By Hanna Brooks Olsen
I really want to like Emma Stone. She’s young, she’s got great style, and she’s funny when she hosts SNL. Unfortunately, she’s making it difficult to get behind her, because she seems to have internalized Hollywood body-shaming and snarking. In a recent interview with S magazine, she had some pretty negative things to say, both about her own body, and about working out in general. Why, Emma Stone? Why?
Stone’s comments weren’t particularly out of the ordinary -- but that’s what’s disappointing about them. She basically repeats the most maddening line that actors continue to troll out: that, in spite of being slender and beautiful, they “hate exercise” and “eat tons of junk.” And, predictably, they feel bad about themselves. For eating. Here’s one quote from the interview:
"I do have that thing of, ‘Oh my God, I’m disgusting –- I ate a huge Wagamama lunch, the whole yaki soba, and I feel so fat.’ But I’m still gonna eat that stuff, and you know what? You can get nice, loose clothes that cover it all up… You won’t hear me saying I have no body issues because I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t."
Hooray! She feels OK to eat food, like a human being! But booooo, she also feels “disgusting” after doing so, and thinks it’s a requirement to feel negative about her own body. This is not the makings of a body-positive role model. But then, maybe she doesn’t need to be a role model -- maybe not every single female in Hollywood needs to be leading a good example of what it looks like to love and care for your own body. Maybe some can just live their lives and we all can just take it or leave it. But if that’s the case, it may be wise to not offer advice about working out… which she went on to do:
"Running is bad for your knees and I like to do things I actually enjoy, like going for a swim. I had a trainer during Spiderman and I discovered I have deep-seated rage when I’m holding heavy weights over my head. Whatever dormant anger I have in me, that’s where it comes out. That’s not the kind of working out I want to do. I would much rather sleep at night than want to throw a weight across a room at someone."
Sigh. Well, at least she’s into swimming, right? That’s kind of a positive thing?
"I haven’t worked out for a month and I’m proud of it!"
Oh. Perhaps not. Stone did have one slightly-positive (but also saddening) comment, which makes me think that she’s trying to be a little more positive.
"Yes, you should be healthy and take care of yourself, but growing up I’ve seen people who have horrible issues with food."
Emma Stone is entitled to her opinions, and plenty of people don’t like to work out and that’s totally acceptable. And I’m sure it’s no easy task to keep up a positive body image under Hollywood’s constant scrutiny. But seeing a beloved female actor continue this kind of unhealthy rhetoric --calling themselves fat, even when they’re clearly slender, etc. -- is always a bummer. Maybe she should meet up for lunch with awesome role model Jennifer Lawrence, or honest, pragmatic body-positive champ Demi Lovato?