Kate Hudson Slams The Media’s Portrayal Of Body Image


When it comes to the burden of responsibility of how young men and women develop a sense of body image, the media has a huge role to play. Just pick up any tabloid magazine where the majority of stories are centered around baby weight, female celebs in bikinis, suspected baby bumps and general appearance. It has become commonplace to make the focus of a celebrity-driven story what they look like, therefore perpetuating the notion that a person’s worth is solely tied to their appearance.

It is a dangerous trend that has a mass effect. Kids as young as 8 in Australia have admitted they are unhappy with the way they look or consider themselves “fat” according to a recent study. In Cyprus another study showed more than one in four girls and over one in ten boys aged 10 to 18 show signs of developing an eating disorder while 0.78 per cent of girls and 0.14 per cent of boys are already anorexic.

The same survey also showed that around 40 per cent of girls and 18 per cent of boys were not happy with their body weight and wanted to change at least one aspect of their appearance.

Eating disorders have also become a common natural progression from low self-esteem and negative body image. How does the media play a part in a young woman or man getting an eating disorder? In the US, studies show that only 5% of women in real life possess the figures used in advertising and fashion, meaning 95% of the female population is automatically discounted when the topic of “the perfect body” is being discussed in the media.

There have been numerous celebrities speaking candidly about their perspective on the topic, and they are not just female celebs. First up, actress Kate Hudson spoke to Red Magazine in the UK about how she is sick to death of all the reports surrounding her weight every time she goes through a major life event, like becoming pregnant or giving birth.


“Gossip magazines really, really want women to look bad. Why would you paint such a bad picture of women that young girls look up to? I will never understand that,” she says while talking about the relentless attention her love life has also gotten by the press. But when it comes to body image, don’t take the smiling, bubbly, petite mother-of-two as a doormat. She once sued a publication for incorrectly reporting that she had an eating disorder.

“If there is one thing I will never have, it is an eating disorder. I won’t have girls – even if it is just one or two who care – thinking that. Because it’s a serious sickness, not something to plaster on the cover of a magazine. And I am the opposite.”

It’s sad to think that while the media, fashion and advertising industries are forcing women to believe they need to be thin to be beautiful and accepted, when someone is naturally petite or skinny they get shamed regardless! Kate says the harsh comments made by gossip magazines during her pregnancies show a lack of respect for women and their bodies.

“I want to be giving girls the message that, sometimes you do gain 70 pounds having a baby, and you can lose it if you want. The whole point is I want girls to love themselves. I want them to feel good about who they are.”

Its a tough line to walk, especially when celebs are expected to be role models and set good examples. But when it comes naturally the message is certainly more powerful than anything negative. And as we demonstrated from the various studies cited above, men too fall prey to the intense scrutiny of body image.


Actor and comedian Will Arnett spoke about the pressure he has felt in a press conference for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with co-star Megan Fox.

“I do feel that pressure from time to time, but I spend a lot of time in more comedic endeavors and I have always maintained that there is nothing funny about a six pack,” he says when asked whether male stars feel the same pressure as women to look a certain way in films.

“No matter what you do as a performer, you are judged by how you look. People think actors are overly so concerned about their image. But imagine if everybody was always commenting on how you look. We live in an age where people let you know, there’ll be some dingbat who is living in their mum’s basement tweeting about how ‘he looks terrible’ or ‘he looks fat’.”

The change of attitudes about body image in the media is not going to happen overnight, because the negative standards have been allowed free reign for far too long. Thankfully celebrities today have an amplified speaking platform thanks to the internet and social media, so when we hear body positive messages like that of Kate’s we immediately want to share it far and wide, giving an inspiring message more “airtime” than trashy tabloid news.

The bottom line is the media is a great source of information, but should not be the standard by which we measure ourselves physically, as the messages are very inconsistent and can be disempowering. It is important to discover our self worth from within and not look to external measures for validation in any way.

In the meantime three cheers for celebrities who continue to use their voice to speak against the crap we are so sick of hearing!





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