Jessica Simpson Weight Gain — One Look at Anti-Fat Prejudice

jessica-simpson-fatSinger and actress Jessica Simpson’s weight has been the subject of discussion for some time now, with her size increasing and decreasing dramatically over the years. But Jessica’s recent pregnancy weight gain has even those who weren’t talking about adding their views. From medical professionals to politicians, many are offering their view on her size and the topic of unhealthy weight gain.

Called an “absolute porker” by Dr.  Tara Solomon, Jessica has never publicly responded to her critics. Instead she shrugged off the weight gain, saying she is pregnant and needs to eat, giving into her cravings for foods like buttered Pop Tarts and fried Oreos. Jessica says she will worry about her weight after she gives birth. But onlookers insist she deal with it now, cautioning that her nonchalant attitude towards weight and unhealthy eating choices will affect her and her baby.

But not everyone has an issue with Jessica’s reportedly 50+ pound (22.7 kg) weight gain. Actress Tori Spelling defended Jessica, saying “When women are pregnant, people need to lay off…As far [as] weight, you never know what is going to happen.” Sarah Palin remarked that if she were Jessica she “would have wanted to punch [her critics] in the neck.”

jessica-simpson-thin

A slimmer Jessica

Others, like myself, believe that while some may be genuinely concerned about the health of Jessica and her baby, others’ real concern lies in her looks. People are simply horrified that the once slim, 5’2″ Jessica is now clearly obese — the world is anti-fat. Upon seeing how much weight she’d gained, people could not hold in their disgust and disappointment that she allowed herself to become so, well, fat. Few things could be worse, especially for a woman.

But although the anti-fat prejudice and fat phobia is clear to anyone who is paying attention, voicing such prejudice outright isn’t considered polite. So critics couch what is truly disgust in worry about the health of her unborn child. Health is a legitimate concern — few can disagree that being obese and gorging on sugary foods can be bad for a person, not to mention a growing baby. Unlike critique about not being thin, which would only make commentators seem shallow and mean.

In other words, the conversation on Jessica’s weight is a classic example of anti-fat prejudice in practice. If you still think that anti-fat prejudice does not exist or isn’t “that bad”, you need only do a search and read the comments from the public at large on Jessica’s weight. One woman’s comment sums up the feelings of fat-phobic critics everywhere: “Seriously, this b*tch pisses me off, she is so disgusting.”

…Yes, being fat might just be that bad in an anti-fat world.

Agree or disagree?

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22 thoughts on “Jessica Simpson Weight Gain — One Look at Anti-Fat Prejudice

  1. It always saddens me when I see “fat people” torn apart by the media. I say “fat people” because usually the term “fat” is very subjective. At the same time, it sickens me when “fat” people are praised for embracing their curves/looking healthy, etc, when they are clearly overweight. Am I fat-prejudiced? Maybe. But if I see a fat person eating at McDonalds, I’m definitely going to judge.
    I’ve never been pregnant, and probably won’t be for awhile, but I am always confused when women, that are having a multiple birth, gain a tremendous amount of weight during their pregnancy. This whole “eating for two” thing is used as a crutch, especially if you’re not eating healthy foods while pregnant. I really don’t think it’s natural or healthy to gain more than 30-35 pounds while pregnant (if you are having one child). However, in Jessica Simpson’s case, it could be her body type and height (she’s a short woman), and the fact that she has never really carried weight well. Her situation is comparable to Christina Aguilera’s. It’s not that Christina is fat and looks disgusting, she too does not carry weight well, she looks bloated and unhealthy, and she still hasn’t come to terms with her weight gain which is made clear in her outfit choices.

    Just my 2 cents haha.

  2. All I have to say is… you never know what you’re going to look like when you’re pregnant, and what types of foods you might crave… until you’re actually pregnant and are going through it.

    And that’s all I have to say about that right now… 😉

    #teamjessica

  3. Hey Laura-Ashley 🙂

    ‘It always saddens me when I see “fat people” torn apart by the media. I say “fat people” because usually the term “fat” is very subjective.’

