Thursday, December 3, 2020

NYTimes scrutiny of Golden Globe actresses causes a riot.

January 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Body Image

Updated: Jan 19 by mamaV

This story is heating up; just interviewed WATRD on this, so I’d like you ladies to fire away on your opinions on this.

First check out the discussion going on here on NYTimes Now Scrutinizing, A Rounder Golden Globes by Andy Port (FYI Andy is a woman).

The fuss is over Ms. Port’s story that Candice wrote about yesterday stating:

“Ms. Port stated that some of the actresses at Sunday’s Golden Globes have put on a little weight.  She clearly means this as a compliment, indicating that, “Instead of a Barbie-doll circumference, there was suddenly, amazingly, a womanly roundness to their frames” and that they were now more ‘Marilyn than Twiggy.’  Do you agree?”

My response to will be published today; in the meantime here is what I had to say to poor Andy Port:

Ok the commenters here rule. I can just see Andy sitting there going WTF?

Here’s the deal Andy:
Saying these women look “rounder” makes 98% of the female population feel fat. STRIKE 1!

I’d say you were sincere in this article, because as one of us, you would like to see the BMI of the average women go up…problem is you didn’t state that. STRIKE 2!

This is the NYTimes, people don’t come here for what appears to be snarky body image talk (do they?) and plus the whole saga over the manipulation of Ms. Hendricks image is a total load of bs. You know it, I know it, we all know it — so NYTimes should fess up because these stories only tend to blow up into monsters (remember the once upon a time beloved fashion designer Ralph Lauren?)

Your out babe,

Founder, WeAreTheRealDeal Body Image Blog

Candice’s post continued:

Then there’s the remarkably beautiful Christina Hendricks, of Mad Men.  In a separate New York Times piece, Cathy Horyn states that Ms. Hendricks was “not pretty” in “Christian Siriano’s exploding ruffle dress.”  She then goes on to quote an unnamed stylist who stated, “You don’t put a big girl in a big dress. That’s rule number one.” And yet, that’s not even the most infuriating part of the article, if that can be believed.

Alongside the piece is a picture of Ms. Hendricks that seems to have been distorted in order to make their point:

According to the Gothamist, the picture on the left is the one used by the NY Times and the one on the right is the original image. Christina Hendricks is a stunningly beautiful woman – the sort one might call “traffic-stopping” – and yet they feel the need to exaggerate her proportions to make their point.

UPDATE:  Ms. Horyn has added the following statement to her post about Ms. Hendricks “A number of readers raised concerns that the photo of Christina Hendricks at the Golden Globe Awards had been deliberately altered. The photo was slightly distorted inadvertently due to an error during routine processing. The photograph has been replaced.”

So take that as you will.

But wait, what was their point again?  Big girls shouldn’t wear big dresses?  Is that really rule number one?  Is that really a rule at all? I adore fashion and have always loved watching awards shows just to see what the actresses are wearing.  I even love a good, snarky comment or two (or five) about some ill-advised fashion choices.  But the comments in these articles aren’t about fashion choices; they are not-well-thought-out judgments of these women’s bodies – these women who are all beautiful and unique.  Meanwhile, I don’t see many commentaries about the truly larger actresses like Mo’Nique and Gabourey Sidibe, other than some articles I read about how Mo’Nique doesn’t shave her legs (which, interestingly, isn’t being judged harshly in most of the articles I saw that mentioned this).

So where does this leave us?  Some women are complimented for seemingly gaining weight; others are distorted to make a point; and yet others are ignored? Is there a way to enjoy these shows and the fashion (if you’re so inclined) while avoiding all of the personal judgment that seems to be passed at the expense of the actresses?

Your turn, what is your take on this saga?


37 Responses to “NYTimes scrutiny of Golden Globe actresses causes a riot.”
  1. Mish says:

    I thought that Kate an Halle looked gorgeous. Their curves were amazing.

  2. heart says:

    Plenty of snarking about the dresses and style here. I don’t agree with most of it (I think Sandra Bullock’s dress looks great, for example), but at least they seem to have stayed away from body wisecracks.

    And they’ve got a shot of Gabourey Sidibe:

    Graded her style a B.

