July 5, 2006

"I'm not anorexic."


That's Keira Knightley at the premiere of "Dead Man's Chest." That photo along with that movie title ... a little disconcerting.

ADDED: I actually think the dress, creating a breastless look, is cool. Really daring and different.


Automatic_Wing said...

I don't think it's the dress that's creating the "breastless look".

Simon Kenton said...

Hey, if you were thinking of 'creating the breastless look' for me, please. PLEASE. Don't put yourself to the trouble. Certainly not on my account. If I wanted pedophilia, I'd ASK for pedophilia, but, as a matter of sad fact, I DON'T.

It's Blogger Sweeps Week, right?

Word verification - mamov Sometimes you can't make these things up, but the software can.

Simon said...

How is it daring and different? Britney Spears wore the exact same thing a few years ago. All it achies is to announce to the world that you need to eat more and take less drugs.

I'm not sure which is sadder - that she thinks she looks good, or that she's wrong.

Joe said...


Dave said...

Keira Knightley is, to my mind, like Kate Moss: beautiful face, ugly body.

Interestingly enough, when she was in that movie Bend it Like Beckham she looked like an athlete, not an anorexic, which is to say, I would not have kicked her out of bed.

Anonymous said...

I think she's fine. When I travel overseas there seem to be more thin women than over here- more daily runs to the market for fresh produce, more walking, and unfortunately more smoking. In the States, we disapprove of thin women these days, even though, unless they're truly anorexic or eat unnutritiously, they can be healthier than most other women.

I have women family members who are naturally thin, eat well, and who are athletic or active. I wouldn't comment on their weight any more than I'd comment on someone looking "ample."

I like the dress, too, Ann. (And your shoes from previous posts!)

Unknown said...

Don't forget that the camera adds 15 pounds.

Icepick said...

Don't forget that the camera adds 15 pounds.

That's not true anymore. The new digital cameras don't add an ounce, unless photoshopping is used. Technology doesn't stand still, DTL.

Simon said...

"In the States, we disapprove of thin women these days"

I find it extremely hard to believe that statement. Certainly, when one stands at the WalMart checkout, the magazines one sees just scream societal disapproval of thin people. Every magazine that doesn't offer a banner headline "gain fifteen pounds in a weekend" has a picture of some thin starlet in a bikini labeled "see Scarlett Johansen's terrible new thin look" or somesuch. The stories about "I gained fifty pounds and I'm much happier now" are particularly heartwarming.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyable sarcasm, Simon. You must not be a thin woman receiving constant comments and unsolicited advice.

Todd said...

Guess I just don't think she looks anorexic. Thin, yes- too thin for my taste (if you're reading this, honey), but you could look up any of her movie performances and see that she's never had much endowment in the chestal region. This dress just emphasizes that. Compare the slight swell in her biceps and body in her shoulders (small, but noticeable on a frame that can't be more than 80-90 lbs.)to that picture of Mary-Kate Olsen in the backless dress, for instance.

For an example of clothing that emphasizes the wearer's comparatively larger attributes in a unappealing fashion, see this story about Ice T's swimsuit model wife:


Marghlar said...

In the States, we disapprove of thin women these days, even though, unless they're truly anorexic or eat unnutritiously, they can be healthier than most other women.

That may be, but in this photo, Ms. Knightly does seem to have veered into that "truly anorectic" country, no?

It is depressing to watch so many young women screw up their lives this way. It's not as if you can do this, gain the weight back and be fine. This kind of behvaior has life-long health consequences.

David said...

Oh yeah, I like rib-cage cleavage over breasts!


A winch from the Spanish Main would be voluptuous naturally unless she was in prison on bread and water.

I have friends without breasts. They are called male friends. Come on ladies, put some meat on those bones!

Laura Reynolds said...

Disregard the head and its looks like some dude in the boys locker room in junior high. Not the kind of look I'm into, but hey whatever trips your trigger.

Simon said...

catherine said...
"You must not be a thin woman receiving constant comments and unsolicited advice."

What gave it away?

Look, even if you recieve comments and unsolicited advice - in fact, even if every woman does - that comes nowhere even close to establishing your massively counterintuitive statement that "[i]n the States, we disapprove of thin women these days." Every aspect of popular culture, at every age level - from MTV videos to Good Housekeeping Magazine - screams the contrary conclusion. In the States, these days, we fetishize thin; we revel in it to the point of unhealthiness. It is why a high percentage of women of all ages routinely starve themselves; it is why diet books sell in quantities out of all proportion to their actual societal value. I don't necessarily agree with the feminist conclusion that it is a tool of the patriarchy to supress women in society, not least because the same pressures apply (albeit with less force) to men; but I do share their conclusions that it is unhealthy, and I would tend to finger the businesses that profit from it as the culprits. I'd go so far as to say that society's obsession with thin is the single greatest contributor to persistent and systemic misery in this country. To blithely claim that we are worried by thin is so blatantly at odds with every ounce of the culture that surrounds us that you're going to have to do a lot more than "well, people tell me I'm thin."

