My Internal Struggle With This Jessica Simpson Baby Weight Mess
I am…conflicted. Please, hear me out.
So, as you may have heard, Jessica Simpson got pregnant. Then she got very big. Then she had a baby. Then she got smaller, but not as smaller or as quickly as many other famous females sometimes do. This is a very big deal. She has spent practically the last year as a fat punchline to some, as a symbol of the unfair and often impossible standards of beauty demanded of women to many others.
Here’s where I fall on the spectrum: I don’t think she’s either.
Because, yeah, it’s stupid that people are giving her shit for not being thin enough. That sucks.
Jessica Simpson signed the dotted line and made a multi-millon dollar deal with Weight Watchers to lose this baby weight, turning the public focus to her body on purpose.
We can break this down into a few different points:
- Losing the baby weight is stupid hard, and it can be a real struggle. And, while it’s a tad difficult for me to feel okay with the fact that a billionaire whose only actual job is to put her name on shoes is trying to play the “I’m just like you, women with full-time jobs and not-nannies” card, I shan’t fault her for that, because at least it truly is more relatable than the celebrities who hand the kid over to anyone who will take it and proceed to work out six hours a day. Plus, the natural chemistry of one’s body changes after giving birth, so, for many women, it’s not even a matter of working out or dieting—it’s a whole hormonal disaster of stupid. So I’ll give her that one. Point Simpson.
- THAT SAID. It’s Jessica Simpson. Jessica. Simpson. The girl who, before we named her Holy Saint F-Cup, Patron Saint of People Who Weigh Over 130, we all knew as basically a helium balloon with blonde hair. Was this fair? Hell, who knows. I don’t know her personally. But the whole persona she’s cultivated over the past 13 years has been one of “I fart and say really stupid things and you need to think I’m adorable.” I’m sure she’s a very sweet person with a heart made of gummy bears, but the fact that Weight Watchers genuinely thought that this person, who has spent her entire career not really being able to actually do anything, could pull off a Christian Bale-esque transformation in five months without a small army of babysitters and handlers. That’s on them. Point Not-Weight Watchers.
- THAT SAID. I can’t even talk about her various flaws and foibles without feeling bad. She really does seem nice. Aw. BUT, she made a career out of being a dumb giggly girl, making a living out of perpetuating the idea that stupid equals cute. That is annoying. BUT, aw. And now I have a headache.
- THAT SAID. She took the deal. Therefore, she is the one who made it about her body. This is not like those annoying people who say things like “she decided to become famous, so she has to deal with it.” That is not the case. My issue is that by making the business decision to make your body the focal point of an entire advertising campaign, expecting high fives and accolades and magazine covers, it is at best naive, at worst delusional, to expect only those things.
Again, this has nothing to do with whether or not she should have lost the weight, be it from a contractual standpoint or a societal standpoint. We should not care that the star of Blonde Ambition isn’t as skinny as her peers in the industry, even though I don’t know who those peers are anymore, because she doesn’t technically have a job other than Name On Shoes. No one should be putting pressure on anyone, famous or otherwise, to lose weight for purely aesthetic purposes, particularly after giving birth. I mean, *solidarity fist* I feel you, my sister. And, for the record, I think she looks good.
BUT. SHE DID IT! She willingly participated in a huge series of negotiations all about her physical appearance for the sole purpose of using said physical appearance to sell a product. She is being celebrated as a “you go girl” icon for fighting the idea that we need to lose weight shortly after having a baby for making the decision to become the national spokesmodel for losing weight shortly after having a baby.
And, now, she’s going on a media blitz, talking about how she wouldn’t appear in a full body shot in her Weight Watchers ad because she “didn’t want it to be about her weight.” Because that’s not her, that’s not what she does. (AHEM.) I call bullshit. If she’d gotten down to the right number, she’d be in those Daisy Dukes again on the cover of People. It’s only not about the numbers right now because it’s not the right number. And, while I respect the things she is saying about her struggle and just wanting to be happy with herself, it rings hollow when you remember that her whole plan was to flaunt a hot bod in our faces as though it were something we could all accomplish.
Because she didn’t take four million dollars to be your martyr. She took four million dollars to be hotter than you. And now she’s being turned into some kind of hero for womankind, fighting the good fight for all of us, when it all started by signing herself to participate in the very societal pressure she is supposedly rallying us against.
So, I am…conflicted. On one hand, I am an admirer of famous women with atypical bodies for their industry. On the other hand, I am loath to celebrate someone purporting to be “just like me!” as a backup plan when the initial goal of whittling herself down to 2005 didn’t work out. On the other hand, wouldn’t it be a fantastic world if we suddenly didn’t give a fried Twinkie about a famous person’s weight? On the other hand (for the purposes of this confused rant, I am an octopus. With hands.), wouldn’t it be great if those famous people didn’t try so hard to make us care about their weight (but only if it’s enviable)? On the other hand, some celebrities that do these campaigns really are trying to help people. On the other hand, having a formerly plump celebrity shill weight loss plans is totally different from someone who just had a goddamn baby being expected to not only lose all that weight on a deadline, but to credit the weight loss plan with the entire weight loss, even though at least 20 pounds—minimum—of it is pure nature. On the other hand, maybe I’m cynical and she’s coming from a place only of goodness and light. On the other hand, chicken. By the sea.
I’m at a loss.