    And here’s Amy Adams as a way-cute preggo:

    They gave her a B- because they didn’t like her shoes. Tch.

    And I want to give props to Patricia Arquette for looking like Patricia Arquette instead of some bland magazine spread:
    They gave her an F and didn’t even bother to credit the gown, but she looks great and like she chose a gown she liked instead of just snagging whatever was in the Barbie closet that wasn’t already claimed. Good for her!

  3. melponeme_k says:

    The Christina Hendricks photo distortion is extremely disturbing. What it indicates to me is that the writer and the paper she represents felt the need to go out of their way to do harm to Ms Hendricks career.

    But then again I expect little from the NY Times these days. Par for the course.

  4. lissa10279 says:

    I loved seeing these women looking so happy and vibrant. I hate body-snarking, period. 🙁 But that distortion of Christina Hendricks is troubling and, frankly, unnecessary.

  5. MissLori says:

    The NYT should be ashamed of themselves. They are in the printing business so I don’t buy their excuse that the distortion was a mistake or oversight. I understand that readership is down, but to try and improve their numbers on the backs of women, and the young girls who idolize them, is disgusting. It is hard enough for women of any age to stand tall in the face of advertisements that constantly tell them they are not beautiful as they are. We don’t need editorials that further promote unhealthy body images. Curves are not only natural, they’re beautiful and they are healthy, Didn’t this writer read the recent study about the health significance of a pear shaped body? Perhaps it would do the NYT’s staff good to do a little more reading before they do any more writing.

    SMILE On!


  6. Bianca says:

    I think Christina Hendricks looks hot as hell in the both pictures. Messing with the original to try and prove the point that she is so BIG is stupid, but even if she was really that size, she’s rocking those ruffles. Throw 20 pounds on her and she would still be rocking those ruffles. The chick is hot.

    And Andy Port is an idiot. That is all.

  7. Kat says:

    What nonsense is that about no-“big”- girls- in- ruffled-dresses as a rule?
    I personally think everybody should wear whatever he/she likes (and most important feels comfortalbe in).

  8. It’s really sad that we’re still having to have these kinds of conversations. The continued focus on body size is not only a waste of our time, it’s a waste of women’s lives because it keeps us focused on trying to achieve unrealistic ideals instead of what’s really important. Way past time to move on.

    • Anonymous says:


      I could not agree with you more. I don’t like what that writer said about Christina, and I don’t like that the industry is so critical of people’s sizes- Fat or thin- (Ladies, don’t tell me they don’t knock skinny girls too… they do it all the time- Calista, Brittney Murphy, Nicole Ritichie, to name a few in the past.) But THIS IS WHAT THEY DO. It’s been like that for fing ever and I really don’t think it’s going to change. No, I don’t like it, but I just don’t see the point in why everyone on here and MV’s other site harps on this media stuff so much.

      I mean i think it’s idiotic that people on here are looking to Hollywood actresses’s body size and comparing it to their own and then holding them responsible as to why they feel bad about themselves.

      You are responsible for you- No one else. I know free speech and everything and voicing opinions and stuff, but I Seriously think all the attention that’s given on it between this site and on Mama Vision just draws more negative attention and feeds the issue. I am not against trying to implement change, but sometimes, you have to pick and choose your battles, and this is one that I don’t believe will really ever do a 180 so I just don’t understand why the constant focus on it? It’s futile.

    • CandiceBP says:

      Excellent point. I’m currently reading Gail Collins’ book “When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the present” and your comment makes me feel like this focus on body size really does function as a way to suppress women and keep them from achieving greater things. It IS distracting and forces us to aim for what is unrealistic instead of thinking about what is realistic. It’s infuriating.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks Candice,

        I wish more people saw this my way. Instead, I have been attacked on her other site as being a person who thinks no one should ever look at a magazine, watch TV, see a movie with a skinny celebrity and just live in a bubble.

        I am not that ignorant, and my whole take on the issue has been totally blown out of proportion. My point is simply , that I know that there will always be images in the media that will always be there to trigger and upset people afflicted with ED, EDNOS, or whatever body image/ weight issues people struggle with that we can’t 100% avoid.