Simon said...

One more bit of snark - when was the last time a female movie star was told she'd have to gain weight for a movie?

Sorry, Catharine, but it must be pretty comfortable in that there Egyptian river you're swimming in.

jeff said...

She was on GMA or some similar program this morning and the comment was made that she was very aware of anorexia, since it had happened within her family, but she was not personally anorexic.

Just very naturally thin I guess - hey, if some people seem to get grossly obese without a lot of effort, it seems that there ought to be some people at the other end of that bell curve as well. Goodness knows I'm having to fight to get my weight back down to normal - and that's with between 2 and 4 miles walking each day and a fairly low calorie diet.

Marghlar said...

When was the last time a female movie star was told she'd have to gain weight for a movie?

Actually, it does happen from time to time. The creepier thing, is why in such cases they demand that skinny actresses lose weight, as opposed to, I don't know, casting a normally-sized actress???

Laura Reynolds said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Marghlar said...

Yeah, Jeff, and maybe she's right (I don't know her caloric intake or exercise level, to be sure).

But keep in mind that perhaps the single most constant factor in an anorectic is the constant lying in order to conceal the disorder, from both the world and themselves. Anorectics go to incredible lengths to avoid having to stop their behavior or admit they have a problem.

Laura Reynolds said...

Well Simon I do think Rene Zelwigger (sp?) had to gain weight for Bridget Jones Diary but I otherwise agree with you. Its also true that people will find any excuse to criticize someone else, especially under the guise of concern.

10:56 AM, July 05, 2006

Marghlar said...

Sorry, Simon -- at 10:55, I of course meant to say, "The creepier thing, is why in such cases they demand that skinny actresses gain weight"

TWM said...

Well, she is a walking advertisement for a "dead man's chest" that is for sure.

She isn't thin -- she is a bone.

Todd said...

Renee Zellweger did gain weight for Bridget Jones. I seem to remember her making a big deal after filming ended about how she was immediately going to lose the weight.

Charlize Theron put on weight to play Aileen Wuornos, the serial killer prostitute, in Monster.

Word verification: hikeuwm
Well, sounds nice, after seeing the photos, maybe on my first vacation up there.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Simon, we market "thin", but also trade in bashing it. Perhaps a deserved backlash. But doctors (and our eyes) tell us that Americans are fat. Weight and health consciousness not only affects women but men these days, and all is not about not about vanity and insecurity.

We fetishize judging people's appearances and behavior that doesn't directly affect the rest of us, and I'm not talking about people who believe in market "victimization", as in women have to diet because of magazine covers and waifish starlets. Where I am comfortable agreeing with smoking bans in restaurants, I would never publicly suggest that certain individuals in a restaurant are eating too much or too little, because it's none of my business. Women are constantly criticized for how they look, and this is just more of the same.

Further, many girls and women who are naturally thin are being unfairly labeled anorexic. Who are we to suggest that people are sick in the head with a psychiatric disorder without knowing circumstances firsthand? Why do we feel free to do this and point out people/ women we think are ugly?

Some here disapprove of Keira's look and meager breast measurements. At least she hasn't succumbed to surgically enhancing her breasts for those men who don't like fat women but who also want big boobs.

Jennifer said...

Catherine - Keira Knightley is in the business of trading on her appearance. If she weren't gorgeous, she wouldn't likely be a millionaire actress. I think its completely fair to judge her appearance.

That said, I don't think she's anorexic. But, she'd look a little less sick if she canned the pasty makeup and the ribcage exposing drapery.

Anonymous said...

I think its completely fair to judge her appearance.

Jennifer, we have people here judging an industry that adjudges thin is in and others judging that industry and thin as wrong. Let's all go ahead and judge her fine or ugly or even ascribe a psychiatric disorder to her. But why do you think so many women in Hollywood and now next door diet, buy bigger breasts, and undergo cosmetic surgery? Because what they look like is our right to judge and too many women and increasingly men are sensitive to it. I'd rather they decide on their own look and not care. Perhaps Keira is pleasing herself with her measurements and it works for the kind of work whe wishes to do. Or, maybe if enough of you complain about how ugly she looks, then perhaps she'll gain weight for her audience. Cuz it's all about responding to others' perceptions, yes?

Meanwhile, shall we titter on about actors and other celebrities who are plump or grossly obese?

Jennifer said...

No, Catherine. We should pay them millions of dollars and place them up on untouchable pedestals so they might never bother themselves with the pedantic opinions of the unwashed.

Anonymous said...


Was I being really ugly to you? If I was, my apologies.

I must be the only one here who thinks that if we complain about an unhealthy American obsession with appearances, then the complaint about women who are thin is just as judgmental and exerts similar pressure as the one about women not being thin enough.

Take feminism, for example. For too many, opening up opportunities for women wasn't enough. We/they often denigrated stay-at-home mothers who chose that life, instead of "real work" and career. Both career and home are choices to be valued, but in the past the correction ended up being as one-sided and damaging as the original problem. Not so much these days, thankfully.

Telecomedian said...

