I can't name a single song Jessica Simpson sings, and I only saw her act once in The Dukes of Hazard film which some ex-boyfriend or other dragged me to see, but I've followed her life and beauty transformations via the continuous updates to the headlines on supermaket tabloids. When she lost weight after the divorce and emerged better than ever, I took note because her weight loss was accompanied with muscle tone; for that reason she's been a fitness icon for me along the same lines as Angelina Jolie (another fitness letdown since post-babies she's just ghastly thin) circa Lara Croft films.
But since last week pictures of a heavier Simpson have emerged, along with long lines of discussions about it that range from nasty and abusive to celebratory, or murmurs of publicity stunt. I stand somewhere in the middle of all these ideas. On one hand, yes, in the middle of a global economic crisis why is the media giving a celeb's weight gain this much press, and shame on all of us including me for giving the topic so many brain cells. And while she's not super-skinny she's not "fat," and if she walked into a bar just as she is, she'd find herself surrounded by admirers, some of whom are denouncing her weight gain at present. Really she should be applauded for not apologizing away her weight gain as depression-related and instead just saying she's happy with herself as she is.
At the same time, well Simpson at present is no fitness icon. When I pulled her picture up on my computer, I said to my husband "Oh, my goodness, Jessica Simpson is bigger than I am!" I felt betrayed. I work out for 2 hours 4-5 days a week to stay in my size 4-6 clothes, and when I do all that work, I have the vision that my life is resembling as closely as possible that of the rich and famous at least when we're all sweating at a pilates class. I don't do it for men to notice me. My husband wouldn't care if I wore a size 12, but I do it for the little girl inside of me who hasn't outgrown her dream to be revered on the red carpet, and it's important to me that the women who do "make it" appear as perfection I'll never achieve. That makes it feel fair to me that I'm at home eating peanuts while they wear ball gowns that cost more than my car. This is the same line of thinking that causes me to hold writing from writers my own age who've "made it" to an insanely high ideal.
Perhaps this is a publicity stunt from which Simpson will emerge triumphantly thin and touting some diet or exercise program. And if she is really here to stay as she is, well I say let's be body-positive and extend to her the same standard we give our girlfriends whom we love and find beautiful at whatever shape or size. But for myself, I'm staying on my exercise routine at present, just in case. I guess it will take more than one star crossing the divide between "them" and "us" for me to believe it's okay for me to also relax. Perhaps there are others I can look toward instead, like did you see the muscle tone on Anne Hathaway's thighs in Bride Wars?