Ever since she told Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) to paint her like one of his French girls in 1997’s “Titanic,” Kate Winslet has had an incredibly successful acting career. Academy Awards, Golden Globes, Emmy Awards, and more—honestly, what can’t this woman do? Well, there might be one thing.
She’s gorgeous. She’s successful. She’s got — an average sized body. But I guess that is not enough anymore. As the The New York Times reports, in her recent role in “Mare of Easttown,” director Craig Zobel offered to touch up Kate’s unedited 45-year-old stomach to something “more palatable” for viewers.
It’s enraging, but it’s also curious. What made the director automatically assume an edited or filtered body during a sex scene would be better? It’s not what the characters look like when they’re getting it on, it’s the quality of acting and engagement that will turn a casual watcher into a fan… or have I been watching films wrong this whole time? Make it make sense, Craig.
While director Zobel’s logic doesn’t make much sense to me, I felt validated when Kate continued in her interview. She explained why she refused to have her body edited for the scene. In part, Kate stated: “I guess that’s why people have connected with this character in the way that they have done because there are clearly no filters.”
The character Kate portrays (Mare) is a middle-aged woman. Are Kate and I the only ones who don’t understand why anyone would want to edit out her realistic body? I mean, seriously, let’s think about this for a minute.
When I decide to watch a show, I wonder, will the storyline be good? Will the acting be decent? Will I fall asleep or actually make it to the end? The absolute last thing on my mind is how one of the characters’ bodies looks on film.
It’s not the first time Kate has encountered body-shaming in her career. In fact, this instance was, if anything, was milder than what she has experienced in the past. In an interview with The Guardian, Kate recalls a comment made by Joan Rivers, “If she just lost 5lb, Leo would’ve been able to fit on the raft.”
It’s comments like these that just do not make sense. Was it a joke? Was it an attack? Most importantly, was it necessary? Narratives like these play out in Hollywood all the time. Regardless of the actress’s talent, it always comes down to their body. And honestly, if these women — who have access to chefs and personal trainers, not to mention financial resources to tighten, lift, and tuck everything about their normally aging bodies — still struggle… the rest of us are royally fucked.
Body-shaming is never okay. Not when you’re a celebrity with all the resources in the world, and not when you’re an average Jane just struggling to get through each day. Reading these things makes me absolutely insane.
Because first, Craig, Mr. Director Sir, how dare you suggest editing Kate’s body. You might argue, she’s been hired to do a job, so it is just a part of doing business. Wrong. You didn’t hire her to model, look flawless, or set the unrealistic body bar higher. You hired her to fill a role and tell the character’s story, and you’re damn right, she killed it — wobbly bits and all.
Second, by doing so, you reinforce a harmful narrative between women and their bodies. For example, Rebel Wilson has talked about feeling like she had to change her body to be taken seriously in her career. I’m all for Rebel making changes if she wants to. But to feel like you have to, in order to advance your career — well, I call bullshit.
Listen, I don’t blame Rebel for wanting to have just as successful an acting career as anyone else. I blame the society in which we live. A society that somehow has tied a woman’s body to her worth, regardless of every other wonderful, beautiful thing about her, to the point where her body can hold her back.
Thankfully, there are women like Kate who are the first to shut that shit down. In the same interview where she shared the director’s comments about editing her body, she also noted that there was a promotional poster with her photo that had something missing. “Guys, I know how many lines I have by the side of my eye, please put them all back,” Winslet said.
She requested not once but twice for this to be fixed. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I will admit when reading that I gave a verbal, Hell yes! By doing this Kate sends a message loud and clear: Accept me for what I look like, or find somebody else.
Of course, not everyone has the luxury or privilege to have this attitude. Many of us have not reached a point in our career where we have enough options or back-up plans to risk losing out on work. But it is refreshing when we see women who are in that place use their voices and platforms to increase awareness about real bodies. With the rise of social media and its rapid evolvement, we have women seeking out plastic surgery to achieve a look based on a filter and not reality. Come on now, loves.
As a normal non-celebrity woman, I highly doubt my body has ever looked as good as Kate Winslet’s (at least according to society’s standards). But you know what? That’s okay. There is no shame in her body, my body, or your body — no matter what our shape or size is. Let’s all refuse to feel shame or disappointed if our bodies do not live up to the societal standard of what a woman’s body should look like, whatever that is.
It doesn’t matter how successful or talented you are. Everyone is susceptible to body-shaming. So here’s a thought. Instead of women everywhere aspiring to be the most filtered, airbrushed, flawless version of ourselves, let’s take a page from Kate’s book and live our best life unapologetically. Because we are all worthy, no matter what anyone else thinks about our body — wobbly bits and all.