Anybody who's hung around Hollywood/Sherman Oaks/Universal City/Pasadena knows that your average actress and wanna-be model is pretty petite anyway. These women are generally not very tall nor loarge of stature, especially by hearty Midwestern standards.

I get disappointed when I see young actresses (see Reid, Tara and Lohan, Lindsay) lose so much weight as to transform from budding young vixen to unidentifiable waif - and then resort to plastic surgery once they discovered that breasts come in handy.

Telecomedian said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sean E said...

"In the States, these days, we fetishize thin; we revel in it to the point of unhealthiness."

I don't think we fetishize thin so much as we stigmatize fat. Certainly there is no hesitation to cricize those preceived as being too thin. It seems every time I go to the supermarket, the tabloids at the checkout have Lindsay Lohan or Callista Flockhart or someone similar on the cover with a bold "Anorexia?" headline.

If anything, I think people feel they have a license to criticize skinny people whereas criticizing fat people seems cruel. I'm farily confident that if the picture and comments were of a chubby but not obese actress, she would be getting a much more spirited defense than what Keira is getting.

Keira Knightley in that picture looks about the same as she always has - slender and flat-chested but not unhealthy. Not the most flattering dress though.

Jennifer said...

Catherine - I didn't think you were being ugly. I apologize if my comment came off that way.

I just think your concerns are misguided. When we are talking about celebrities, we are talking about people whose life ambition is to be famous. People who want everybody's eyes on them. People who peddle themselves to things like the Maxim List of 100 Sexiest Women (or whatever list she was near the top of this year).

These are hardly people who would be perfectly happy with themselves if only Tom and Jane didn't snark about their weight.

As a side note, I think the "Anorexia!" claims are ridiculous for all these celebs. They starve themselves because they are dying to be the next "it" girl not because they suffer from a psych disorder.

J. Cricket said...

Ah yes, a blog called Althouse:

Where a distinguished law professor presides over a discussion with other adults about whether a young movie star's breasts are too small or not.

You must be so proud!

VW: grwup

Anonymous said...


Ann's blog is terrific, and anorexia is a real health/mental problem. One or two of us managed to offer another POV on the post, instead of weird malice. Maybe we should we file our incisors to sharp little points like you have?


Everybody's free to offer opinions/snark on what people look like, keeping in mind that opinions are most often offered about women. Don't you think the media and others should be more careful about starting rumors of "disorders", infidelity, etc, or do you really believe that because people are celebs or wannabees they're fair game?

I guess the way it all plays out is that insecure women (and men) feel whipsawed between opposing critical views of them- too fat, too thin, too busty, too flat, etc., and the smart or lucky ones ignore the critiques on their weight or bust measurements, unless a loved one intervenes wrt a real problem. If it's a matter of professional pressure or requirements, individuals and even celebrities are free to conform, reform or leave the situation. Should Keira listen to her producer and director or to us, or should she look the way she wants to look for other reasons not known to us?

Others here criticized how the appearance industry imposes a harsh aesthetic on women, and it just seems a little ironic that this criticism tends to be just a different aesthetic call and similarly as harsh on women, as well.

Palladian said...

While waiting for my prescription at the pharmacy (which is right beside an NYU dormitory) I watched two young female students, dressed in a sort of down-market version of this actress' "cokehound lame" dress, each average height and each weighing no more than 110 pounds, giggling in front of the laxative selection and finally walking to the register with two boxes each. Apart from the rather unpleasant image of these two potentially lovely young women sitting on toilets, giggling as they excrete the little nutrition they actually put in their bodies, I was reminded of director Todd Haynes' early film about Karen Carpenter which, thanks to the magic of YouTube, you can watch. The quality's terrible (the film was never officially released because of threats of civil action from Richard Carpenter and I think Mattel) but it's a pretty interesting little experiment, in the form of a pseudo-documentary. Watch it before it gets taken down or YouTube finally burns through all their VC and ceases operations.

Troy said...

Catherine: "...keeping in mind that opinions are most often offered about women."

We can start a thread on John Goodman's breasts if you wish.

And yes -- celebs are more fair game. A significant amount of time they and their publicists are promoting or touting their good or new looks thereby opening the door for critique. Heat and kitchen...

Simon said...

"But doctors (and our eyes) tell us that Americans are fat"

You're talking about two completely unconnected issues. When doctors tell us that Americans are overweight, they're not stigmatizing thin people - they're complaining about the morbidly obese. Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that people don't get criticized for being fat, I'm suggesting that there is immense societal pressure to be not only thin, but unhealthy. Hence's Jennifer's absurd comment that "[i]f [Knightley] weren't gorgeous, she wouldn't likely be a millionaire actress," implicitly arguing that Knightly is gorgeous. Personally, I think she looks absolutely repulsive; that is not a natural look. It doesn't look healthy, and it certainly doesn't look attractive. She doesn't look sexy, she looks hungry.

Simon said...

"As a side note, I think the 'Anorexia!' claims are ridiculous for all these celebs. They starve themselves because they are dying to be the next "it" girl not because they suffer from a psych disorder."

