entertainment

What's "scary" is not how skinny this woman is, but our obsession with it.

Intro line:
Today the big story from the Golden Globes red carpet is not a daring outfit, or a hot new couple, but one woman’s weight.

You know what they say – there are three things that are certain in this life: Death, taxes, and a woman’s weight being the headline story of any big red carpet event.

Sometimes, a celebrity has dared to eat something. That’s what we call NEW CURVES!

Sometimes, a celebrity is carrying another person, but has decided not to tell anyone yet. Yes, it’s a BABY BODY!

[INSERT GG red carpet here??]

And sometimes, a celebrity will be TOO THIN.

SCARY SKINNY.

SKIN & BONES.

Cue 25 images from 25 angles of jutting collar bones and twig-like arms.

Cue faux-concern from “experts” about the precarious mental health of the star in question.

Cue insinuations that the the star’s weight is not only concerning, it is irresponsible.

Today, that someone is Giuliana Rancic. To be honest, it almost always is.

These pictures are being used as evidence that Giuliana Rancic is “Scary Skinny” at today’s Golden Globes.

Giuliana was on the red carpet at the Golden Globes, doing her job. If you’re not familiar, she is a reporter on E! News, a regular on Fashion Police and always, always does the red carpet report for E! for every big Awards show on the calendar.

And she’s thin. She’s always been thin.

She also is a breast cancer survivor, the star of her own reality show and a woman who has been outspoken about her battle with infertility (she’s mum to Duke, X, who was born via a surrogate. She and husband Bill Rancic say their surrogate recently miscarried their second child).

She’s also funny, and frank, and always looks genuinely excited to be asking Angelina who she’s wearing.

Today, Giuliana stepped onto the Golden Globes red carpet wearing this:

And yes, let’s say it again. She is thin. Very thin.

It’s not like she doesn’t know it. Every time the woman has her picture taken, Tweets like this happen:

@ENews irresponsible and unacceptable to let #guilanarancic on the air when she’s clearly at an unhealthy weight #badrolemodel #ERedCarpet

— Melis Koroglu (@melisyk) January 12, 2015

A lot.

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She has been forced to defend her diet more times that many of us could handle: 

‘I know the truth,’ Guiliana told the Daily Mail in 2014. ‘I know that I eat a lot and I take walks and I have a faster metabolism. All these people were commenting [after a red carpet event]… ‘She’s so skinny, eat a sandwich, eat a burger’, and it was interesting. I don’t respond but so many people get really upset and they’re like, “Oh really? Eat a sandwich? What a great comment.” Or people say, “She’s been through cancer. Really? That’s what you’re going to put out?”‘

And asked to give an account of what she eats in great detail, by pretty much everyone who has ever interviewed her. Like this account, in the Huffington Post, last year:

“(I eat) honestly everything. Like last night I had a pretty reasonable dinner, salmon and vegetables. But then we had two desserts. We had a hot fudge sundae and a sticky toffee pudding, it was amazing. And then the guy gave us cookies to go and we ate the cookies on the way home. So no, I wish I could say I’m so healthy, I never eat junk food… I wish I could say everything in moderation, but there’s no moderation about it, I’ve just got to be honest, it’s just what I feel and some days are definitely healthier than others.”

Yes. There’s a lot of talk about food here. But here’s the thing. 

It is no more appropriate to discuss how very “skinny” Giuliana Rancic is than it is to discuss how “curvy” Lena Dunham is. 

A picture that Giuliana posted herself today, from backstage at the Globes.

Playing guessing games about whether Giuliana has an eating disorder, is desperately ill, or just thinks she looks great like that is not caring or helpful. 

It is perfectly possible that any of those things are true. But what is not possible is to get an accurate read on another person’s health just by looking at them. So we need to stop pretending that that’s what’s going on here. 

Urging Giuliana to “eat a burger” is neither caring nor helpful. If she is suffering from an eating disorder – and we are not suggesting that she is, she has routinely denied it – urging her to “just eat” is the least sensible thing we could do. An eating disorder is a serious mental illness, not a willful whim of a woman who’s worried about standing next to Heidi Klum on a red carpet.

Another of Giuliana’s red carpet Instagram pics.

No. Concern is not the reason we are obsessed with Guiliana’s (or Angelina Jolie’s, or Victoria Beckham’s) weight. We do not lie awake at night pondering whether their figures are a “cry for help”. 

We are obsessed with looking at and talking about these women’s bodies because we see every visible female body as a mirror to our own. 

We are just a culture obsessed with women’s bodies, and passing judgement on them. We are all addicted to comparing our own perceived flaws with those of the rich and famous. 

Exposed flesh, too much of it or not enough, attracts and repells us. We want to see it – rolls of fat, protruding bones, dimply thighs.  We want to see it all. 

It’s a habit that we should discourage in ourselves, like smoking. Because it’s not good for us. It’s not good for our minds or our bodies to be in a constant state of anxiety about our own, and other people’s weight. 

And Giuliana’s “selfie” from the GG red carpet.

It’s  a hard habit to break.  But don’t let us pretend that the body stories that spring from the red carpet are about anything other than that – ourselves and our petty jealousies and insecurities. 

Giuliana Rancic’s people – her mother, her husband, her friends – have every right to be concerned about her weight, and her health. 

We do not. 

What’s scary about Giuliana’s weight is not the number on her scale, but our obsession with it. 

Tags: celebrity , gallery , red-carpet
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