Body Bullying

Which celebrity dared to ease up on her workout routine and still showed her face? Was it media mogul Tyra Banks? Since leaving modeling, she's been open about picking up weight. Or maybe actress Jennifer Love Hewitt? Surely, you remember the heat they both took for daring to don swimsuits instead of hiding their curves when they were out trying to enjoy themselves on a beach. But it's neither of them this time around. No, today's whipping girl is Jessica Simpson who is being pilloried for putting on a few pounds and not going into hiding over it. The nerve of her! What was she thinking? Bad, bad, Jessica.  

Seriously, though,this kind of belittling has been going on since forever and now with all the blogs and Internet sites, it has gotten even worse. Yesterday, when I was listening to the morning programs, I even heard it referred to by a new term - body bullying. “Jessica Simpson is becoming part of this trend we call body-bullying,” People magazine editor Galina Espinoza  Espinoza said on NBC's "Today Show."  “People are cruelly mocking her, making her feel like there is something wrong with her just because she has a slightly fuller figure. It’s something that’s going on increasingly in Hollywood.”

Tony Romo and Jessica Simpson

In a way, celebrities such as Simpson set themselves up for this kind of criticism because so much of what they do is based upon idealized images of themselves that they put out there. Simpson made a whole a lot of money prancing around in a pair of daisy duke short shorts for the "Dukes of Hazzard" movie. But then, an unflattering photo - or else one that makes them look heavier as was the case with Simpson - makes its way onto the Internet, that's when tongues start wagging. 

The Boston Herald called Jessica Simpson "porky." A Fox News  headline reads, "Jessica Simpson Shocks Fans with Noticeably Fuller Figure."  The New York Daily News has a piece questioning her sister assertion that Jessica is a size 2. Good grief! I'm not especially concerned about how the millionaire celebrities feel when something like this happens. But I find myself thinking about the messages that everyday women take away from seeing stars who look like themselves ridiculed for their weight. This has to have an impact.       

“It really is damaging to a lot of women,” Emme, the model, said on the "Today Show." “They’re going to look at this beautiful, gorgeous image and with all the jokes that are surrounding her, they look at themselves and say, ‘Well, if she is getting all this grief, what’s going on with me?’ ”