Do You Idealize Hollywood Beauty?

March 23, 2012   42 Comments

Forgive the photo of Marilyn Monroe, but I couldn't resist. She is on my mind because of the new show on NBC "Smash" which is about creating a broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe.

Hollywood Beauty and Eating Disorder

There are a bunch of teenagers who read Snack Girl and they send me direct e-mails about their struggles. Today, I am thinking about them.

"Smash" stars Katharine McPhee who has bravely shared her battle with an eating disorder see: People Magazine.

As we know Marilyn Monroe had some disorders of her own (maybe an eating disorder too), but she doesn't look like a twig does she?

She looks healthy and lovely - and I wonder about the Hollywood beauties that we want to emulate. You know the type I am talking about, for example: Cameron Diaz, Angelina Jolie, and Gwyneth Paltrow.

They are SO skinny. Marilyn was said to be between a size 8-12 and she looks so different from the major movie stars of our time.

Which brings me to a story about me and Hollywood. Back in the late 90s, I needed a haircut and my mother graciously gave me a present of a FANCY haircut at a Beverly Hills salon. The guy was famous for cutting Renee Zellweger's hair.

When I walked in the door I saw a group of women that were extraordinarily beautiful. They had perfect teeth, hair, and nails and their bodies seemed to be from size 0-2. Yikes!

My size 12 self had never felt any uglier in my life. I literally felt like hiding under my chair.

A very good looking young bloke came to wash my hair. I felt so upset that I shouted, "I feel so ugly!!".

He stopped washing my hair and said, "YOU are the most beautiful woman in this room. You have soft round curves and you have a great smile on your face. These women take laxatives and diet pills to achieve their ideal weight. They don't eat and they are SO grumpy. I would much rather go out with you than any of them."

And, now, he is my husband. Just kidding!

This guy woke me up! I had been idealizing the Hollywood star without realizing it. What do you think it takes to look so thin?

So whatever your weight loss goal, start accepting yourself NOW. Nobody is comparing you to Sandra Bullock or Jennifer Anniston. Their images are staring at us at every supermarket check out counter - but they don't define beauty.

You get to define beauty.

And, since that guy in the salon was so sweet, I stopped comparing myself to those magazine photos. It is truly a self defeating exercise for all.

Please share your thoughts on Hollywood beauty.

Other posts you might like:


When Emotional Eating Catches You By Surprise

My dear husband left for 10 days yesterday on a well deserved trip. (That isn't actually of photo of him :)...


This Grocery List Could Save Your Life

The grocery list above jumped out in front of a car and saved my life. Okay, I realize that is ridiculous, but grocery lists can be life savers!...

Get Free Email Updates! Yes please!


Great reminder -- and, beauty begins with NUTRITION! We look as good as the nutrients we consume ;-) Bon appetit!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this reminder.

What a great story!

Women are beautiful in all shapes and sizes. All I would hope for them is that they be happy and healthy. We get so caught up with these false ideals.

Recently the Israeli Knesset banned ads with underweight models, and also is requiring ads that use photoshop to alter their models to state so. I think this is a good idea.

Great post! I think woman look beautiful in all shapes. It's horrible what society does to us. Why do we compare ourselves to others? We try to look better and be better not because of men so much but because we want to keep up with other woman. I understand the stresses of weight loss, weight gain, eating disorders and I hate to say it but it's in my head. We need to do the best we can for our health and except ourselves for who we are and not who we want to look like. Not everybody will have a Jennifer Aniston body or a booty like Beyonce, but we have our own qualities and quirks that make us special!! Amen Sister to your post!!

Thanks so much for sharing your story with us. We should be proud of ourselves for who are, and not what others think. We can only accomplish that by being at peace with ourselves and liking what we see in the mirror.

Wonderful message! I hope to instill this in my daughter as she grows. Beauty does not equate to a clothing size or number on a scale. How you treat others and yourself is the real mark of a beautiful person.

thank you again for the reminder. I'm so scared for the girls today who are saying they "are fat" when they are 8,9 and 10 years old...

Super post! Thank goodness for your mother; you found your beauty!

What a great message to convey. I find myself constantly trying to convey to my children that we eat well and exercise to make ourselves strong and healthy, not to make ourselves skinny. That's a tough message to teach in today's society. Thanks for the reminder! PS. The advantage to having some "softness" is having a wonderful place for your children to rest their heads. :-)

This is a wonderful post. As one of those young teens who has struggled with eating disorders it is hard still hard to not get swept up in that Hollywood ideal. However, I realized that I'd rather be happy and healthy at a size 8, than I ever would be at a size 2.