Are you suggesting that voluntary starvation in pursuit of Mammon and public adulation is not evidence of deep pyschological disorder, or just that it is not in itself a disorder? I would think an excessive and all-consuming desire for attention and validation does rise to the point of requiring therapy; the real question is why on Earth we encourage and reward it as a society by placing (or tolerating the placement of) people with no discernable claim to substantive fame (in the proper sense of the word: "Great renown or noteworthiness") into the public eye. Any person who ever bought an "OK Magazine" is part of the problem.

CB said...

So now in addition to being made to feel bad for having a career and not having a career, women are made to feel bad for being thin and not being thin. I'm glad I'm a man.

Anonymous said...


You finally have me there. I don't personally know Keira and had no idea that she voluntarily starves, much less that she does this for Mammon and adulation and has a deep psychological disorder. I know people who know her, but you obviously are a close friend who has monitored what and how much she eats and knows that she isn't easily thin.

But aren't you a little overwrought about her weight, celebrity, and ridiculous mags?

Marghlar said...

Spot on, Simon. It seems that people have trouble with the concept of a happy medium -- we are either too fat, and so the solution must be that we must lose as much weight as we can, or else we are too skinny, so we must all gain weight until we become rhinoceri.

Obviously, there is a broad country in between the extremes where both health, and physical beauty, lie.

When I look at Ms. Knightly, I get sad. It's such a waste, this behavior. She's not at the end of this road yet, and maybe she'll pull back voluntarily. But it's a short slide that gets steeper as you go, and the end result is just atrocious.

Simon said...

I really don't care one whit about some minor actress or what she does, but I am concerned about a societal trend which places on a pedestal as a desirable goal the starvation of women. As per Palladian's comment, this is a problem which reaches down from supposed role models to people who we should be concerned about. To the extent that she has been willing to participate in this process, she is either a victim of it or an active contributor to it. You can take your pick as to which you think reflects worse on her.

Anonymous said...


Again, I wonder, just how do you know that this particular person isn't naturally thin? Are you suggesting that no one is naturally thin or that thin people should gain weight on purpose so as to not project an "unhealthy" image to girls and other women? Are we to assume every thin starlet and every aspirational celeb is psychologically disordered and in need of therapy as you suggest? And what about the fat ones- are they OK or should we establish a range of weight within which public figures should fit? Is it fine for Condi to be thin, since she's only on TV news and not sitcoms?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Ann Althouse said...

1. Palladian: Thanks! I've been wanting to watch that for years.

2. I think Keira Knightly is beautiful, but the dress is shocking because it flaunts flatchestedness. People don't know how to deal with that. I think it's cool. You're having a bit of a struggle with dissonance at looking at a beautiful woman who seems to have the body of a boy.

3. I don't think she's anorexic, because I'm not seeing that horrid bumpy, bony chest that many actresses have. That means she has a layer of flesh and is not just skin and bones.

4. Plenty of us women would love to be that thin.

5. Men do get put down for being too thin. They are sometimes bullied or subjected to homophobic remarks. They are made to feel like weaklings if they're too thin.

6. And men get put down all the time for being too fat. Don't kid yourself, fatties. Women notice. It's not a good look, guys. And fat is feminizing. Women look bad fat, but men look womanly when they are fat. It's not good! If you're a man and can't see your penis when you're naked without looking in a mirror... how can that not feel awful?

Laura Reynolds said...

#6 That would be Dickie Do disease and no its not a good look.

Joan said...

GoFugYourself has more pictures. I agree with GFY girls, that Kiera is too thin. Whether or not she has anorexia, I'm not willing to judge. Her face doesn't have that sunken cheek dead-eyed look that I recall from the anorectic woman I worked with years ago.

Thinking back over Kiera's movies -- Bend it Like Beckham, Pride and Prejudice, and POTC -- she's always been a willowy thing. I think the dress just highlights it, IMO in an unattractive way.

Catherine: BTDT re criticized for being too thin. My 7-year-old daughter takes after me and is thinner than a rail (3rd percentile weight, 90th percentile height). Somehow or other, it's in the genes. When my daughter's feelings are hurt by someone's careless "skinny" comments, I assure she's perfect just the way she is.

I honestly don't know what motivates people to make personal comments of any sort about private individuals. Discussing celebrities is fine -- that's what being a celebrity is all about, but if anyone has anything to say about me or my kids, I wish they'd do it out of earshot.

Simon said...

"Are you suggesting that no one is naturally thin

I'll certainly suggest that nobody is naturally that thin. A person eating a healthy, balanced diet and getting a reasonable amount of exercise will not look - as Knightly does in that photograph - like a body double for He-Man's nemesis.

"Are we to assume every thin starlet and every aspirational celeb is psychologically disordered and in need of therapy as you suggest?"

As anyone who has it will tell you, anyone who seeks celebrity is naive or psychologically unbalanced. Since it is hard to imagine that in a world so saturated with media that anyone is that naive, we are left with one possibility.

"Is it fine for Condi to be thin, since she's only on TV news and not sitcoms?"

