A Weighty Issue: Anne Hathaway and Les Miserables

With so many girls forced to look at successful women in the media that have weight issues, it should make people more concerned over how women are generally portrayed. We have all heard about models losing outrageous amounts of weight, and young dancers dying because of insane diets and workout schedules; but when it is in regards to actors, it is rarely discussed. In a recent interview, Anne Hathaway admitted to losing 25 pounds in order to look emaciated for her role as Fantine in the highly anticipated movie musical, Les Miserables. Hathaway had spent months building up muscle in order to effectively play Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises (see photo 1), but all that muscle and toned body contrasted to the look of the poor, sick prostitute she played in her next film. So, she exercised and went on an extreme diet in order to create the look. Hathaway has been very honest and keeps stressing that she was closely monitored by several doctors through the process, and is discouraging anyone from copying her weight loss. Continuing, Hathaway also had almost all of her hair cut off for the movie role (see photos 2 and 3). While I understand that Hathaway did all of this for the movie (and resumed her normal diet and exercise immediately after filming), and I still admire her as an actress, but this whole issue makes me wonder whether actresses have much control over their weight in the industry. Two years ago, Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis were told to lose an extreme amount of weight for their roles as ballerinas in the Oscar-winning film, Black Swan. While both actresses performed brilliantly in the film, I still felt that they were both put under insane requirements– and the fact that Portman won the Best Actress Oscar made me wonder whether girls would think being incredibly thin would make them more successful.

While I am by no means curvaceous (honestly, I am very petite and thin), I still find it unfair that so many of us are constantly forced to look at sickly-thin girls in the media. This creates a negative body image for many people and creates animosity for both girls that are curvaceous and svelte. Instead of the media focusing on extremes– whether that be morbid obesity or emaciatedly skinny– why not stress that being healthy comes in all shapes and sizes? Why not encourage people to be happy with their natural, healthy figures? And, again, why can’t actresses just say “no” when they are told to lose an extreme amount of weight?

What do you think of this issue? Do you think actresses, or just women in general, have the right to say “no” when they are told to lose weight and/or to be a specific size? All opinions are welcome.

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