By ALEXIS CAREY
Shameless Keira Knightley fan? Loved her since her Bend It Like Beckham days? Me too.
And she just got better.
Knightley pretty much just called out the celebrity media industry for giving her shit about her body for years.
She did a topless photo shoot and refused to be enhanced or Photoshopped in any way (which, sadly, is quite revolutionary). It was her way of saying ‘enough is enough; this is me’ – and showing the world what she actually looks like for a change.
This woman has been body shamed her entire adolescent and adult life, and much of that body-shaming has centred on her flat chest. Knightley’s breasts were famously enlarged for posters advertising her 2004 film King Arthur (and all the Pirates of the Caribbean movies). She’s never really been allowed to just look like herself, beautiful as she is naturally.
Knightley on the cover of Interview magazine
To me, this latest photo shoot is a brave move, given how her body and particularly her breasts have been ridiculed. But what’s equally impressive is the powerful comments on body image and self-esteem she made during a follow-up interview with British newspaper The Times:
“I’ve had my body manipulated so many different times for so many different reasons, whether it’s paparazzi photographers or for film posters.
“That [shoot] was one of the ones where I said: ‘OK, I’m fine doing the topless shot so long as you don’t make them any bigger or retouch.’ Because it does feel important to say it really doesn’t matter what shape you are.
“I think women’s bodies are a battleground and photography is partly to blame. Our society is so photographic now, it becomes more difficult to see all of those different varieties of shape.”
Amen, Keira. Behind you all the way.
Because we know how important it is to see women of all shapes and sizes in the media and popular culture. And we know how important it is for those different shapes and sizes to be accepted and celebrated, rather than shamed for not fitting some ridiculous ideal (looking at you, Victoria’s Secret).
But it’s not that often someone in Knightley’s position takes a stand.
We can’t all look like this.
We often hear about the need to see larger women represented and accepted but the same is also true for smaller women.
We can’t all be tall, toned, blonde, size 0 supermodels with a thigh gap AND culturally acceptable breasts at the same time. And every time a celebrity like my (imaginary) pal Keira stands up for that, it’s really a victory for all of us.