Can you believe people are debating whether Tyra Banks is fat?
So I'm running around doing a long list of errands today when I see the front cover of the February 5, 2007 issue of People magazine on newsstands now with a picture of former supermodel Tyra Banks with the caption "You Call This Fat?" blasted across it. Say what?! This immediately captured my attention, so I opened up the magazine flipped through the article.
Despite the fact that Tyra Banks was once considered the epitome of "the look" that Hollywood and the entertainment industry has tried to convince women everywhere about what it means to be "perfect," now turnabout is fair play as even Banks herself is being judged by her own impossibly high standard. Impossible, you say? Well, it's true and she doesn't like it one bit.
Banks on the cover of Sports Illustrated's 1997 Swimsuit issue
It all centers around the fact that Banks has gained about 30 pounds on her 5'10" frame from the petite waistline she displayed during the height of her career in the late 1990s. Now that she has been retired from that life for the past two years and moved on to other passions including a highly successful television talk show and a primetime reality show, the 33-year old Banks in 2007 weighs a modest 161 pounds.
At her current height and weight, Banks is still considered "normal weight" according to her BMI reading of 23.1. But it goes back to the fact that she has always been seen as a very thin model throughout most of her career. So the general public perception is that she's fat compared to what she used to weigh when in actuality she's now "normal" perhaps for the first time in her life. Oh the horrors!
Too bad for Banks that reality has not stopped the media from being their typical ruthless selves in poking fun at her expense, describing her in headlines as "America's Next Top Waddle" or "Tyra Porkchop." Can you believe we live in a society that thinks that picture of Tyra Banks on the front cover of People magazine is of a fat person?! Man, we are one mixed up culture!
Tyra Banks decided to fight back against being called "fat"
In an exclusive interview with People magazine this week, ironically the same publication that featured a cover story just a few weeks back on Americans who are now "Half Their Size?" after enormous weight loss, Banks lashed out at her critics in the media who she said exhibited "a strange meanness" when they were overjoyed claiming she was "fat."
"It was really hurtful to me," Tyra told People.
What's interesting is Banks didn't even know about the "fat" cat calls that were happening in the media until a flight attendant on a trip back from Australia told her she didn't think Banks looked as fat as "they" said she did.
"I had no clue what the woman was talking about," Banks admitted.
But now she knows and she has chosen to use her star status symbol to address this extremely hostile topic for the sake of herself and her fans. Banks said so many girls STILL idolize what she looks like today despite the fact that she's not as thin as she once was and these claims that she is "ugly" and "disgusting" for putting on a few pounds is actually hurting the self-image of those young girls.
"What does that make those girls feel like?" Banks continued with People. "I still feel hot, but every day is different."
Some would argue that Banks herself made little girls feel bad about themselves by the image she portrayed during her modeling career since it was impossible to ever attain for most of them. Even still, you can tell this is really bothering her to the point that she's saying something about it.
Banks is now getting to feel what it is like to deal with the day-to-day struggle of keeping her weight and health in line. You have to admit, it's a little funny in an evil, maniacal way hearing this supermodel that every guy in America used to drool over telling stories like this one.
"It's when I put on the jeans that used to fit a year ago and don't fit now and give me the muffin top, that's when I say, 'Damn!' I feel more comfortable when I'm lighter--I sleep better, I snore less, I have more endurance when I work out, my arms look better," Banks explained to People.
Tyra Banks has a "muffin top" when putting on jeans? And she snores, too? Hey, she IS like most of us, isn't she?! She admits this experience has given her "pain" because it hurts her being portrayed as "fat" after so many years of making beauty her moneymaker in her career. But "fat" is not a word she wants synonymous with her name because "usually it's just gross."
"Being fat is cool if you're a sumo wrestler or a circus freak or a hot dog eating champion," Banks contended to People. "I'm not saying fat people can't be sexy, they just have to be clever about it. You know, like printing out a full sized poster of a supermodel and taping it to their neck. Or getting everybody in the world drunk. Or not being fat."
I have no idea what that quote is about, but I THINK she's saying people who are overweight should be striving to lose weight doing what they can to make it happen. To a former supermodel, being described as "fat" and by inference "ugly" must be the absolute worst thing you could possibly say. That's indicative in her quote about "fat" people.
Remember Tyra in the 350-pound "fat" suit? Now THIS was fat!
You may recall the publicity stunt that Banks conducted in late 2005 wearing a "fat" suit that made her look like a 350-pound woman which made her artificially realize the abuse that overweight and obese people endure just because of their size has taken a cruel twist of fate. Now the comments she is receiving are real and about HER! Unbelievable, isn't it?
The fact is Tyra Banks is STILL a hottie even with the extra weight, which she says has fluctuated between 148 and 162 pounds since she left her modeling career (if you want to know what being REALLY "fat" is for a former hottie actress, just ask Catherine Bach who played Daisy Duke from the original Dukes Of Hazzard television show). She permits her weight to be higher now because it gives her more credibility with her audience to be "relatable" as one of them. That's probably a good move on her part, too, because the average woman will connect with her like they do Oprah. Or at least that's what her producers hope will happen.
We've seen this controversial issue of weight gain and image recently with such famous people as Kirstie Alley, Katie Couric, Patricia Arquette, and Britney Spears. And Tyra Banks won't be the last either.
Why is our culture so obsessed with famous people and their weight? Has the entertainment world gotten to be so boring that now we must nitpick at something as irrelevant and mundane as gaining a few pounds? Come on people, get a life!