        But we can control whether or not we use these unhealthy images as an unrealistic ideal to compare ourselves to and measure ourselves against, and not argue about the morality of how society should just change because the average woman isn’t like that.

        Celebrities and movie stars, while they are just human beings, will never be portrayed in our society as “average.” They are held to much higher standards to look a certain way, etc. And regardless of whether or not I agree with that, it is what it is, and sometimes, while everyone is entitled to their opinion, you can’t fight city hall. As a rape survivor, I don’t think repeat offenders should get parole, but they do. Yes, it pisses me off, yes, I’ve written to congress. But I do not expend my energy reading about every grusume detail about crimes against humanity the way that everyone on here flips if they see a thin girl on a cover of a magaine or someone who is average and show stopping gourgeous unjustly labled as fat. I don’t think it’s right to make fun of fat people either… but Monique did win the Golden Globe for Precious, DID SHE NOT?

        Everything I need to know I learned in Kindergarden…people aren’t always going to “do the right” thing because it’s kind and you think they should or we wouldn’t have prisons. People aren’t always going to be nice and sensitive and say or do the right thing because you might be offended by it. Suck it up and hold your chin up and get over it and focus on YOU. Sorry to be preachy, but the arguments and back and forth here sometimes are just so irrelevant to the point of the center of what really matters, and that is taking care of YOU, taking control of your own life, and not letting stupid freaking Hollywood dictate how you should look.

        If people want to promote positive examples of healthy looking average celebrities who live healtthy lifestyles, why not draw more attention to positive figures in the entertainment world who do so much to empower women? Mariska Hargitey… Jane Karowski, Marcia Gay Hayden… Why is it that no one can see the rational in my argument?

        • To clarify, my comment about it being sad that we have to keep having these conversations wasn’t about that we are having them, just that we *have* to have them. There can be a fine line between ignoring something in the hopes it will go away and taking it on to try to make it go away. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’re at the point where we can ignore because so many people appear to be clueless that body snarking is a problem. That said, I don’t think everyone has to take it on. As long as some of us do. Otherwise, it will probably just stay part of the norm.

  9. What I find ironic, and I’m sure my wife can tell you that I say this often, is that there’s all this media attention around women “sadly growing beyond size 2” and the society standard for women is unhealthily waifish, but average men honestly don’t find women that thin to be all that attractive. I find Christina Hendricks to be outrageously gorgeous and I don’t think I could find many guys that would disagree with me.

    As a former student of journalism, I’m saddened that the New York Times has actually published such inane drivel. That’s certainly not “all the news that’s fit to print” but rather a ludicrous caving in to societal demands trumping truth in journalism. Unfortunately, many people will take such a story in the NYT and consider it to be based on good information just because of where it was printed. The N YT really should stand up for the good of society, given that it has such great power. As Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben said, “with great power comes great responsibility.”

    • mamaV says:

      Hi Candice’s Hubby! Great to hear your point of view (we don’t get many brave men around here!)

      I agree with you completely that the skinny passion is a woman’s idea of what is sexy, most guys would say they like a curvier figure. I asked my husband about Christina, and we agree she is a babe, but her boobs are kind of out of control 😉

      Here are the NYT story on CNN I was interviewed for yesterday, I agree totally that they NYT needs to keep their head above the fray. Its like they are going where the money is because it is very odd that they printed such a thing.

      Take care and thanks for commenting!

  10. The interesting thing is that the NY Times, always ready to dish it out, isn’t able to take the heat, and it puts out a weasely statement with no apology.

    NY Times fails to respond to interview request regarding who knew what (and when) regarding the alteration of the Christina Hendricks photo:

  11. anonymous says:

    Dear Candice’s Hubby,

    As a Manhattanite, I am proud to say that I am not nor have ever been a fan of the NYT’s. As a staunch republican, I have never found their news to be very fair or balanced and always slanted to the left to promote their liberal agenda.

    But they do run a style section every week, I believe- at least last I knew from my days back when I used to work in magazine publishing, so I can see why something like this ended up there, even though I find the wording awkward and in bad taste. I honestly had no idea about any photo altering or even the contravesery until I saw this post. And it’s not even the writer’s commentary that bothers me, but more so, why people dwell on it. I thought Christina looked great, and I was like- whatever- this journalist is really jaded. And I let it go.

