If you weren’t completely sure about the extreme suckage of the sizing standards in Hollywood, Ashley Benson has come into your life to shatter what little faith you had left in the industry.
In an interview with Ocean Drive, she got real about body image in Tinseltown. Benson was turned down for a role because she was “too fat” (she’s a size two, so that’s cool).
On the jolly experience of constantly dealing with rich people telling you what your BMI should be in order to get work, Ashley said, “A lot of people in this industry hear they need to lose weight more times than they should. It does make you stronger, though. Because if you let that affect you, you can’t be in this industry—you’d go crazy.” Got it, Hollywood.
I’m mentally high-fiving Ashley for opening up about her own rejection in the industry and the obvious emotional damage that causes. It takes a special kind of person to get that real and say, yeah, this happened to me and it wasn’t a trip to Disneyland. But the idea that female actresses are just supposed to wipe up their tears and deal with that kind of nonsense really sucks.
When moms and motivational speakers say, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” the general idea behind that phrase is to keep doing your thing and not to let the haters get you down. That makes sense for dealing with a retail job you hate, but for something as serious as size discrimination in Hollywood, it seems misguided. It sends the message that, yes I acknowledge this is happening to me and it sucks, but things aren’t changing, so I have to grow some thicker skin and deal. Doesn’t that just give Hollywood a free pass to keep doing what they’re doing? It shouldn’t be about learning to cope with someone’s gross opinion on your body, it should be about the fact that it’s 2016, and it’s time for that ‘sample size only’ mindset ship to sail.
Sure, Hollywood has ‘approved’ of some curvy celebs having major gigs like Melissa McCarthy in Spy and Tammy, Rebel Wilson in the Pitch Perfect flicks, and Mindy Kaling in her own amazing show, but beyond this handful of babes, the industry is seriously lacking in representation for women of all sizes.
If stars keep writing off Hollywood as the bully older sibling that will never change, then Hollywood has no reason to change and let more curvy bodies on the big screen. Of course, the list of celebrities who acknowledge that Hollywood is the pits for curvy women keeps growing. Our girl Carrie Fisher was probably all up in your headlines recently for calling Hollywood out on its preference for slim women, and that was awesome. Jennifer Lawrence is over the whole body size > talent equation too.
It’s cool that these stars, Ashley Benson included, are speaking out at all on the weight issue in Hollywood, but we need stars to push the conversation further, really hold Hollywood accountable, and petition for change. Then maybe we’ll get the on-screen body party we’ve been waiting for.
Until then, we’ll be over here downing that leftover bottle of NYE champagne.