I have always liked Emma Watson. Or more accurately I have always liked her as Hermione – the spunky and determined character she is throughout the Harry Potter books. Sure I’ve probably projected Hermione’s virtues onto Emma, but as far as child stars go, she has always seemed balanced, humble and wise in a world of fame that is often chaotic.
That’s why it was with a bit of disappointment that I read an article in the Sydney Morning Herald that reported Emma’s struggles to accept her body. This photo accompanied the story in which she is quoted as saying, “I went through a stage of wanting to have that straight-up-and-down model look, but I have curves and hips, and in the end you have to accept yourself as you are.”
Now it was not Emma I was disappointed in when I read the article because her message is sound: People should accept themselves the way they are.
Rather I felt that the article de-emphasised Emma’s words while at the same time starting a negative dialogue in the average reader’s mind. A dialogue that goes like this:
“So, she reckons she’s curvy and has big hips and has to ‘accept’ this is how she looks. I’m bigger/ curvier/ more generously hipped/more muscled than her. Maybe there is something wrong with me that I need to struggle to accept.”
Before you know you have a bunch of women dwelling and pondering over whether their bodies are good enough.
The article has stimulated a conversation about the definition of ‘curvy’ and Emma’s right to even talk about the topic. I’m not questioning Emma’s entitlement to share her experience; her own insight is as valid as the next person’s, but it should lead us to question what is going on in our world.
Why is this beautiful, intelligent and successful girl considering herself inadequate in the first place? Why does the media jump on these comments and reproduce them in mainstream newspapers without any thought of the possible implications for readers?
We have started so many great conversations about the body image issues that females, particularly young females have … but then we take two steps back by publishing articles such as these.
The article is only a very small tip of a massive and much more powerful iceberg of celebrity coverage that leads readers to question the beauty and worth of their bodies. Many of the people who will be interested in Emma’s words will be young people who grew up with Hermione as part of their lives.
I commend her for trying to get an accurate and important message across. I just hope people will hear the positive in what she is trying to say, and not get distracted or misled by the confusing, contradictory media representation of it.
Do you think the media’s selective coverage is the cause of body-image issues?