One can hardly compare the Secretary of State to a minor actress, not least because Condi is (a) far more attractive, in every sense, than is Knightly, (b) not actually rail thin, and (c) is actually of some importance and thus deserving of fame.

Simon said...

"Women look bad fat..."

What are you defining as "fat" for the purposes of that comment? Are we talking about fat in a real sense, or are we talking about fat in that bizarre parallel world where Knightly is "normal"? Was Kate Winslet circa Titanic fat? Certainly in bizarro Knightly world, she would have to be, in order to maintain the fiction that the undeniably thinner Fiona Apples and Keira Knightleys are normal. As we learn from How to lie with statistics, if you're willing to change your point of reference enough, you can reach almost any result.

XWL said...

Joan beat me to posting a link to the Go Fug Yourself site. The picture they use where you can count her ribs, and her scapula juts out, is frightening.

I don't think just, plain old naturally skinny leads to that, but I could be wrong.

The LATimes had an article on fat girls (Sausage Casing Girls is the term they contrive) who let it all hang out which serves in stark contrast to those usual photos of starlets.

Of course, what that article fails to point out is that it's more a cultural thing then anything. Most of the women they pictured and interviewed were latina. Being chubby to obese to even being morbidly obese will not prevent many women from that culture from viewing themselves, or being viewed as by men, as still very attractive sex objects. Similarly anorexic black women are almost as rare as unicorns. Cultural expectations matter when it comes to the various body image disorders.

An acceptance of, and even celebration, of women who are not just chubby but down right obese is not any healthier than cultural expectations for being dangerously thin, but it's bound to be a lot easier to maintain and achieve a 'full' figure than barely any figure at all for the vast majority of women.

As far as Fiona Apple, she's put on weight and looks skinny/normal rather than skinny/dying in her recent appearances. Just head over to the copyright infringing paradise of YouTube and compare her Criminal video from nearly a decade ago to any of her Extraordinary Machine (her appearance on Jimmy Kimmel is a good contrast) related appearances.

(and she seems a lot happier, also, which I think might just be related)

(and back then she was a touch skanky and scary (but talented), now she's a touch quirky, and much, much hotter (and still talented))

(and part of it might just be the difference between being 19 years old and being 28 years old)

(at 19 I was scary skinny (for a guy), too at about 125lbs and 5'10", and by 28 I was a more normal (and I think better looking) 160lbs)

Craig Ranapia said...

Simon Kenton wrote:
If I wanted pedophilia, I'd ASK for pedophilia, but, as a matter of sad fact, I DON'T.

I reply:
As a matter of sad fact, isn't it a shame that there's still so many men who think a woman isn't a "real" woman unless she's got tits the size of zepplins?

I also think there's some people who really should avoid giving medical and psychological advice on the basis of photographs. At the very least, stick to old school witch doctoring like jitterbugging around in chicken blood. The woman's wearing a seriously unflattering dress, for frack's sake, not puking her lunch all over the press line.

MD said...

Uh, that gofugyourself sideshot is a bit wierd. You can see Kiera's ribs outlined in excruciating detail, and her shoulder blades are quite pronounced, which may be quite normal for her, but still seems very strange for me, which I admit, is a judgement! I grew up with more of an Indian idea of beauty than a western ideal (well, was exposed to it because of silly Bollywood movies), so sometimes I still have a hard time adjusting to the western 'thin is chic' angle. Er, maybe angle isn't the best word.

Anyhoo, flappers in the 20s used to bind their chests to look flat and look at Jean Harlowe! That slinky caved in chest look is totally, like, retro and not anything particularly new.

Catherine, who doesn't seem to quite get Simon's point, does have a different and valid point about expectation and beauty - who ever wanted a butt implant before J-Lo?

MD said...

Oh, and in the past 10-15 years Bollywood actresses have gotten thinner and 'whiter' looking. Very few Sridevi types.....

Anonymous said...

"Catherine, who doesn't seem to quite get Simon's point, does have a different and valid point about expectation and beauty - who ever wanted a butt implant before J-Lo?"


Simon's point is exhaustively made in the media, school hallways, etc. I certainly do get it and worry for people who are actually anorexic, but think we've gone overboard in our critique of thin chic and our celebration of fat beauty. We're a couch, auto and office bound society, by and large, and we've gotten fatter. It's not healthy, I believe, nor attractive, but to each his or her own. As you point out, waif thin is a look that's not even new. Few people here are allowing for how thin can be a natural and healthy state for certain people, or for how pernicious it is to assume thin people are freaks, or for how we seem to talk far less about fat people being head cases.

Some people have the good genes or bad, others environmental situations conducive or not, many have self-sabotaging habits and some are more disciplined, others have strong personal preferences and the will to be a certain way, and still others have psychological problems manifested in their appearance. It's difficult to know why someone weighs what he or she does unless you are there in their living rooms and kitchens, and even then...

