Jordin Sparks "before"
Every week, my Grandma brings over her copy of People magazine for my Mom and I to peruse. It’s a guilty pleasure that I actively try to avoid, but every once in a while I’ll flip through the rag just to see what’s happening with my fave celebs (but then I remember that Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Ellen Page are hardly ever featured in such magazines and put the magazine down). But this week happened to be one of the weeks where I succumbed. Hey, it’s Summer, and flipping through a crappy magazine that doesn’t require much thought or effort on my part sounded nice.
It wasn’t even a prominent article. It was a tiny box on the cover of past American Idol winner Jordin Sparks. The article itself was five measly paragraphs. It was entitled “Most Amazing Bodies: ‘How I Lost 30 Lbs!’” And yet, despite the fact that it was clearly meant to be semi-amusing filler, after I read it, I felt utterly depressed.
I’ve never really followed Jordin Sparks. I don’t watch American Idol and tend to listen to music on the Regina Spektor / Florence and the Machine spectrum anyway. But when Jordin Sparks was first in the media, I recall thinking, “It’s so nice to see a woman who isn’t a stick given attention, especially since most of that attention is focusing on her actual talent rather than the way she looks.” And I thought she did look amazing. She’s a beautiful girl, of course, but I thought her body was beautiful, too. It also seemed like she had always been proud of the way she looked. And now here she is, being praised for losing thirty pounds, and being quoted as saying, “Now I feel sexier” and “I was determined” and “I’m in a good place now.”
Jordin Sparks "after"
This shouldn’t be surprising or shocking. This happens all the time. Women – celebrities or not – are always praised for losing weight, whether they “needed” to lose weight or not. But there was something about this particular incident that jarred me.
This incident indicated to me that even if our society is able to get to a place where celebrities of a bigger size are visible, if they’re able to have careers and are supported by the public, we STILL seem to hope that they will eventually lose weight, or that the whole time they’ve been in our consciousness, they’ve been at least trying to lose weight. The concept of a bigger celebrity who is actually, thoroughly happy with her size seems to be a goal still far off.
I’m not criticizing Jordin Sparks for losing weight. That’s her choice, and if it makes her happy, then fine. It just really bums me out that the idea of a celebrity – or anybody, really – who is bigger than what our society deems acceptable can be truly happy with her size seems to be one that our society as a whole has yet to grasp as a possibility, let alone reality.