Jessica Simpson Says Not ‘Making’ Herself Anorexic Was A ‘Branding’ Decision
Jessica Simpson, who recently announced her pregnancy, has endured so many slings and arrows about her weight. It seems that the moment she moved beyond the media’s comfortable size-two mold, she was up for criticism and slander. But the singer has responded to questions about her weight in the new issue of Lucky, in which she asserts that her decision to not be anorexic was actually a great decision in branding — and not say, a decision for her health?
Simpson says in the magazine’s profile that many women have approached her since her weight gain and thanked her for straying from the stick-thin celebrity ideal. That I believe, and I do find it to be positive to have fuller women in the media who respond positively to fat-shaming. Making women of all shapes more visible in the media conveys to young girls, and women alike, that clothing size isn’t a prerequisite to success — in any arena.
But when Simpson elaborated on her decisions to defy the media, she makes a terrible blunder telling audiences that not “making” herself anorexic has been fantastic for her career:
“I got so much scrutiny for putting on extra pounds, but I think that the decision not to make myself anorexic was actually great for branding,” she says. “Because when you’re really, really skinny, not everybody can relate to you.”
Anorexia and other eating disorders are not “branding” decisions. They’re very serious illnesses with severe health consequences. Jessica’s flippant comment about getting bigger positively impacting her career may have intended to be positive, but she essentially says that fluctuations in weight can still boost career opportunities — whether going big or small — which is not a conducive comment to discussions about body image. She also manages to take a swipe at smaller women by adding that they aren’t relatable as public figures because of their size.[tagbox tag=”eating disorders”]
Absent are comments about going bigger for the sake of her health, or stopping diets because they were too extreme and ultimately harmful — something that particularly young girls could stand to hear in the pages of a fashion magazine. Her entire decision to love her body is couched in a branding choice.
Women and girls don’t need further insistence that their body should inhibit their career goals and aspirations, unless we’re talking about athletic ambitions. Jessica may be happier with her fuller form, but her comments do a disservice to women of all sizes by stating that body size should be used as leverage in a profession.