News flash: Jennifer Love Hewitt wears bathing suits

She also has hips and legs. Which, apparently, means that she's fat.

By Catherine Price

Published December 4, 2007 5:40PM (EST)

This one goes out to anyone who's having a bad self-image day: Be glad you're not a celebrity. When Jennifer Love Hewitt went to Hawaii with her fiancé, Ross McCall, paparazzi snapped some unflattering pictures of her in a bathing suit. That is to say, TMZ (as one example) posted photographs of her in the ocean looking very happy, and showing her hips. (Which, for the record, most women actually have -- we use them for things like birthing.) TMZ's caption? "We know what you ate this summer, Love -- everything."

This momentous news -- Love Hewitt in a bathing suit, un-Photoshopped! -- caused such a flurry of blog posts and comments that Love Hewitt responded on her own blog. To quote:

"I've sat by in silence for a long time now about the way women's bodies are constantly scrutinized. To set the record straight, I'm not upset for me, but for all of the girls out there that are struggling with their body image.

"A size 2 is not fat! Nor will it ever be. And being a size 0 doesn't make you beautiful.

"What I should be doing is celebrating some of the best days of my life and my engagement to the man of my dreams, instead of having to deal with photographers taking invasive pictures from bad angles. I know what I look like, and so do my friends and family. And like all women out there should, I love my body."

TMZ's response? "If you say so."

Now, obviously I shouldn't be expecting much from a Web site that lists, as a related article, a feature called "Name That Butt." But nonetheless, I continue to find it depressing that women are judged so harshly on how their bodies look -- and that our idea of a "perfect body" is one that is actually unattainable (unless, of course, you exist solely in a digital, Photoshopped universe). It reminds me of a question I once read in a beauty advice column that seemed to perfectly sum up the impossibility of our quest for "perfect" bodies. "I've heard about a new technique called 'airbrushing,'" it said. "Is there any way that I can have this done at home?"

Catherine Price

Catherine Price is an award-winning journalist and author of Vitamania: How Vitamins Revolutionized the Way We Think About Food. Her written and multimedia work has appeared in publications including The Best American Science Writing, The New York Times, Popular Science, O: The Oprah Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post Magazine, Salon, Slate, Men’s Journal, Mother Jones, PARADE, Health Magazine, and Outside. Price lives in Philadelphia.

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