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The 'Celebrity Weight Loss Story' isn't News

For decades, news programs – especially morning programs and entertainment shows – have profiled celebrity weight loss as news. Usually, it centers around a celebrity’s “battle” with their weight, the amount of weight the person lost, and how they lost the weight.

Lots of celebrities have made *headlines for their weight loss throughout the years: Elizabeth Taylor, Marie Osmond, Anna Nicole Smith, Kristie Alley, Ricki Lake and Oprah Winfrey come to mind. The weight loss reveal from Winfrey was particularly memorable. Who could forget the image of a thinner Oprah wheeling out out a wagon with the amount of weight she lost in fat?

Not all stories are reported equally. Most female celebrities’ weight loss stories are centered around how their size limited their careers, so they had to lose weight to be successful. But the tone for male celebrities’ press for weight loss is much different. The weight loss is usually a “transformation” for an upcoming role in a film: Think Christian Bale, Robert Deniro, Chris Pratt, Jonah Hill. It’s not just for appearances, it’s for work.

It’s supposed to be a light (in substance) story, inspirational for the viewing public. If the celebrity can lose weight, well, so can you. Therein lies the problem.

The “how” in the celebrity weight-loss story can vary. Some are vague and credit it to “diet and exercise” without a detailed plan. Or the celebrity is most likely a brand ambassador for a diet product, and their weight loss is a way to promote the company paying them. Or, if the superstar was training to get in shape a film, a personal trainer, nutritionist and chef was most likely hired by the production company to ensure the actor was in truly fighting form for the movie.

Fat people are inundated with messages about weight loss daily, from the microaggressions to the blatant. But the celebrity weight loss story is particularly offensive because it is delivered as a human interest story, one that is supposed to be relatable to many people. But the story hits different in 2020. It feels antiquated.

The body positivity movement has made diversity paramount, including body sizes. People are warming up to the idea that they don’t have to alter their bodies to fit in. So watching a segment about how a celebrity lost weight feels like a throwback, one we don’t want to revive anytime soon. Perhaps ratings will reflect these views? Time will tell… let’s see how long it takes until we hear about another celeb weight-loss story.

*Strutter isn’t linking to celebrity weight-loss stories in this article.. Google ‘em in you’re really interested. No need to give stories like that further engagement.


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