    It is subjective, and in Hollywood standards it is way skewed. Average-sized women are dubbed “fat” in Hollywood, so you can only imagine that Jessica is like WTF-fattest-person-ever to them.

    “At the same time, it sickens me when “fat” people are praised for embracing their curves/looking healthy, etc, when they are clearly overweight. Am I fat-prejudiced? Maybe. But if I see a fat person eating at McDonalds, I’m definitely going to judge.’

    I guess there is always that question of seeing someone continuing to do something that has clearly already negatively affected them.

    But at the same time I feel a little bad for the person because I know others are judging them for doing what everyone does — eating. Fat people can’t eat without people looking at them like, “Do you really need to be eating?” And I doubt many fat people are oh so happy to be fat and haven’t considered losing weight in the past.

    “I am always confused when women, that are having a multiple birth, gain a tremendous amount of weight during their pregnancy.”

    Well, if they are having more than one baby, that’s more weight they will/need to gain in order to support the baby. The recommended weight gain is 25-30 pounds I think, but that’s for one baby.

    “However, in Jessica Simpson’s case, it could be her body type and height (she’s a short woman), and the fact that she has never really carried weight well.”

    True: both she and Christina are short (5’2″ and 5’1.5″, respectively) and weight shows up a lot easier when you’re that little. A lot of the weight went to their faces. 50 pounds would show on anyone though, I think.

    Christina has lost some weight recently: http://a.abcnews.go.com/images/Entertainment/gty_christina_aguilera_ss_w_jp_120405_wmain.jpg

  4. Bunny,

    I just hope I don’t crave deep fried Oreos! I like Oreos, but huh? I didn’t even know such things existed. But I guess you can fry anything.

    Apparently Jessica signed a contract with Weight Watchers to drop the weight after giving birth, so we’ll see how that goes.

    “#teamjessica”

    Lol.

    It’s funny Bunny, I was just thinking about you. And then you showed up a couple of hours later… Cool! 😛

  5. Hey Alee! I’ve been around the blog world in general, just not posting much… very preoccupied right now, but all is well! Maybe your thoughts drew me in!

    So, I know I’ve mentioned on a past thread that I probably have a degree of anti-fat prejudice — and for legitimate reasons in my mind — but pregnancy is a whole different animal. No one knows exactly how their bodies will react with each pregnancy, and you could be tiny with the first one and humongous with the second, third, fourth, etc.

    Also, you have no idea until you’re in the throes of it what your body is going to want. You might try to eat healthy and find yourself detesting salad (and puking it up)… but those Snickers bars go down easily. Or you find that if you don’t eat something every 30 minutes — preferrably starchy — you’ll feel like throwing up. Deep fried Oreos (ick) and multiple Pop Tarts might sound bad, but cravings can be pretty ferocious! I know women who’ve been vegetarians for decades who badly crave meat when they’re pregnant, and once they have it, they feel a milion times better.

    That’s why I can see how easy it would be to put on weight pretty quickly, and it can be jarring to go from, say, 125 pounds on a 5’3″ frame to 150 pounds in just 20 weeks… and you still have 20 more weeks to go!!!

    As long as Jessica’s doctor is fine with her weight gain, I don’t see the problem… or even the problem with the Oreos and Pop Tarts. Every pregnant woman is not going to be a skinny minnie with a cute little bump… even if she was tiny beforehand!

    Tori Spelling is absolutely right. Can’t believe I’m writing a post agreeing with Jessica Simpson, Tori Spelling AND Sarah Palin!!!!

  6. Bunny,

    “So, I know I’ve mentioned on a past thread that I probably have a degree of anti-fat prejudice — and for legitimate reasons in my mind”

    What are those legitimate reasons?

    I remember you mentioned that some fat people complain about their weight but don’t do much to change it or don’t stick to their weight loss programs.

    “but pregnancy is a whole different animal. No one knows exactly how their bodies will react with each pregnancy”

    Some people mentioned that Jessica had been gained weight before she got pregnant, and she’s only using pregnancy as an excuse to gorge on more food and gain more weight.

    Here she is before the pregnancy.

    I think she’s naturally an “eater” and if it weren’t for her career she would have been bigger always.

