Gene Weingarten, post-Oscars:
...on Sunday an enthusiastic memo went out to all Post employees from a top editor in Style, explaining how the Oscars would be covered. I am not a historian, but I am pretty sure these were no less complicated than Eisenhower's plans for D-Day. While I am certain that it was smart journalism, and justified, and well read and all that, I would like to note that more space was devoted to photographs of ladies wearing dresses (this is literally true) than for the last two weeks' coverage of the events in Libya.
Here is my review of the dresses: They were pretty much identical, in that they appeared to have been made of fabric, and successfully concealed most of the ladies' breasts and all of their groins. Some of the dresses were red, some were white, and some were black. Everyone looked pretty except someone named "Jackie Weaver," who is fat.
Okay, first thing's first: he spelt Jacki wrong. But more to my point: what gives with the body snarking? Weaver is 63, for crying out loud. In the context of Hollywood's waify-waif, check-out-my-collarbones norms, she might look fuller, but I thought she looked lovely in her Collette Dinnigan princess frock, clearly thrilled and nervous as heck about her Academy Award nomination after 45 years in showbiz. High-fives! And yet here she is, singled out, ostracised, because she is not participating in the starve-yourself-thin culture embedded in red-carpet land.
Why do people feel entitled to comment on another person's appearance in a negative light, when it is plainly so rude? In her CLEO piece, 'Why are we so obsessed with other people's bodies?', Nicole Elphick quotes clinical psychologist Dr Julie Malone, who says:
"Perhaps the reason people are so quick to body snark is because of their own insecurities and downfalls. Some may feel better about themselves is they highlight a perceived flaw in another person. It is immature, harmful, selfish and thoughtless. Body snaking is a form of bullying... The underlying message of these attacks is that the target is, in some way, ugly, unacceptable and unlovable."
And, sadly, not even those loveable Bonds babies are safe. The world is going to hell in a baby basket.
Just like being told that someone said something nasty about you, when you were once blissfully none-the-wiser, perpetuating the snarking commentary via more commentary is obviously not the solution, but creating public shame around the bitchy-throw-away-comment culture is surely a start? And blokes, dads, husbands... your education in empathy plays a big part (in addition to manners). Love your women, help them love themselves. Apparently not even Gene, or John Meyer (can you believe he wrote "Daughters"?), are above that.
Girl With a Satchel
P.S. Check out the ad that appears on the Washinton Post website showcasing Gene's column...