opinion

"People say they're 'concerned' about Ruby Rose's weight. But that's not true."

Following Ruby Rose’s Pitch Perfect 3 tour, everyone is very concerned. 

Sleep has been lost. Nails have been bitten. Anxious phone calls have been made.

You see, it’s Ruby Rose. Or more specifically, the fat content of Ruby Rose’s body.

“You look ill love,” one tweet read. “Ruby Rose looks a bit underweight…” another commented.

News publications have covered fans’ “health concerns” over Rose’s frame, and two weeks ago LA-based dietitian Lisa De Fazio analysed the actress and model’s weight, warning, “Her family and management team need to encourage her to gain some weight before it’s too late.”

De Fazio told NW she believes the 31-year-old weighs 44 kilograms, which would classify her as extremely underweight.

The Pitch Perfect 3 cast presenting at the ARIA awards. Image via Getty.

How very troubling.

And here's the thing: When Rose stood onstage at the ARIAs in a dark, fitted suit, she did look thin. When she appeared at the Australian premiere of Pitch Perfect 3 in a strapless black dress - again - she looked thin. That is a true fact.

But here's the far more important thing.

Yelling at Rose about her weight on Twitter, or airing concerns in a headline, is bad for women. 

Not just Ruby Rose. All women.

LISTEN: Bec Judd on those 'skinny' comments.

We are perpetuating the idea that women are their bodies. We are telling women everywhere that our bodies are public property; that our bodies belong to everyone but us.

They belong to some LA dietitian, and some writer for The Daily Mail, and some guy named Murray on Twitter.

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And thus, when a woman's body changes, and she becomes 'too' fat, or 'too' thin, she lets us down. She betrays us. Because her body is ours.

We can't yell that of course. That would sound ridiculous. So we express how we feel under the guise of concern. 

We're just worried, we reason. She looks sick, for goodness sake. SOMEONE has to say it!

But if we're honest with ourselves, really honest, we will find we are not truly concerned.

Image via Getty.

Because we don't know Ruby Rose. And if we were really as worried about her health as we believe we are, then we'd care about her mental health too.

Paula Kotowicz, a counsellor who specialises in eating disorders and eating and body image issues, told Mamamia, "calling out people who are [potentially] underweight under the guise of 'concern' is very disturbing."

If, on the one hand, Rose is as healthy as she insists she is, then the public's concern becomes purely superficial, and is the equivalent to us stopping Rose on the street and saying, "Oh, hi, yes, I just wanted to say, I think you should put on some weight - not too much of course, just some - because it was more pleasing to me when you were approximately 10 kilograms heavier, and your weight is, of course, about me. Thanks for your time."

But.

If, on the other hand, Rose is living with an eating disorder (which, to be clear, any of the Pitch Perfect cast, including Rebel Wilson, could equally be suffering from) then our policing of her weight becomes more than absurd. It becomes cruel and harmful.

"If she does have an eating disorder," Kotowicz told Mamamia, "she will already be trying to conceal it, as eating disorders are incredibly secretive, so to 'out' her to anyone in this extremely public way is incredibly cruel.

A post shared by Ruby Rose (@rubyrose) on

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"I'm sure those close to her have already expressed their concern if there is an issue.

"If it is a problem, the individual will need to reach that realisation on their own, if treatment is to be of any use whatsoever."

Thus, the 'fans' who claim to harbour 'health concerns' over Rose's body, are fuelling the very problem (if there even is one at all) they insist they're trying to 'help'.

The Butterfly Foundation told Mamamia, "In general, commenting on a person’s weight, shape or size can be unhelpful and damaging. Although comments may be well-intended and out of concern, making assumptions based on someone’s appearance can result in the person feeling shamed and less likely to reach out for support. We encourage both the public and the media to be considerate of people’s personal lives and approach them with respect and compassion."

Diagnosing someone from your living room with one of the most lethal mental health disorders, which brings with it an enormous amount of shame and self-loathing, is surely not a compassionate thing to do.

Maybe Ruby Rose is suffering from an eating disorder.

And, equally, maybe she isn't.

Either way, yelling at her to put on weight is the least helpful thing any of us can do.

For help and support for eating disorders, contact the Butterfly Foundation‘s National Support line and online service on 1800 ED HOPE (1800 33 4673) or email support@thebutterflyfoundation.org.au. You can also visit their website, here.  

You can listen to the latest episode of Mamamia Out Loud, right here. 

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