    “As long as Jessica’s doctor is fine with her weight gain, I don’t see the problem… or even the problem with the Oreos and Pop Tarts.”

    I like Oreos and Pop Tarts, although they’re clearly not the best food choices. Especially when you butter and fry them.

    Did her doctor say s/he was okay with her weight gain? I really don’t know. We know at least a few doctors don’t think it’s healthy, most notably Dr. Solomon, the one who called her an “absolute porker”.

    “Can’t believe I’m writing a post agreeing with Jessica Simpson, Tori Spelling AND Sarah Palin!!!!”

    LOL. It’s crazy isn’t it? 🙂

  7. I also had no idea that deep fried Oreo cookies existed. You learn something new every day. Frankly, it sounds repulsive. A person’s body needs nutrients, more so a pregnant woman, and cravings are a signal for a gap in nutrients. What the hell kind of nutrients do Oreo cookies have? Sugar?!

    In any case, I do have a lot of sympathy for Jessica Simpson. It’s not the first time she gets scrutinized over her weight gain and it’s especially odious this time around because she is pregnant. I think for a lot of female celebrities, pregnancy is the one time where they have a great excuse to let go and eat what they want, similar to regular women but magnified a hundred fold. I think Kate Hudson went through something similar during her pregnancy when she gained like 60 pounds.

    However, my sympathy for JS is tempered with the suspicion that she, or her management team, will leverage all this publicity to further her career and keep her longer in the spotlight via Weight Watchers and other means.

    At the end of the day, celebrities willingly participate, partake and even set the standard that the rest of us cannot attain when it comes to the Beauty & Body game so I am not too sympathetic when they occasionally lose a hand at the game.

  8. @Bunny

    Congrats btw!!! I was also wondering where you’ve been hiding. It’s good to know you’ve making productive use of your time 🙂

  9. Sophia,

    “A person’s body needs nutrients, more so a pregnant woman, and cravings are a signal for a gap in nutrients. What the hell kind of nutrients do Oreo cookies have? Sugar?!”

    They’re a pretty good source of calcium and iron! A woman needs more iron when she’s pregnant. Lol.

    “I think for a lot of female celebrities, pregnancy is the one time where they have a great excuse to let go and eat what they want, similar to regular women but magnified a hundred fold.”

    Yes, that’s what she said, actually. Then she said she wants to get back to her slimmer form:

    –Eating and not having to worry too much about it has been fun. Taking a break from working out has definitely been fun. But I’m ready for it to be over. I’m ready to have my body back!–

    She’s definitely going to try to lose the weight after she gives birth. I read she has a 3 million dollar contract to be a spokeswoman for Weight Watchers. Only celebrities could gain 50+ pounds then have someone pay then millions to lose it.

    Losing weight is one thing, but can she keep off the weight for more than a year? Hmmm. She’s been back and forth with her weight for a while now.

    “At the end of the day, celebrities willingly participate, partake and even set the standard that the rest of us cannot attain when it comes to the Beauty & Body game so I am not too sympathetic when they occasionally lose a hand at the game.”

    LOL.

    Well, I was expecting you to say something else, but this is pretty funny instead. 🙂

  10. Alee,

    What are those legitimate reasons?

    I remember you mentioned that some fat people complain about their weight but don’t do much to change it or don’t stick to their weight loss programs.

    Yeah, those are pretty much the reasons. I don’t judge someone simply by looking at him or her and going, “eww, you’re fat.” I don’t know their story and what got them to that point. But, I’m hearing way too much “I’m just naturally big” talk or a twisting of the word “thick” — if one looks at pictures of people about 30 or more years ago, they weren’t anywhere near as large as people are today. Whether it’s eating habits (fast food), neighborhoods not designed for walking, a dislike of exercise, living in a food desert, etc., this wave of growing obesity is NOT natural. I’d rather someone simply admit there’s a problem instead of trying to act like most fat folks are just “naturally big.”

    Some people mentioned that Jessica had been gained weight before she got pregnant, and she’s only using pregnancy as an excuse to gorge on more food and gain more weight.

