirely confident.

I compare myself all too often to those in Hollywood and wish I looked “better” or “thinner” but as I get older, I find it’s harder to lose weight, and my face is my face, I can’t do anything about that. However, I’m in my 30s and as insecure as I may be on certain days, I’m also confident in who I am. I've had years to learn to love me. What of the girls who are just entering puberty? What of the girls entering their teens? 

With social media being such a prevalent part of our life, it’s difficult to keep our children away. It’s only inevitable that at some point, our daughters will come across some form of online bullying or body shaming. What can we do to prevent that? Normally, I’d say I’m not sure but this time, I have an answer.

As parents, caregivers, and educators, we need to develop confidence in our children from a young age. We need to express to them that no matter what size, color, or length we are, we all are humans who have feelings. We need to do this BEFORE social media gets to them, and before the anonymous, armchair critics destroy our children’s sense of self. 

We need to do better. We can do better. We will do better.

Renee, this ones for YOU! 

We're all still cheering you on. Thank you.