“Why is humiliating people funny?”
This rhetorical question comes courtesy of Jennifer Lawrence who went onto suggest that “it should be illegal to call somebody fat on TV” as part of an interview with Barbara Walters.
Lawrence made Walters’ annual list of fascinating people, keeping company with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian (a two-for-one), Miley Cyrus, Pope Francis, Prince George and Edward Snowden.
The Academy Award winner used her time with button-pushing Babs to get serious about how the media is complicit in reinforcing negative dialogue and self-image.
“I get it and I do it too – we all do it – but I think when it comes to the media, the media needs to take responsibility for the effect that it has on our younger generation – on these girls that are watching these television shows and picking up how to talk and how to be cool,” Lawrence said. “So that all of a sudden, being funny is making fun of the girl wearing an ugly dress … and the word “fat” – I just think it should be illegal to call somebody fat on TV.”
As she sees it, fat-shaming is as deleterious as smoking. “I mean, if we’re regulating cigarettes and sex and cuss words because of the effect they’re having on our younger generation, why aren’t we regulating things like calling people fat,” she continued.
While Lawrence is generally considered one of the more relatable, witty and poised stars in Hollywood today, the 23-year-old has faced no shortage of unwarranted criticism – mainly tied to her role as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games.
When the first film came out in March, 2012, some reporters implied that she was too “big boned” or “well fed” for the character, created by Suzanne Collins. Lawrence has typically handled the comments gracefully – pointing a finger at the media for its hypocritical stance in deriding both extreme thinness and healthier body types. And of course, she is hardly f-a-t.
So even though her three-letter f-word is unlikely to join that four-letter f-word as verboten for television, her comments to Walters reveal how frustrating an issue this has been for her – and how she evidently sympathizes with anyone on the receiving end of similarly negative remarks. If nothing more, she is furthering the conversation on comments people make across all forms of media, all without considering the implications.
All of which confirms that she deserved to be included in Walters’ list. As for some of the others chosen … well, we’ll have to tune in tonight to see.
Walters’ television special airs at 9:30 p.m. ET on ABC.