Do you watch The Conversation with Amanda De Cadenet? Be prepared to lose a bit of time digging in – once you start you will binge on the short but very entertaining videos.
Amanda interviewed Busy Philipps -- click here to watch. I like Busy. She’s a veteran, you know? Freaks and Geeks, Dawson’s Creek, Made of Honor (don’t lie, you’ve all seen Made of Honor) -- her 5 minute conversation focuses on the pressure put on actresses, particularly as it pertains to body image. Talking about magazine covers, Busy says, “Now every actress is expected to also be a model.” That is sadly accurate – models rarely cover North American magazines ever since Anna Wintour ushered in the era of celebrities. But the downside for actresses is that they can’t just be talented or funny or accomplished – they also have to be pretty. Better than pretty, actually: beautiful. And thin. THIN.
Amanda and Busy call out the “incredible shrinking actress” (this syndrome usually kicks in when they get their first TV show) and weight being the last frontier of feminism, particularly how we judge other bodies and our own.
Busy, who was quite pregnant in this video, has some strong opinions on “body after baby” magazine spreads, calling them disgusting, as is the obsession with how much focus is put on pregnant celebrities and what they eat. Amanda points out the lack of honesty around fast weight loss (no one will say they had lap-band surgery or that they are on a steady diet of appetite suppressants).When Busy does the “I just lost it all breastfeeding” imitation, I laughed. It’s like when a super ripped celebrity says they got that way carrying a toddler. Is your child made of bricks?
This is an important, long overdue conversation – but it is missing a key point: there are actresses who capitalize on their pregnant form and their “post-baby body.” It’s easy to call out TV execs and big mean tabloids, but it would be great if a real actress could publicly acknowledge that her counterparts are not just fulfilling but also fueling the demand.
And to that end, last week Busy tweeted out an ultrasound photo to 214,000+ people. Innocuous? From her, probably. Ultrasound photos on social media are pretty standard (the “why” of that is a totally other debate). But here’s Busy’s lamenting the obsession with pregnant celebrities and then she tweeting the inside of her womb. Even if this isn't calculated - like it can be with her colleagues – it sustains (and even encourages) the baby bump narrative. It’s easy to blame the media, but does the media tweet out cravings, write celebrity mommy blogs, stage belly cupping shots and negotiate endorsement deals? How is anyone supposed to know where the line is? The celebrities certainly don’t seem to. So if we are going to continue the conversation, how about this: motherhood and opportunism are not mutually exclusive. Discuss.