''Let 'em eat cake''

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Posted by HSG on May 05, 2005 at 01:05:46:

Is the Hollywood mindset about size and beauty finally changing for the better? Perhaps--even if it is happening at a glacial pace.

If we all remember to be "our own editors," and sift the positive messages from the mixed or the negative ones, they we quickly discover that the industry is on the cusp of a major breakthrough for plus-size beauty.

Take Jennifer Lopez, for example--who is not authentically full-figured, but who still represents a departure from the androgynous look. She shared some thoughts in a recent article that contained a host of mixed sentiments about women and curves. However, if we take a glass-is-half-full approach, and acknowledge that Ms. Lopez undoubtedly has to contend with a horde of managers and agents who tow the Hollywood party line about the "preferred" size of modern-day media icons, then we must acknowledge that her statements are something of a departure from waif-minded Hollywood thinking.

The article begins this way:

Jennifer Lopez doesn't care a bit when people comment on her curves. In fact, she wore a light gray-blue Grecian-influenced satin gown to the premiere of her new romantic comedy "Monster-in-Law" last Friday night in Westwood that showed off her body to anyone who was looking - and naturally, everyone was, including her husband Marc Anthony (in a complementary gray suit) and her co-stars Jane Fonda and Wanda Sykes.

As Lopez tells it, she likes having the womanly body she's got . . .

Fine words indeed. Now, after some much-needed cutting, we pick up the article at the following paragraph:

"I think that since the beginning, since I've kind of come into the public eye, there's always been something about that, where I'm not your kind of typical size three, very tall and thin type of actress. I think that's always been a good positive message that I've been able to have been associated with which I'm very proud of," Lopez says.

And finally, after some more crucial cutting, we end with Ms. Lopez describing a scene in her new film:

"So [Jane Fonda]'s eating healthy and you see me eating extra cake, and you know I don't need to eat extra cake. I just do in real life - and in the movie. So I think that it's nice to . . . know that you can still be attractive and beautiful or whatever, no matter if you do eat the extra cake. So I think that it's a positive thing."

Now, while we undoubtedly wish that Ms. Lopez had sounded a little less ambivalent in that final statement, and had asserted that she is more beautiful than a "typical size three" actress, and precisely because she eats "extra cake," it is still a dramatic departure from the traditional tinseltown way of thinking about things.

Astonishing as it may seem, we are genuinely on the cusp of a media revolution that will find plus-size beauty celebrated in film and television in a way that it has never been before.

Courtney Hanneman (as "Brenda"), looking spectacular in a current Greyhound TV commercial:

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