    But what I didn’t do was pour over pictures and pictures of women decked out in their glam and say to myself, this actress is so SKINNY- this actress looks plumper… this actress makes me feel like an ugly cow, and this one Fo SHO has anorexia like a lot of people on here did. I have better things to do.

    I understand the article was upsetting, but I also understand the fashion industry from an editorial perspective. I don’t like it, I don’t like their vague bogus explanation for the alteration, but I know how it works after several years at Conde Nast. You are going to have millions of fashion editors loving how one person looks in something in a particular body type, and millions of others who hate that same look. That’s just the business, and after years of therapy recovering from Anorexia and thriving, I am able to separate what is business and what is illness, whether I agree with it or not.

    I find it sad and depressing on here that so many of the commentators pay more attention to what I feel are trivial scandals on how they should look, how they should be based in what is an elite category that most of America will never fit into, rather than their own health and happiness and finding that from within. I know Hollywood standards and influences are difficult to contend with and unrealistic and can trigger angry responses, but sometimes, you have to let it go for your own sanity.

    For example- un body image related, I didn’t particulary appreciate the fact that the Golden Globes gave an entire tribute to Martin Scorsase when he has blatently defended someone I call Roman Rapelanski. But at the end of the day….even amongst others who have blasted him, along with Deborah winger and Angelica Houston, all I can do is try to set a better example by sharing my experience that it is possible to heal even when many things in this universe are often unfair.

    • Emily S. says:

      This is a body image blog.

      We are going to talk about how the media effects our body image.

      If you don’t like it, there are a lot of other blogs that talk about everything other than body image.

      • Anonymous says:

        The media is not responsible for how you feel about your body.. You have control over how to nurture it and the abilitiy to not let society dictate your life. It’s really pretty simple.

      • .C. says:

        hahahahahahaha so true, Emily S.


  12. anonymous says:

    I didn’t mean my comment about people analyzing photos about Christina specifically… I meant, I find people on here to be attacking women period no matter how fat or thin they are really no better than the media if they are so judgmental themselves. One can be thin and healthy without being anorexic. Maybe it’s just me, but I get a very bad vibe on here that if you don’t carry a few extra pounds, then that = sick.

    • CandiceBP says:

      My original post (part of which was deleted after MamaV added her update) did state that the actresses named as putting on some weight were thin and gorgeous, and fine that way (at least per me). I know I try hard not to judge body size, regardless of what end of the spectrum it’s on. This site is supposed to be open-minded and welcoming, although – as with any site – there will be strife and difference. I really hope not to see the idea on here that thin means sick or unattractive.

    • .C. says:

      Anonymous, I fall squarely into the average range with a BMI of about 21.8 or so. that’s pretty much EXACTLY average. True, I’ve been a lot less than that, but I have always felt accepted on here. Certainly one half of my brain says constantly that I DO “carry a few extra pounds”, but technically, scientifically, really, I don’t. And I am here. You really seem to dislike WATRD and MamaV – why do you keep reading and commenting? You seem to be doing exactly what you profess to think ill of; looking at material that pushes your buttons and pisses you off.


  13. Carmel says:

    Just another example of women’s bodies being public property. Fat, thin – whatever we are, we are apparently making a ‘statement’ whenever we leave the house. A statement that the whole world feels they have the right to comment on.

    • CandiceBP says:

      I agree. Like I said, I adore looking at the fashion – and I think what we wear is an opportunity to make a statement and I like to think about the statement inherent in clothing choices (esp when one is going to be on TV in front of millions). But moving past the clothes to the body underneath is so unnecessary, distracting, and destructive.

  14. Danielle says:

    The New York Times has joined the ranks of other infotainment publications, such as People and US Magazine. Very sad to see that out of all the many current events in the world for the author to scrutinize, she chooses to focus on the upper limbs of star studded actresses. Sad day in journalism indeed.

  15. anonymous says:

    Well, even though I agree that that is often sadly the case, it is up to us how we let those messages no matter how wrong, affect us. I don’t let stupid crap like this ruin my day and interupt my focus or happiness.