Also, while I'm certainly aware of the influence of media, I refuse to buy into the notion that females are victimized by industry forcing them to be thin on account of the advertising, fashion, Hollywood, and diet business, or fat from the fast food, Detroit auto, Hollywood- Queen Latifahs, TV viewing, Lazyboy and beer interests of America. Prevailing influences and trends can seem pernicious to different people at different times, so we should monitor ourselves and kids, teach them how to be healthy, and show them how not to care inordinately what certain others may think or tempt us into doing for their ends. To me, though, it really comes off as a mixed message to lecture kids about obsession over body image to please others while hammering celebs about their bodies so harshly. But whatever.

Simon said...

With some trepidation, I followed Joan's link, which is of course horrific, but on the frontpage of that "blog", they talk about Kelly Clarkson - as an addenda to my previous question, is Clarkson regarded as "fat"? I would have said she looks pretty normal (heck, I'll go so far as to say she looks pretty good, although that's a terrible outfit) - but obviously, a world where Clarkson is normal or average is a world where Knightly is painfully, horribly thin.

XWL - I really didn't think Extraordinary Machine was much good. As for the Criminal video - they say that McPhee is better enjoyed with the sound down, and I think Fiona is best enjoyed when you don't have to look at her. ;)

Simon said...

Catharine "think[s] [that] we've gone overboard in our critique of thin chic and our celebration of fat beauty," which aptly demonstrates the truth of Marghlar's point, above, that "people have trouble with the concept of a happy medium -- we are either too fat, and so the solution must be that we must lose as much weight as we can, or else we are too skinny, so we must all gain weight until we become rhinoceri."

Nick said...

Both Ms. Althouse and Ms. Knightly are very good at what they choose to do. Relax and enjoy both!

homericsimile said...

She looks sick.

And GoFugYourself is brilliant. :)

Anonymous said...


You have a charming way of selectively extracting and spitting at points while ignoring the bigger (fatter?) arguments. Pretty thin stuff, imo, although far be it for me to accuse your debate of being clinically anorexic without knowing you :)

Don't you think you're rather hostilely hounding some women for how they look? It's like the game is on and it's called "Simon says". Ladies, submit your pics and scale readings to the arbiter of all that is normal and beautiful, as in a "happy medium", and some of you will be allowed to advance without harassment!

Marghlar said...


Is there no room in your thought process for people to feel regret or sadness when they see people who look sick? No one is seeking to harass anyone -- rather, some of us are saddened to see people who appear to be suffering, physically and psychologically.

It has nothing to do with gender (I have known male anorectics, and felt terribly for them) or specific disorder. I feel just as badly for people who are morbidly obese. Do you really think it is so aberrant to feel sympathy for those who are ill?

Anonymous said...

Where is the sympathy here, Marghlar? I see more in the way of assumption and condemnation than anything else. Bashing thin people as anorexics is allowable these days. Because I refuse to assume a person I don't know is anorexic or to pronounce her hideous as others here have done doesn't mean I don't care about true anorexics, as I clearly said that I do.

Are you assuming Keira is anorexic and ill, and is that kind, really?

Word verification: eatcesx!

Unknown said...

Anorexic or not, go do a google image search and you can tell she's clearly much lighter now than a year or two ago. She even had something closely approximating breasts, while there is no evidence of that in the current picture that spawned this post. Some guys like thin; some guys like a little more; and other guys grow to like plump. But generally we're married and plump too.

And yes, the dress is a disaster.

Ann Althouse said...

Simon: You're assuming there's one perfect weight, but really there is a normal range, and it should be pretty big. Take your average 5'5" woman. This is my height, so I can really identify with the weights. I think you could weigh as little as 105 or even 100 without being alarmingly thin. 107 is the weight I tried to maintain in college, but would have to engage in endless bizarre dieting to be at today. 120 would be a nice, healthy, slender weight. 125-135 would be quite normal, but so would higher weights, maybe even as high as 155. So I think there could be a 50 pound range of normal, not worth talking about someone having a health problem. As to what the prettiest weight would be -- it's a matter of taste and a matter of the individual woman.

Joan said...

Tim's right; I was doing just that when he posted, and found this photo of Knightley in the nightclub scene in "Bend it like Beckham", in which she seemed very thin to me. It's clear she's even thinner now -- but her face still looks lovely to me, with nice full cheeks.

Revenant said...

She even had something closely approximating breasts, while there is no evidence of that in the current picture that spawned this post.

The reason she looked like she has no breasts in that picture is that she's not wearing a cleavage-enhancing bra like she normally does and the dress is covering up the tiny breasts she actually has.

I'm puzzled as to why anyone would look at that picture and assume she's anorexic. She doesn't look unhealthy or particularly bony. She just looks very thin -- which she always has been. That dress makes her look even thinner, is all.

Here are some other pictures of her from the last few months:

From this June:

From this March:

That's not an anorexic woman. Now, it may well be that she's thinner than she was in her early roles (although having just seen both Bend It Like Beckham and the Pirates 2 trailer I saw no evidence of that), but it is hardly unusual to lose weight between your teen years and your early 20s if you adopt (as she has) a more active lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I like a little more junk in the trunk, but she's still super-hot.

