Celebrity Diet Campaigns and The Media’s Obsession with Weight

The female body has long been treated as an object for mainstream media and the entertainment industry to literally poke a prod at. Women are constantly being evaluated in terms of weight, with thinness being championed as the norm for beauty. Celebrities often get plastered on the covers of glossy, gossip magazines coupled with captions that read So-and-so packed on 15 pounds, or Guess which starlet just went up three pant sizes?

The entertainment industry’s obsession with shaming women because of their weight has deep-seeded roots in western beauty standards. It’s an obsession that not only impacts the body image of countless women from around the globe, but one that plagues established actors and musicians as well; celebrities are labeled “plus-size” in a way that often undermines their achievements. Media influence, combined with the entertainment and diet industries has created one incredibly multi-faceted, body-negative reality that women must navigate through every day.

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Actress Rebel Wilson
Image: rebelwilson via Instagram

One marketing tactic that has become popular in the diet industry (an astounding $35 billion a year industry) is using celebrities to endorse products. Musicians Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Hudson have been part of huge campaigns for Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig, respectively, and reality stars like the Kardashians have been photographed for diet pill advertisements. The latest celebrity to make headlines for their association with dieting promotions is actress-comedian Rebel Wilson, who reportedly has multiple weight loss companies fighting to establish a contract with her.

All of the media frenzy, weight-loss companies and campaigns, and countless degrading headlines beg the question: Why can’t we just leave women’s bodies alone? Celebrity endorsement for dieting campaigns is a complicated, controversial thing. On the one hand, are these women selling out in favor of the “popular standards for female beauty” while losing credibility as role models for young girls? Or are they simply cashing in their checks from Jenny Craig while maintaining just enough weight loss to keep a contract?

What do you think about celebrity endorsement of weight loss campaigns and the media’s dangerous obsession with weight and female bodies?

Featured Image: Shutterstock

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