    People often say pregnancy is the one time in a woman’s life she can eat whatever she wants without the guilt (although that’s not totally true), and I’m sure Jessica is taking advantage of that… especially since she has probably had to work harder than others to keep her weight down. I’ll still give her a bit of a pass though because pregnancy can bring up all sorts of weird cravings and wants in terms of food!

    Did her doctor say s/he was okay with her weight gain? I really don’t know.
    Right, we don’t know. I was just speaking in general that the only person who should be worried (or not) about Jessica’s weight gain is her doctor. And only Jessica knows what her doc is saying… so unless I hear Jessica’s doctor speaking publicly about her weight (which we won’t hear, ever), I’ll continue to give her a pass on this one!

    Sophia… thanks. 😉

  11. People need to leave Jessica alone! Her weight is between her and her OB/GYN or Midwife. She might be having twins for all people know, maybe she has edema (excessive water retention and swelling) even if it’s one baby– it’s still her business. The doctor tells you that 15-25 is normal pregnancy weight gain. They lecture you for half an hour on needing an extra 300 calories for the baby. But it has to be healthy and nutritious food. Every woman is different– especially if stuff is going on and you are a comfort eater. I worked out and watched what I ate with my pregnancies, so I never gained more than I needed. Bottom line is that if Jessica gets/has gestational diabetes, Pre-eclampsia ( pregnancy high blood pressure), and labor/delivery complications, then that’s for her to deal with. Women bear the brunt of unrealistic expectations when it comes to standards of beauty and pregnancy is stressful enough as it is. I hope that Jessica does not listen to the mean comments people make and just focuses on the birth of her child(ren).

  12. Bunny,

    ‘Whether it’s eating habits (fast food), neighborhoods not designed for walking, a dislike of exercise, living in a food desert, etc., this wave of growing obesity is NOT natural. I’d rather someone simply admit there’s a problem instead of trying to act like most fat folks are just “naturally big.”’

    True, obesity is a lot more prevalent than it used to be. It’s frankly pretty easy to get larger on a typical Western diet though. A person has to actively make better food choices because the default foods are more or less going to make you gain weight, even if slowly.

    Lol @ “naturally big”.

    “People often say pregnancy is the one time in a woman’s life she can eat whatever she wants without the guilt (although that’s not totally true)”

    I don’t think it’s true at all. I’d be entirely guilt-ridden if I were pregnant and downing Twix, cupcakes, Coke, and french fries by the truckload. I’d strive to eat even more healthy than I usually do because another life now depends on my eating habits. Unborn babies can’t choose what to “eat”; their health is in the hands of their mother. And what mothers eat during their pregnancy can predispose their children to ill health later on in life. So it’d be neglectful of me to do that, understanding the risks.

    Jessica’s choice in food is interesting, to say the least, but it’s always been that way. She is a Texan… Like a friend from Austin said, “We fry everything in Texas.”

  13. madamesiamese,

    I think Jessica said she isn’t having twins, but she did say some of the weight was swelling and water retention. Others were saying it might be that because her face looks so round, but then again people do get rounder faces as they gain weight.

    “They lecture you for half an hour on needing an extra 300 calories for the baby.”

    300 calories… that’s it? That’s about 1 buttered Pop Tart. LOL.

    “I hope that Jessica does not listen to the mean comments people make and just focuses on the birth of her child(ren).”

    I don’t think she is listening, at least not in any meaningful way. She had tweeted to her Twitter followers about her Elle magazine cover, “Last chance to see me fat aka pregnant!”

    I think she’s just like, “Whatever, I’ll be slim again after the baby. At least I get to eat what I want now while you all are eating lettuce and rice cakes.” Lol.

  14. I think what is most distressing is that people seem to only care about someone’s weight or being overweight overwhelmingly if she is a woman. I’m speaking mostly in the media but also in general. People who shred others who are in the spot light could care less about their health. Especially since those people can pay their way and wouldn’t put strain on the public health purse if they do develop problems. It is purely superficial, fat doesn’t particularly look good. That’s fine if you feel that way but just be honest about it. Don’t hide behind saying her health and her baby’s health is what is important. She is a grown up and can take care of herself…or at least pay someone to.

