Hunger Games Star Jennifer Lawrence Should Be Praised for Health, Not Condemned

Jennifer Lawrence looking fit as Katniss in The Hunger Games.

By Dana Shultz for

As a huge fan of the 'The Hunger Games' series, I feel a certain attachment not only to the characters in the book, but also the actors who played them on screen. So when criticism arose this week of Jennifer Lawrence being 'too big' to play Katniss in the movie, to say I was shocked is an understatement.

While I haven't seen the movie yet, I have closely followed the news surrounding the movie and watched Lawrence as she's graced countless premiere parties looking absolutely stunning. My assessment of her body is that she looks nothing short of perfect and healthy. In fact, I loved that she went on record saying that she didn't drop a ton of weight for the film, and instead focused on exercise to prepare herself for the role.

So comments suggesting that Lawrence has too much 'baby fat' or is too 'big-boned' to play Katniss are hard to swallow.

In a harsh review of the film, Jeffrey Wells of Hollywood Elsewhere writes "Lawrence seems too big for Hutcherson. She's a fairly tall, big-boned lady who's maybe 5'8'' and he seems to be something like 5'7''," says Wells. "Male romantic figures have to be at least at tall as their female Lawrence and Hutcherson don't seem like a good fit. It almost looks like she has to bend down to give him a hug."

In response to Wells' review, one commenter, who tweets @Liannesspider said, "She is hardly big-boned but thanks to you, several young women who read this review will believe that she is and start comparing themselves to her. Perhaps a few especially insecure girls will find themselves skipping meals this week."

And in a similar response, another commenter writing as Sara B, said, "…your comments regarding Jennifer Lawrence's body are disgusting. She's a beautiful, talented (and quite slim) young woman who did an amazing job in the role of Katniss. The desperation of the outer districts was communicated very well in the film without having the young actors starve themselves to an emaciated state."

I'd have to agree with these thoughts, although I do recognize that taking on a movie role sometimes requires extreme dedication in order to achieve the right character feel and appearance on screen.

One Buzzfeed reader who goes by Pacer shares this perspective saying, "Jennifer Lawrence is stunning and in no way, shape or form should she be considered fat, but I do understand the criticism. I know that Katniss was hunting to feed herself in District 12 so she wasn't exactly starving, and that the tributes were fattened up before they went into the arena. But in the actual 'Hunger Games' all the tributes are starving and lose a lot of weight."

In addition, there's also the fact that among Hollywood circles, it's perfectly acceptable for actors to drop and gain weight at the drop of a hat for their roles. There's almost become an expectation there from both movie goers and producers alike. But does that make it healthy?

Actress Mila Kunis has openly discussed the negative effects of the losing weight for a film. After dropping 20 pounds from her already-thin frame for her role in 'Swan,' she admits, "I was muscles, like a brick house, but skin and bones. And when I gained it back, it went to completely different areas." But it seems it's become the culture. When asked if she'd take another role that required to her to lose weight again, Kunis admitted, "I'm not going to say I'd look forward to it, but if an offer came along, I'd do it."

This may make Jennifer Lawrence a minority among Hollywood actresses, but it makes her a role model in the eyes of many for her healthy approach to her role as Katniss. And for that, we applaud her all the more.


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