Who doesn’t love the Oscars? If you’re like me, you probably spent some time reading tweets & facebook postings before, during and after last Sunday’s Oscar telecast.
My favorite tweet from the post Oscar frenzy: “And the winner is . . . Angelina Jolie’s right leg.” I laughed so hard I seriously almost peed while re-tweeting.
I know many of us are addicted to the Oscars because it is the highest rated and best represented form of true Hollywood glitz. Whether or not you feel the inclusion of the MANY video montages were insipid or inspired, we can all probably agree even the commercials were far better (you go Ellen DeGeneres!) than this year’s much heralded Superbowl ads.
Like most entertainment-oriented Americans, I watch the Oscars to honor creative excellence, but let’s face it, the Oscars are cool, the Oscars are aspirational, the Oscars are seriously sexy.
Even if watched sitting at home curled up in my Victoria’s Secret soft flannel jammies with my favorite dudes, Ben, Jerry and Andy (my honey), I felt sexier just bearing sacred witness to this annual pageantry of accomplishment and glamour.
But one moment that disturbed me and I mean really disturbed me was watching Angelina Jolie stand on stage and stick out her only non-emaciated limb for the sake of showing off her sex appeal.
My first reaction was anger. To me real, healthy women represent Mother Earth, pixie dust and sensuality concurrently and naturally. There was nothing natural about the Angelina that stood awkwardly posed on Oscar night, and I was sadly shocked to see her so, well, unsexy.
My next reaction was of protection – for my daughter. My just 11 year old adores watching awards shows, namely the Grammy’s and Oscars because she herself is a budding artiste. Kelly Clarkson, Adele & Melissa McCarthy are the kind of artists I want to show off to my daughter. They are real, vulnerable, talented and yes, a tad over weight at times – just like the rest of us.
If I could speak directly to Angelina I’d grab her by her far too bony arms and say:
Angelina, I have long applauded your humanitarian efforts in the world. I have cheered your international adoptions and can-do attitude. I have nodded in approval your strong sense of individuality and I feel that you and I have shared similarities because of these very “real-woman” qualities and because you represented what true beauty is to the world. Honey also thinks you rock because you can fly airplanes and own a quite lovely Cirrus SR-22.
But now, today, your beauty and accomplishments have been vastly diminished in my eyes. I am so sorry to see you this way. You have lost your luster and appeal because, I cannot see you anymore. All I see is a skeletal frame and an image that does not seem to be connected to anything deeper inside. There is no spiritually sexy woman, mother, humanitarian . . . there is just a skinny right leg protruding from a sleek gown that I no longer see as attractive because of the form that is barely filling it.
But if I were to lambast the star, I’d be very much in the wrong. After all, why should world-famous, multi-millionaire Angelina Jolie be held to a higher standard than any other woman who suffers from an eating disorder?
So, I guess I owe you an apology. Angelina, I am sorry. I didn’t see it. I was so busy wanting to protect my daughter from your almost emaciated image that I pretty-much missed the fact that you and she have something in common – an illness.
My daughter is a tween fighting obesity because of her emotionally based eating disorder. This is why I watch segments of awards shows with her. I encourage her to dream big and enjoy her creative pursuits. I download songs by Adele and help her prepare vocally for her school’s talent show where she will play guitar and sing Kelly Clarkson’s “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger” because even at her age she has reason to understand and well-represent the powerful message behind the lyrics.
I didn’t want her to see you, Angelina, because I felt alienated from the bare form you have become, a shrunken version of the powerhouse you were when you radiated inner strength and beauty. What happened? It’s the same question I ask when my daughter self-sabotages her health program and sneaks food or worse, stops eating or binges because she hates being fat.
My daughter is unhealthy in this way Angelina, but I believe you are too and shame on me for not having more compassion. An illness like this can strike any woman – regardless of class, culture or couture connection.
We want to support you, see you and applaud you once again. You need to get healthy for your children and if I walk my walk then I need to be brave enough to show my daughter how some women, yes even stars, suffer from the same issues that she does. Also, please know that being a little zaftig is sexy . . . say it . . . mean it and let women like me help a woman like you.
We women are all powerful when we connect our lives to each other. At one point or another, no matter who we are, what our background or aspirations we all suffer our very private challenges.
But somehow knowing this, knowing that we can indirectly share the trials that makes us stronger, binds us together in ways large and small. For that I am grateful. And for seeing you Angelina, in your present condition I am also grateful… for the reminder. And for the grace that came back to me, as I was writing this blog.