Women’s bodies are not news

Rebel Wilson pictured earlier this month. Photo: Rebel Wilson/Facebook.

Endless media reports on Rebel Wilson’s weight loss have sparked something off in Sydney actor and writer Lauren Clair. Worse than fake news, stories on women’s bodies are simply not news, she writes. 

I’ll be the first to admit that a mere stroll down Campbell Parade in Bondi ignites all my insecurities around the vertically challenged, circus loon that I am. So you can imagine the prawn I metamorphosise into when hitting the sand and daring to expose my neck-to-knee one-piece to the Victoria’s Secret parade surrounding me on Bondi Beach. 

But in all honesty, that’s about the only time I spare much thought about how my physical appearance affects (or worse, doesn’t affect) the world around me.

Except … Rebel Wilson!

Maybe you know her. I’m sure she’s a lovely lass. Promoter of chuckles and the likes. However, for the past few months, she’s been a spectre haunting my news feed and I want her gone! 

A 3 December Entertainment Tonight report on Rebel Wilson’s weight loss journey. Video: Entertainment Tonight/YouTube.

Ahem. Perhaps I should start again. Weight is the force that gravitation exerts upon the body. To translate for those not au fait with physics, your weight is how well you stick to Planet Earth. Not your usual dinner party banter while swilling Merlot. Why is it then, that in all of Google’s algorithmic wisdom, I am being fed a steady and almost daily diet of how much weight Rebel Wilson has lost? 

We’re all well aware, thanks to an orange buffoon still squatting in the ironically titled White House, that there exists ‘fake news’. What is consistently apparent to me (and has been since I saw my first Dolly magazine) is the existence of ‘not news’. I once did an inventory of a magazine (admittedly the kind of women’s magazine you find in doctors’ surgeries) to find that thirty-two pages had something to say about women’s weight and weight loss. 

Jennifer Aniston’s best body at forty; some Kardashian’s bikini body; best exercises to tone your doughy abs; rob the income of some poor Peruvian farmer to drink this rare green Andean dust and lose weight in your sleep recipe, etc. etc. 

Am I wrong? Someone losing their capacity to stick to the ground is simply not news! Not only is it not news, it is also bad news. 

Rather than retreat, corseted into my kitchen to handcuff myself to the sink, or rage that in 2020 we still care about – worse, insist – that a woman must consider her body mass, I’d like to focus on some things women did this year unhindered by their girth: 

Greta Thunberg was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for the second year in a row. 

Billie Eilish became the youngest artist ever to win a Grammy for Album of the Year. 

A personal favorite: Upasha Talukdar, a self taught, 12-year-old gymnast without a coach, won three medals via Skype at the Khelo India Youth Games. She taught herself watching YouTube! 

Andrea Ghez won a Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering a supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy. 

And some closer to home kinda good news:

Whatever people think of NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, she seems to be doing a good job on the Covid-19 front. Sure, the virus has rumbled back into life on the Northern Beaches (although it’s looking increasingly likely that disaster has been averted) and I’m guessing very few of us will be whipping off our masks and tongue-pashing strangers in the near future – but when you consider how things could have gone, and when you look at the rest of the world, we’re doing well. Thanks Glad! 

A former mayor, Ruth McGowan, released her book Get Elected, encouraging women and people of diverse backgrounds into politics at local, state and federal levels. 

Lisa Alexander, gold-winning Diamonds coach, while not winning her bid to coach the North Melbourne AFL team, has refused to give up her goal of becoming an AFL coach. 

Daizy Maan established the Soul House South Asian Women’s Wellness Space for women at risk at a ‘pay as you can afford’ rate. 

Maria Kavallaris won the NSW Premier’s Woman of the Year award. A cancer survivor, she was recognised for her work developing less toxic cancer treatments using nanotechnology. 

Professor Maria Kavallaris (left) with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian at the awards ceremony in Sydney. Photo: UNSW Sydney Newsroom/NSW Women.

Clara Chong directed Dark Noise, one of the first feature films to go back into production after the entertainment industry was decimated by lockdown. 

Sue Lennox was recognised for her environmental education work at OzGREEN with a Senior Australian of the Year Award. 

And let’s not forget the many, many women who home schooled whilst Zooming in to work. 

These are simply a few of the countless very weighty women of the world and their work; an enormous gravitational pull. So while I’m pleased that Rebel Wilson is achieving personal goals and is purportedly a happier human for doing so, I implore every media outlet, every social influencer, every last amoeba with a modicum of intellect to please – I’m begging you – stop talking about women’s bodies. 

It’s not news. 

Lauren Clair is a Sydney-based actor, filmmaker, writer and horror movie aficionado who can prescribe  a horror film for even the greatest of scaredy cats or genre deniers.

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