Great inspirational story! Thank you.

Thanks for this post. Something that we all need to keep in mind. It is so much more important to be healthy and strong than to be skinny. Acceptance of ourselves and our bodies is so hard, but worth all of the effort!

I thought, when I weighed 240 lbs and was a size 22/24, that someday if I could just get to a size 14, I would be happy with myself.

Now, I'm a size 10/12 and I still beat myself up a little. I know I'm healthy, I know I look fine, but I still wish that I could be a size 8, 6, 4...etc. But I keep reminding myself that it's not a competition and bodies just look different in their healthy places than others.

And that's why I've started hating diets.

What a wonderful story about the Beverly Hills hair cut. Every young woman should read today's entry. BUT, your last sentence is 7 words too long. Comparing ourselves to Hollywood photos is a self-defeating exercise period!

Wow. I'm 45 now. I weigh more than I ever have in my life. I wish to God that I looked now like I looked when I was 15 or 25 or 35 when I HATED how I looked!

Wow! Powerful post! It's true, even while losing weight, we have to feel good about ourselves now. Remember, it's the journey, not the destination. ;-)


Thank you so much for this post! What young girls don't realize when looking at the magazine covers is that these people have plenty of time and money to work out for hours and have personal chefs/trainers! Plus they have been photoshopped to no end! Im so glad people are taking a stand against all this.

I have learned to embrace my curves and focus on being healthy instead of stick thin. It took a long time and I still struggle with it. I hate that society tells us that we have to be thin to be happy and when an actress gains 5 lbs she's fat... Really??

I wish I could send this post to every woman that strives to be thin because she thinks she NEEDS to be a size 0!

@Robin - you are right! I changed it. Thanks for the help!

I really needed this today - thank you! Have a great weekend!

While I love this article for myself, I think we should always be careful when promoting what I call "skinny" hate. True many thin women may be doing horrible things to their bodies to stay that way but I know if some very beautiful tiny women than often feel less than good about themselves because people are always yelling "real women have curves" and assuming they have an eating disorder because they are a size 2. Truth is they often eat more and exercise less than me! That is simply how their body is designed. Women are beautiful in all sizes and shapes. It is not whether you are thin or heavy that matters. It is that you are healthy and caring for your body. If your normal state is size 0, then you are beautiful and enjoy it! If your natural state is size 12, you are beautiful and enjoy it! If your natural state is size 18, your beautiful and enjoy it. Don't feel obligated to be a certain size no matter who is telling you it is the proper and most beautiful size to be whether that is a O or a 12 or a 18!

It sounds like you got an awesome present from that guy too. Having a positive self image is something I've struggled with along with my weight. I've almost always been overweight, but even when I managed to lose alot of weight, I've never really felt that it was enough. That's one of my biggest obstacles.

BTW- How did the haircut turn out?

Thank you for the wake up call, I'm between a 6-8 and am so harsh with myself and feel ugly but this was nice to know that I'm not and need to stop thinking this way!

It sounds like you got an awesome present from that guy too. Having a positive self image is something I've struggled with along with my weight. I've almost always been overweight, but even when I managed to lose a lot of weight, I've never really felt that it was enough. That's one of my biggest obstacles.

BTW- How did the haircut turn out?

Lovely story. I appreciate you sharing it. I love that you say that we should start liking ourselves now and not when we reach our goals or something like that. Again and again, I see people online saying that if we encourage people to accept their bodies, we are encouraging people to be unhealthy cause they think they are fine the way they are and don't need to change. I disagree with this. I think if we put people down, their low self esteem will not motivate them to make healthy choices. If they love and accept themselves, they will feel confident about whatever choices they decide to make and hopefully do them in a safe way AND feel happy as they do it. We need more people to feel that way!

Thank you for this post! It is a great message for women of all ages!

What a great article. Thank you for helping us all remember our true unique, inner beauty.

Marilyn Monroe may have been a size 12, but she'd be a size 6 in today's sizing. The irony is that even as the "ideal" is skinny, the average woman in America is getting porkier so they do these "vanity" upsizings so that you wear a smaller and smaller number on your pants even if you're larger. You can be an overweight size 6 if you're short... I personally think there is room for skinny, average, curvy and plump in the world... Morbidly obese is not healthy but people come in a range of sizes. I'm never going to look like Marilyn Monroe or a tall skinny woman because I'm not curvy and I'm not skinny and I'm short. I have more of the Wynona Ryder bodytype, just with an extra 10 pounds from being close to 50...