    I understand people on here taking issue with it because it is really screwed up that our society is like this, but at some point, you gotta move on.

    Honestly, at 35, the older I get, the less I give a flying F— what people think of me. I am living my life and doing what I want to do. I don’t think when I leave my house- what will X peep, friend, or colleague think I look like. That came from YEARS on couches and crap loads of de-programning massive negatiive thinking.

    Hence, why I truly struggle on here with women berating other women on how skinny or fat they are- imagined or not, why this is a cathartic topic?

  16. anonymous says:

    C, it seems that some of the things I have said don’t fall in sequence with replies to various comments- perhaps a technical issue?

    What I would like to clarify is that I truly don’t seek out images of people- fat, thin, or average and compare them to myself. I have no idea what my BMI is, nor do I care to. What I care about is why so many people on either of these sites place so much emphasis on what is average, below average, or above average, when the messages of both websites appear to have a goal of acceptance at any size. Berating people for being too big, too fat, too thin, seems to contradict that.

    I don’t dislike anyone on any of these two sites personally. My sincere apologies if I have come off that way.

    I guess what my sense is from both on here and MV is that there seems to be so much back lash at the negative factors of the media’s role in their criticism of women’s bodies. The angry reaction is certainly justified and understandable, but it would be nice to draw some more attention to some of the more positive efforts to improve the problem. I have never been in disagreement that the media is a problem, I just don’t believe it is the soul cause of eating disorders or disordered eating, and my opinion about this comes from many years of working with some of the most renknowned eating disorder experts in the country, which I have been most fortuante to have met and know.

    From what I have read, France and London are desprately trying to make strides in promoting healthy body image and not utilizing ultra thin models. More simply, if this makes sense, even if a cheesy example, is that one can look at a glass of water as half empty or half full. I choose the latter.

    Please understand that when I comment on either site, I come from a perspective of being in recovery from an eating disorder, but also understand the way that the fashion industry works. No, I don’t agree with it, but I get that it’s the way they do business. Is it right? NO. Does it suck? YES. Is it never without it’s problems and sending hypoctical messagess? NO.

    But we don’t live in a perfect society. So rather than beat the flaws of the people who just don’t get it to death, why can’t we focus on the professionals in the industry who are really well intentioned and sincere about trying to change it?

  17. anonymous says:

    I don’t quite understand the real reason her photo ended up distored- they were very ambigious in their explanation except to say that it was a technical error and they claimed to replace it. Whether I buy that explanation or not, the bottom line is that I don’t think it’s helpful to attack any woman on how they look be it too fat or too thin.

    A lot of times, heavier people are that way because of genetics. Not because they are lazy. This doesn’t make them bad people and they don’t deserve to be condemned by society. That being said, people afflicted with eating disorders who may be too thin do not deserve to be attacked either. They are sick.

    Is it just me, or do I get the vibe on here that unless you fall into the mainstream of what is considered average, there is something wrong with you? You can’t preach acceptance at any size and then have it both ways.

    • CandiceBP says:

      The vibe on where – on WATRD? I hope that’s not the vibe portrayed here. I certainly don’t fall into the mainstream of average and I feel okay here (although I suspect we would find a variety of definitions of what is “the mainstream of average” as well).

      I’ve seen a few comments on this post about dissatisfaction in seeing women being criticized/critiqued for their size – have I missed these comments or posts somewhere?

  18. Howdy, I got your web logs in a new directory of blogs. I dont know how your site was selected, might have been a typoo, anyway,Your Work looks fresh. Have a good day.

    • anonymous says:

      I am just done with the conversation. People who are too fat, people who are too thin. Find out who you are, what makes you happy and worship it. Life’s too short to be so focused on such things.


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  5. […] NYTimes scrutiny of Golden Globe actresses causes a riot. « We Are The Real Deal Body Image Blog. So where does this leave us? Some women are complimented for seemingly gaining weight; others are distorted to make a point; and yet others are ignored? Is there a way to enjoy these shows and the fashion (if you’re so inclined) while avoiding all of the personal judgment that seems to be passed at the expense of the actresses? […]

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