  15. wanderlust,

    “I think what is most distressing is that people seem to only care about someone’s weight or being overweight overwhelmingly if she is a woman. I’m speaking mostly in the media but also in general.”

    Bingo.

    Of course a woman’s looks are really the only thing that matter about her. So she must keep them in tip-top shape, always. You don’t have looks, you don’t have worth, apparently.

  16. Christina aguilara and jessica are not short! considering the fact that most women worldwide are their height!MEN WANT MEAT,DOGS LIKE BONES. Most women in the world are below 5’7″! models arent known for beauty! they look like 7 foot tall teenage boys.Look up marilyn monroe,vida guerra,kim kardashain,shakira,Marika fruscio,mulher melao,mayra veronica,coco austin,Sarah lime,Monica santiago,Arab,latina,italian,armen­ian,etc women! all these women are not tall I listed either!! actually, shorter women have more estrogen which explains curves! ppl need to stop with these ugly crackhead 7 foot tall models
    Nobody is putting anyone down! The ideal female form is and always will be curvy! meaning small waist,wide hips,butt breasts! Liek Marilyn Monroe,Kim Kardashian,Shakira,renatta frisson,mulher melancia,etc! Men prefer a Kim Kardashian curvy feminine body over a crackhead victoria beckham anyday! men prefer meat,only dogs liek bones! history and men of the world agree with me! how is a skinny woman’Im sick and tired of fat big girls and skinny girls calling themselves curvy! YOU ARE NOT CURVY! CURVY IS SPECIFIC! Small waist,big butt,wide hips,thighs,breasts is curvy! not a crackhead model or a skinny female flatter than a surfboard or a round ball with no waist! stop calling yourself curvy when ur body is nowhere near curvy! ur no marilyn monroe,Kim Kardashian, sarah lime,coco austin,vida guerra,renatta frisson,andressa soares,mayra veronica,monica santiago! STOP IT! CURVY IS NOT FAT AND ITS NOT SKINNY!

  17. Redd,

    “Christina aguilara and jessica are not short! considering the fact that most women worldwide are their height!”

    Yes… they are. :/

    Jessica Simpson is 5’2″ (if that), Christina Aguilera is 5’1″. The average woman is not their height, actually — the average woman is 5’4″-5’5″. Thus they are clearly under the average. Thus they are short.

    “actually, shorter women have more estrogen which explains curves!”

    No they don’t. You just sound a little ridiculous, lol.

    Shorter women look to be curvier at the same weight as taller women because there is less length for their weight to be distributed. But of course shorter women aren’t necessarily curvy. In fact, many are not. And many tall women are.

    There is a lot of middle ground between Coco Austin and Victoria Beckham. A lot. And most women are in that middle ground.

    The rest of your comment is… interesting. (Using Kim Kardashian as an example is pretty funny because her butt is artificial and so are many other attributes on her, as well as the other women on your list e.g. Coco — their curves were bought.) But that’s your opinion, so sure, if you say so. 😉

  18. This Redd person wrote the same thing on my blog – which was completely irrelevant to the post he/she commented on. He/She was offended by what I had commented on this post. Sadly, I had to trash the comment, as I refuse to entertain internet trolls.

  19. Laura-Ashley,

    “This Redd person wrote the same thing on my blog – which was completely irrelevant to the post he/she commented on. He/She was offended by what I had commented on this post.”

    Oh, I see. I don’t get what was so bad about it (no one was even talking about shortness being bad?). Must be a sensitive spot.

  20. Why is a celebrities weight such an issue? People should be more concerned with their own lives than the size of a celebrity.

    There should be some concern about the average weight of people in general. It is a public issue as obesity helps to drive up the rate of other health issues in our society, which leads to higher health care cost. These problems dis-proportionally affect those at or below the poverty level who rely on government funded care. Obesity shouldn’t be highlighted in a negative way, like people calling celebrities names. That will not solve any problem. The problem will be better addressed through a pro-active manner like emphasizing a healthy and moderate lifestyle of nutrition and exercise.

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