Great post! I can't stand when I hear about a super skinny actress who says "I eat all the time". I don't buy it. Angelina Jolie is a beautiful face, but her body is gross. Way too skinny, and I would never want to emulate her, or have my girls want to be that skinny. Marilyn was beautiful and lovely and curvy. Actresses nowadays do not look healthy. It's a sick business.

I have never commented on anything on your articles before. I remembering being a size 10-12 in high school and they called me tree cuz I was so skinny. I cannot believe what our children think is skinny now. Unfortunately my children have had to grow up with the 0-4 size images all their life and I think both have come out fine. I have now gone from a size 24 to a size 18 and am going strong but will stop when I hit maybe a size 12-14 again for my 40th school reunion in August. I don't care that I may not be 0-4 but I am seeing that I feel good and finally feel healthy for the first time in 30 years! Thanks for all the incentives I get from everyone here. I read them all!

What a wise young man, and what a perfect thing to say. Wake-up call!

Hi! Such a great article. She was considered voluptous! So is Scarlett Johannsen and she's doing great. Being pencil thin isn't that great if you are not healthy! Your emails are inspirational!!!

I am a healthy size 10 and loving it!!

I'm a size 72, I'm beautiful and I enjoy Cheetos!

So the thin women are automatically taking laxatives and moody? I'm thin and am friendly and natural. I feel ugly every time I go on my computer and see countless posts on how no real man would want me and endless insults and bashing. NEVER any positive or encouraging things. I realize this is a site for women wanting to slim down but this and several other articles came up when I searched things to make me feel better and I only feel worse. Realize that there are some women on the other end who are also hurting and wishing they could change and be accepted. Please be sensitive toward them and not automatically assume bad things. Wishing everyone health and happiness!

Women are genetically designed in different sizes and shapes. Its all about self acceptance and not allowing the media dictate what they consider to be the ideal body shape and look. If you look all around you, you see women in all shapes and sizes.

Magazines,billboards, etc. focus on one particular body type only. That is not the real world. We live in the real world.

We have in our village a very beautiful lady frpm Scandinavia called PiaK.She should be a model for your blog. I will ask her what she eats.

I feel so fat. I know Im not i only 124 and im 13 but i just feel fat! most people have that bump kinda thing on lower part of their stomach, i want to get rid of it but i dont really know if i should and i go to a super judgmental school where most of the "popular" girls hate me.. :( what should i try to get rid of it or no?

I love what the guy in the salon said to you! Why don't we understand that our smile, our empathy, our confidence, and the way we treat people contribute so much to others' perceptions of our "beauty?" I could save myself a lot of angst (and I think other women could too) if I was able to focus on those things.

Sizes were different then. I am under 100 lbs (naturally) and wear a size 10 in clothing from Marilyn Monroe's time. I work as a fashion model and often wear vintage pieces. A size 10 is equivalent to today's 0. Funny how shes cited as a "healthy, real" woman, when she wasn't able to carry a child to term because she had so many issues. The majority of fashion models end up having healthy families. In many of her modeling photos, you could count Monroe's ribs and see her hip bones. Her waist was only 23"!. Her weight fluctuated and society is focused on her heavier periods. I'm glad that guy made you feel better and you don't think you are ugly; but how unprofessional the girls that were being put down to another client while paying for a service! Why is that okay? If it was the other way around it would be a issue. Imagine if your weight was being criticized to those girls. Especially since it seems they too had insecurities! Something to consider. You can feel beautiful and still find good and beauty in those who are different.

Gosh, thank you, I guess god blessed you with this experience, I wish it would've happenned to me before I started living with mental health issues and an eating disorder. But anyways, you made me feel better for a minute, almost normal. Love - Artemis

The picture you chose for MM is a bit misleading. When she died, at autopsy she weighed 115. She had gotten as heavy as 150lbs a few years prior. She was rail thin and in early stages of anorexia, oddly enuf when she died. One motivator, at 36, being that thin slowed the aging process and she still needed to make pictures as a superstar.

somewhat wrong about marilyn monroe. The last 2 years of her life she dropped 35 or 40 lbs. She would go days with barely eating anything. I think there were a variety of reasons why buy partly it was her age of 36 at the end and being rail thin which she was increased ner beauty even more. However her health at the end was nlt good. Between practically starving herself and the prescription pill abuse it was a receipe for disaster.

Add a comment:


(required, never published)

© 2023