Rosario Dawson"I remember everyone asking what did you do to get so thin? You looked great," actress Rosario Dawson said bluntly. "I looked emaciated."
Speaking to Shape Magazine, Dawson recalls the reactions she had when she lost weight to play a drug addict dying of HIV/AIDS in the 2005 movie "Rent."
"It's a form of violence in the way that we look at women and the way we expect them to look and be for what sake? Not for health, survival, not for enjoyment of life, but just so you could look pretty," she said.
Even when she's not portraying a critically ill character, Dawson says the standard is unhealthy and not real.
"I'm constantly telling girls all the time everything is airbrushed, everything is retouched to the point it's not even asked. None of us look like that."
While Dawson's criticisms are not revolutionary or even words we have never heard from a celebrity, they still stand out among a slew of magazine cover articles with seemingly innocuous tips from famous ladies on how they got or stay slim or generic commentary on being naturally thin, having fast metabolism, or simply eating a salad a day and drinking lots of water. We know the celebrities who have spoken out about the unrealistic beauty standard and impossible body expectations -- Kate Winslet, Drew Barrymore, Adele, Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, and now Rosario Dawson -- because for each of them, there are hundreds of compliant stars who are smiling and nodding (at least publicly). Blake Lively, for example, said that she was at her healthiest while playing a woman dying of bulimia, a stark contrast to the "Rent" reactions.
Back to Dawson.
Although the interview focuses on the salads she eats during the interview, I love that Dawson told the magazine the food she'd never give up is homemade lasagna, that she hits the snooze button every morning, that she snacks on raw almonds and coconut water, that she has a snappy sense of direction and she's working on the V-Day project to end violence against women and girls, and that she loves her own ears. Those quirky details round out a woman we might otherwise see as one-dimensional or even just as a size up or down from where she was in a red-carpet photo last month.
I think that might just be the key to getting out of this restrictive body-image space. I think seeing women, even if they are on-screen or onstage, as real will help us stop worrying about whether they are gaunt or hip-bony or have a belly or got a boob job. I think it's healthier.
I don't think I am alone in not caring if an actress chooses to work out daily to have the body she wants or if she got it from "good genes." I'd so much rather hear her explain what it takes to give her the energy and inspiration to walk tall and feel fabulous in whatever body she has at the moment.
Dawson does this, admitting she doesn't love working out but says she enjoys the side effects -- better posture, an endorphin surge, and feeling better in her body.
"It's meditative and calming to get your body in motion," she said of becoming an avid lunchtime yogi and practicing Pilates. "But getting back in the saddle can be the hardest thing."
Do Dawson's criticisms of the compliments she received when she looked emaciated stand out to you?
What other celebrities would you like to see get honest about Hollywood's impossible body standards?
Read more on Shine:
- Bethenny says: "I don't do weight-loss products"
- Gwyneth Paltrow and Vanessa Hudgens get "ugly" for new roles
- KMart and Zara enlist real women for ads
- Plus-size model Crystal Renn talks weight loss