Newsflash: the mainstream media isn't always kind to women, particularly when it comes to their physical appearances. Thankfully, some celebrity ladies use their fame as a platform to fight the media’s (and our culture at large’s) damaging obsession with women's waistlines and butt sizes–Ashley Judd’s totally awesome rallying cry against tabloids comes to mind. And now Scarlett Johansson, in the Huffington Post, has attempted to join the ranks of The Judd.
Johansson recently starred in The Avengers as badass femme fatale Black Widow, a role for which she had to get into superhero shape. Now that filming’s over and the movie’s out, Johansson feels that while she “no longer need to rehash the 50 ways to lift a dumbbell,” she’d like to stay active for her own personal wellness.
She follows this with a confrontation of the tabloid media that made all sorts of false claims about her weight loss during her preparation for The Avengers. She condemns the “irresponsibility” of the tabloid media for dictating ideals of physical beauty that are clearly unrealistic, and dangerous to obtain.
She recounts U.S. eating disorders statistics–as many as 10 million women and 1 million men are fighting a life-and-death battle with anorexia or bulimia. She also criticizes the messages the media sends, especially to impressionable young girls.
When I first read the piece, I was reasonably impressed. I’m a fan of Johansson’s work, and I always appreciate it when celebrities criticize the very obvious flaws of the movie and magazine industries. But at the same time, I raised a skeptical eyebrow.
Take a look at Johansson. She’s voluptuous, she’s beautiful, she’s petite–she fits perfectly into Hollywood's existing standards of beauty. When she shoots ad campaigns for brands like Dolce & Gabbana or Mango, she’s “selling” her beauty to the masses–and that sends out a very specific message that goes hand-in-hand with what the media already preaches. So while I applaud her attempt to unpack the flawed ideals of beauty and body image that the industry perpetuates, isn't she buying into them? And helping further them?
In the end, I think I’m just happy that an outspoken lady like Johansson is using her celebrity to send a message of body positivity. What do you all think?
(Images via IMDb)
The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.