I agree with Simon that everyone in Hollywood is mental, but starlets do what they must to survive. The Hollywood Slagheap is a place of utter woe and it awaits most people who dare chase the siren call. This is what the starlet must fear. A hyper-skinny starlet is a woman who is serious about her career who also happens to be beautiful and nuts.

Marghlar said...

Are you assuming Keira is anorexic and ill, and is that kind, really?

I'm not a doctor, so I can't make a diagnosis (obviously), but she strongly resembles women I have known who were hospitalized for anorexia nervosa. Based on these photos, I would tend to think she is ill. Nor do I think it is unkind to worry that someone who looks ill, is, in fact, ill.

So I think there could be a 50 pound range of normal, not worth talking about someone having a health problem.

Ann, I'd agree that there is about that wide a range -- but 100 pounds on a five foot five woman is getting pretty scary. My sister, who is a recovering anorectic, hovers around there, and I can assure you that it looks far more scary than normal. Although it looks miles better than 80 did.

Finn Alexander Kristiansen said...

Ann said, and in a rather interesting tone:

Don't kid yourself, fatties. Women notice. It's not a good look, guys. And fat is feminizing. Women look bad fat, but men look womanly when they are fat. It's not good! If you're a man and can't see your penis when you're naked without looking in a mirror... how can that not feel awful?

Yes it probably does feel awful, and not seeing your penis is the least of the problems one faces. The biggest problem is that you want to break out, and get control, and lose weight, but you are slave to your habits.

So you can't fit in some movie seats, you have to pull your pants up every three minutes (or wear suspenders), you end up with man boobs, you get various rashes, and when you walk home the 5.2 miles from work (because you tend to eat up the money you could use to buy a car and your shift ended after the last bus), you get home and your thighs are bleeding. Oh yea, and then you can't see your penis, but you probably don't really need it, because, as Ann suggests, you kind of suck and are like an ugly fat chick.

An anorectic in reverse, in terms of being slave to a habit, though at least those suffering from anorexia actually want to go in the direction that their habits are driving them.

They want to be thin and do what it takes, whereas the overweight don't want to be fat, but still do what it takes to get there.

Invariably, and more related to the post, the actress will no doubt be doing a People magazine cover about how she was anorexic "back then" (meaning now), but is not anymore.

That's how they work.

Palladian said...

Heavy people cannot be compared to anorectics, at least not generally, because anorectics usually suffer from an extremely distorted sense of what they actually look like. It's not just that they want to be thin, it's that they cannot "see" that they are thin, dangerously so. They tend to experience their body in a disturbed way, that makes them continuously find more weight to lose. Anorexia is one of the most fatal of all psychiatric disorders, with I think a 10% mortality rate.

Wickedpinto said...

She's a Kid, and she's always been skinny.

the easiest way to define someone who has an "eating disorder" which is actually a "weight disorder" is to look at the flesh. Kira has always been skinny, and her flesh still fits her build, and she has done specific physical training. She might have dietary habbits that are lacking, but she isn't abusing herself.

If a 20,30, or even a 40 year old has 60 year old flabby arm sickness, while weighing 110lb's then there is a cause for concern. But Kyra is a kid, we will find out eventually, Charlize has the old girl tricep flaps, is she annorexic?

I withhold my judgement, it isn't like kira has the giant head that padme has.

ignacio said...

This turned into a very strange thread, with a great deal of exaggeration and hyperbole.

I could chime in with some nonsense of my own about fat and thin, but at this point I don't think much light is likely to be shed.

Anonymous said...

It's sort of like drug addiction, being fat. But they don't throw fat people in jail.

Somewhere out there, there is a fat, paralyzed guy who is a drug addict. And he can't see his penis. Because he has no penis!

Now that would suck.

Craig Ranapia said...

Marghlar said:
Is there no room in your thought process for people to feel regret or sadness when they see people who look sick?

I reply:
Marghlar, is there any room in YOUR thought process that people don't make vulgar, impertinent and ill-founded assumptions about the physical and mental health of complete strangers? I certainly hope in the real world, you keep such comments to yourself - because I have one friend who had recently undergone a double masectomy & cancer treatment wno doesn't feel the need to either tell the world her medical history or stay home so not to offend the eye of people like you. And I've also recently lost a lot of weight (on medical advice, and with the advice of a dietician), and don't really have the money to go on a clothes shopping binge until I hit my target weight. The nice thing about being a man, is that I've not had anyone assume I have an eating disorder.

Marghlar said...

Craig: Of course I don't harangue strangers with thoughts about their health.

That doesn't mean I wouldn't be inwardly concerned, when I see in them the outward signs of a deadly disease. Yes, it could be something else -- I've acknolwedged as much several times. But if it is what it looks like, that that is really unfortunate for Ms. Knightly.

me said...

