Maneuvering through Hollywood as a female is a role in itself. Just like a young girl who faces the nuances of judgment, the women who they look up to go through the same obstacle. Though one would assume that a famous and rich female is unstoppable, especially Jennifer Lawrence, who plays the courageous Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, comments about a person’s appearance inevitably make their way through the mind and attach to any doubt that’s left.
As an Oscar-winning actress for her role in Silver Linings Playbook, Lawrence has had her fair share of time in the limelight. She’s one of the industry’s most acclaimed actresses, having grossed over $6 billion from lead roles in the X-Men franchise as well as films like American Hustle and Red Sparrow. She was named as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World and mentioned on Forbes Celebrity 100 list.
Her work in film is exceptional, and she continues to bring her versatility in genres, as her new film No Hard Feelings features Lawrence in an explicitly mature role, separate from her popular leads as a shape-shifting mutant and hunting connoisseur.
Lawrence Criticized on Her Image Early in Career
Though a dominant force, Lawrence has been exposed to the unfortunate event of body image shaming. Having been stated that her physique is “normal,” Lawrence highly disagrees with this statement, saying that it’s gotten to the point where if you’re underweight, the slightest bit of weight gain can alter a person’s opinion of you. Lawrence notes that she just does Pilates and eats well, never looking to alter her body for a role or anyone but herself, if she so desires.
She was also told early on in her career that if she was fat and couldn’t lose weight, she wouldn’t book any roles. She then insisted that she be careful while training for her role in The Hunger Games because she didn’t want to send out the wrong message that you have to starve yourself in order to succeed. Stating that if anyone ever mentions the word “diet,” they can go on their merry way, as she’s been down the winding road of dieting and doesn’t believe it’s healthy to limit oneself in regards to hunger.
Lawrence has also noted that she isn’t acting to make people happy, she’s doing it because it makes her happy, so the way she keeps her figure shouldn’t even be a factor in being a fan of hers. When talking about her stance on her career and body image critiques, Lawrence has said, “The world has a certain idea – we see this airbrushed perfect model image … You just have to look past it. You look how you look. And be comfortable. Like, what are you gonna do, be hungry every single day to make other people happy? That’s just dumb.”
Lawrence Launches a Foundation of Empowerment
Lawrence not only just stands for body positivity, but she also takes matters into her own hands. In 2015, she founded the Jennifer Lawrence Foundation, advocating for Boys & Girls Clubs and the Special Olympics all across America. Looking to empower the youth of our generation, Lawrence’s foundation aims to help children and adolescents succeed in their education and claim a brighter future for themselves both financially and morally.
Actresses Alike Face Body-Shaming Within Industry
Not only is Lawrence known for her command of body positivity, but actresses like Melissa McCarthy and Rebel Wilson have also expressed their experience with image control while auditioning for a role. When McCarthy first stepped into the industry for her role in Bridesmaids, a reporter asked her numerous times, embarrassingly, if and why she was comfortable with being so “grotesque.” McCarthy recalls feeling flushed and taken aback, as she could have never imagined being criticized for her appearance instead of her talent.
A statement from McCarthy about the differences between women and men in the industry also reflects what many are thinking, “It happens all the time, to the point where it’s fascinating because they don’t do it to men.” Continuing, “Not to be a jerk or single him out, but when John Goodman was heavier, did anybody ever talk about his girth?” Despite making a valuable point, the inequality of standards in the film industry regarding size is a never-ending fight.
Rebel Wilson has also experienced body-shaming while behind the scenes of filming for movies like Pitch Perfect, Bridesmaids, and The Hustle where her executive team applauded her for being “the funny fat girl.” Though Wilson wanted to lose weight along her career path, and recently has, she was given backlash, as her overweight appearance was gaining her millions of dollars. This led to Wilson having feelings that led to her thinking, well, what about her career and why her body? She said the following.
“Is that what a woman has to do in the world, lose weight to get attention? It’s fascinating, why are people so obsessed with it? Like, with women in particular about their looks? I know what it’s like to be a woman who is essentially invisible to most people because of not being seen as traditionally beautiful or whatever. It’s crazy to try to fit that. It’s just better to be the healthiest version.”
Actresses Supporting Another
Though a shame that many women in film face the harsh criticism of not only fans, but their own colleagues, it’s amazing how the females in the industry come together to lift each other up. From the outside, it may look easy to bring happiness to millions of people but seldom do fans think about the behind-the-scenes makeup of actors’ lives. Even the most acclaimed actresses like Jennifer Lawrence are subjected to the backlash of being as perfect as someone desires her to be, despite being the skilled and entertaining person that she is being paid to be. The better part of the conversation about body image, however, is that there are people who support females in film regardless of their appearance, and for that, we are thankful.