Actress Rebel Wilson‘s name is in the news because she’s lost weight. Again.
It feels like a celebrity gossip version of “Groundhog Day.” Every few weeks, either Wilson or singer Adele becomes one of the most buzzed-about topics of the day because a new photo pops up of one of the women, reminding us all that she’s significantly thinner than she was when she first rose to fame.
Why do we keep doing this?
The latest iteration came Monday, a day after Wilson, who earned her fame as a comedy actress in the “Pitch Perfect” franchise playing a character dubbed “Fat Amy,” shared a series of Instagram posts that caught the attention of fans. Some posts expressed pride over committing to an exercise routine, while others showed off a more glam side, posing in beautiful dresses with hair and makeup done.
“This week was super busy but I got up super early 3 times (6am 😜) and went on a hike…even did a couple of 100m sprints to get the heart rate even higher (although my ‘sprint’ is probably someone else’s ‘slow jog’ 😝) but I felt proud of myself and now only 3kg’s away from my goal weight!” she captioned a photo of herself hiking.
In another post, she joked that fans should “just call me Fit Amy.”
Wilson is clearly intending to celebrate the progress she’s made on her weight loss journey. Being proud of her own accomplishments is great, and from a fan perspective, maybe it’ll help inspire others who wanted to get fit but struggle to find motivation.
But it’s also nonsense to say that the conversation going on about these two women is all about spreading body positivity while ignoring the fact that this is also happening because they now have the body type our culture deems conventionally attractive. Celebrity culture is welcoming more discussions on the achievements of female creators, but it still puts a major emphasis on physical appearance.
If Wilson decided she wanted to lose weight for health reasons, good for her. Unfortunately, much of the discussion surrounding celebrities’ weight overlooks a lot of unknown information to assume that a person is (or isn’t) healthy based on how much they weigh (for the record, being thin isn’t always healthy, either).
In Adele’s case, perhaps it was shocking to see the not-often-photographed celebrity suddenly look very different than previously. But we’ve known for more than a year that Adele doesn’t look the same as she did when she first stepped into the spotlight over 10 years ago. It shouldn’t be news anymore.
The major problem is that these spikes in online conversations reach regular women who hear they’re not interesting, attractive or worthy of love until they reach the latter half of their “before and after” shots.
The entertainment industry is full of stories that tell us women are only worth paying attention to once they’ve dropped to a size 2. See: “Insatiable,” “Friends,” “Pretty Little Liars” and every other TV show that played a character’s plus-size past as either a tragic or comedic backstory.
Things are getting better in terms of positive representation: Shows like Aidy Bryant’s “Shrill” remind us that plus-size women can be compelling stars without losing weight first. Mo’Nique starred in the 2006 romantic comedy “Phat Girlz” and Queen Latifah led 2006’s “The Last Holiday” and 2010’s “Just Wright.” Lizzo sings about feeling “good as hell” without any hesitation over loving her body. Even Wilson starred in a rom-com last year opposite Hollywood hunk Liam Hemsworth.
Adele and Wilson have been talented, funny, beautiful and hardworking entertainers for years. So let’s talk about that instead.