I do NOT think Keira is anorexic. She looks VERY thin, but a natural very thin. I have known girls as thin as her, because of their metabolism, just as some people naturally are too heavy. She probably has to struggle to maintain a healthy weight, just as someone naturally heavy has to struggle to maintain a healthy weight. Being extremely thin can be almost as hard as being naturally heavy -- hard to find clothes that look good, people always think you're anorexic, etc. If a heavy woman has just a salad and skips dessert, everyone approves and says nothing. If she has a heavy lunch and a piece of cake, again no one would dream of saying anything to her. For a very thin woman, people have no such restraint and will say, "Oh, you're so thin, you can have more than a salad!" in the first instance. I have a friend who works at a law firm, and her secretary thinks she's anorexic and constantly offers her cookies and other types of food. My friend is used to it and tries not to take offense, but every time she says "No, I'm not hungry" or only has a salad at lunch people get suspicious that she has an eating disorder. No one would do the opposite and tell a heavy woman not to eat snacks. People definitely don't sympathize with the person with the naturally extremely thin body type like they do with naturally heavy body type.

Marghlar said...


That might be true about your friend -- but it's also true that anorexia is a huge problem among women in the legal profession. (NOTE: I am not saying that your friend is anorectic, just that I understand the viewpoint of those who would be concerned.) It is unfortunate that people feel compelled to butt in -- that should be a role for family and close friends in the event of real warning signs, not office acquaintances.

Having known a number of actresses who succumbed to this disease (one of whom died of it), I can't be as confident as you that Ms. Knightly is healthy. Maybe she is -- but the pictures at Fugly are pretty scary. In a profession that provides so much incentive towards that particular disorder, it's hard not to think that appearances are not deceiving, in this case.

Truly said...

Honestly, I'm pretty jealous of her figure--almost every girl I know would love to be that thin. Think about it: clothes shopping wouldn't be one, long crushing blow to the ego.

However, she does have terrible posture. I can just imagine my mother jabbing her between the shoulder blades and telling her to stand up straight! And then making her walk up and down the stairs with a book balanced on her head.

Marghlar said...

Honestly, I'm pretty jealous of her figure--almost every girl I know would love to be that thin.

And herein lies the irony -- I know very few men who are attracted to figures as skeletal as Ms. Knightly's. Of course, you shouldn't live your life just to please the opposite sex -- but if this is meant to be about attractiveness, and not just female competition, it has passed the point of any utility.

MD said...

Interesting that no-one in this strange, twisty, wierdo thread, has discussed that Kiera states her grandmother and her great-grandmother suffered from anorexia (follow the link).

So, maybe she's at risk because of her family history and profession, but, because she knows she's at risk, she takes care of herself and is especially careful.

Well, I think we should talk about the real travesty here: her acting in Pride and Predjudice! Who on earth told her to play all "Jo Marsh" for that role? Ugh.

Ann Althouse said...

Marghlar said..."'Honestly, I'm pretty jealous of her figure--almost every girl I know would love to be that thin.' And herein lies the irony -- I know very few men who are attracted to figures as skeletal as Ms. Knightly's."

Ha ha. That reminds me of the great scene on the beach in "Some Like It Hot" when Marilyn Monroe says to the in-drag Tony Curtis:

"There's one thing I envy you for...You're so flat-chested. Clothes hang better on you than they do on me."

And it's still true. We care about how the clothes hang, We want to be clothes hangers!

me said...

Really, people don't want to be that thin. Unless you can afford designer stuff, its just as hard to find a size 0 as it is to find a size 18 -- maybe harder now that so many shops have plus size sections. Tops and bottoms at regular shops (gap, ann taylor, macy's) are designed for women with some chest and some booty. When your body is basically a stick, you have to find stuff that doesn't hang on you like a sack and creates the look of chest and booty -- that's what my friend deals with. Of course I'd rather be stick thin than huge -- but the happy medium is best.

Hecla Ma said...

Personally, I don't think she looks anorexic. Calista Flockhart always looked anorexic to me, but this girl just looks slight and small. And I give her credit for not going the plastic boobs route. There's nothing wrong with being a little on the small side and a little "less" endowed. I frankly wish I were.

But then it is the rare woman who is perfectly happy with her body. My sister is flatchested and always wonders why I got the chest. I, on the other hand, would gladly give her my excess, if I could.

seng said...

this is sorta out of the subject, but hey i have to giver her props for having confidence and self esteem for wearing a dress like that especially with no cleaveage. you know, we're so used to of seeing women in beautiful dresses with the perfect body in media. aside from her skinny body figure and controversy whether she's anorexic or not.... you go girl!

SM said...

I do agree with those who say she's not anorexic.
Although she looks to thin, and she certainly needs to gain some weight.
She's probably naturally thin, or she just doesn't want to get fat because she wis one of those girls that sees everything she eats straight to her tighs and butt.
However, i think it's not pretty to see, specially in that dress, such a lack of chest.
She has a gorgeous face and that's all that matters if she's healthy.

Unknown said...

I do think Keira would look better if she put on weight. Having said that, it seems to me that Charlotte's comments are much more insightful than most and are actually needed to keep things more balanced.
While Simon does have valid points, they are points that don't need pointing out as we all know them fully well.