Jennifer Lawrence's Latest Words on Body Image Are Important

July 10th 2015

It's been two years since "Silver Linings Playbook" star Jennifer Lawrence won an Academy Award and soared to popularity for defying many of Hollywood's standards for women. At the 2013 Oscars, she said in a red carpet interview, "I don't know what I'm trying to say, I'm so hungry."

She's talked about her love of food many times, but the Kentucky native said in an interview this week at Comic-Con that she knows she's privileged to be able to eat the way she'd like and still get work in Hollywood, which seems to favor the ultra thin.

"I was just having a conversation with somebody about the struggles of weight in the industry because they know that it's something I talk non-stop about," she said, adding that the individual questioned whether it was still true that Hollywood only rewards skinny women even though many actresses today do not fit that description. "I said, 'Yeah, because once you get to a certain place [in your career], people will hire you and they want you to be in their movie, so they don't care.' It's more about the struggle for the actors and actresses who haven't made it to a certain place. I'm not really in a place where I can complain or speak to not getting enough roles because I'm very lucky to have a lot of opportunities. But I would be interested to hear someone who is not in two franchises answer that question."

Lawrence has faced food and body shaming in her own career. At Comic-Con, she was stunned after a woman rudely urged her not to have some French fries.

"I did eat a panini and some cheese and crackers and a wrap," Lawrence said at a press conference. "I tried to grab French fries, too, and this stern lady swatted my hand away and said, "no!" I thought, Wow, I haven't been talked to like that since the first ['Hunger Games' film] came out."

Several years ago, Lawrence lamented that she's viewed as a "fat actress" by Tinseltown standards.

“In Hollywood, I’m obese," she said. "I’m considered a fat actress. I’m Val Kilmer in that one picture on the beach … I’m never going to starve myself for a part. I keep waiting for that one role to come along that scares me enough into dieting, and it just can’t happen. I’m invincible … I don’t want little girls to be like, ‘Oh, I want to look like Katniss, so I’m going to skip dinner.’ That’s something that I was really conscious of during training, when you’re trying to get your body to look exactly right. I was trying to get my body to look fit and strong, not thin and underfed.”

Lawrence, of course, is far from the only celebrity to deal with weight critics and unrealistic body expectations. "Girls" creator Lena Dunham has been mocked for her own looks for much of her life and even deleted Twitter from her phone earlier this year when abuse from trolls wore on her sanity.

"If I was directing this much vitriol at people who hadn't like committed a war crime, I don't know how I'd sleep," Dunham said in 2012. "Sometimes I think, 'Boys were mean to me in high school, so I can take whatever.' Of course that doesn't mean you can handle five thousand commenters saying you're fat, but it does prepare you for feeling like a weirdo."

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