Elise Kissell – Celebrity Weight Obsession

I’m obsessed with Aly Raisman. She’s absolutely beautiful, and she went into the 2012 Summer Olympics as an underdog and walked away as the most decorated female gymnast. Now she’s one of the contestants on Dancing With the Stars, and is proving to the world that she is an incredibly talented dancer as well as gymnast.

I don’t have cable to watch Aly light up the stage every Monday night, so I wait until Tuesday to go online and watch her weekly routine. This week, I went to Google and started typing in “Aly Raisman DWTS week 5 routine” but as I was typing, the first result that came up was “Aly Raisman DWTS weight gain”. My first response was extreme anger. Aly is an Olympic athlete, how can people think she’s fat?! She probably doesn’t have an ounce of fat on her body with all of that muscle. If she were stick thin, there’s no way she’d be able to perform the level of gymnastics that won her so many medals.

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After I spent a while thinking through my anger, I thought of something else. Aly may be an Olympic gymnast, but she’s also an 18-year-old girl from Massachusetts that loves shopping and watching chick flicks. The fact that she’s an incredibly talented athlete means that she has the added pressure of being a role model for millions of people. However, she is still human and doesn’t deserve to be criticized for her weight. You wouldn’t post a comment on your friend’s Instagram that says, “You’re fat.” Yet people comment on Aly’s pictures with comments like that all the time. Just because she’s famous doesn’t mean she’s immune to the power of insults.

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Aside from the possibility of Aly herself seeing these comments, they also pose a threat to the young girls that look up to her. If a world-class athlete isn’t skinny enough to be considered pretty, how can the average girl live up to that standard?

Aly is just one celebrity that’s received criticism for her weight. It seems like every time a celebrity gains a pound, there’s a headline about it. Both Kate Middleton and Kim Kardashian have had their baby weight constantly monitored by the media during their pregnancies. Besides the fact that it’s ridiculous to critique a woman for gaining weight while she’s pregnant, celebrities should be able to have their weights fluctuate without the whole world knowing about it.

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We can’t place all of the blame on the media for today’s skewed views of true beauty. The change has to start from the masses. If we criticize celebrities for their weight, then we’re encouraging them to lose even more weight, and in turn they inspire girls everywhere to strive for that same thin standard of beauty and this vicious cycle continues. The change must begin with us, not the media, in order truly change our nation’s perceptions of beauty and self-worth among women.

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12 thoughts on “Elise Kissell – Celebrity Weight Obsession

  1. Even though their are skinny gymnasts who manage to be world class, this is still wrong. Has Aly put on weight since London? Yes she has. But how do people expect her to stay the same body type she was back when she was training 7-8 hours a day, 6 days out of the week? Dancing is great exercise but its not like Elite gymnastics. People feel the need to be nasty for no reason. Big or small, she’s still a 2 time Olympic Champion. What are they doing…?

  2. Lets be realist here. I agree that no one deserves that type of treatment, however, being in the spotlight, your exposing yourself to that type to criticism. And why is everyone talking about it? Well maybe becuse it’s pretty obvious she has gained a little weight. Fat might not be the right word, cause I personally think she looks better like this than she did when she was thinner. The fact is, she gained a little weight. We shouldn’t say it just because its going to “hurt her feelings?” Come on, this is a cruel world we live in and we can’t change anyone else’s comments, except for the way we want to react to them.

  3. She’s gained more than a little weight, so please keep it honest. She also has a jiggly soft belly. Considering she was an elite athlete for so many years I was very surprised to see that, however, I figured she was taking time off from such a rigid routine to enjoy life for a while. She now looks like a girl who has grown into her womanly body, and I think that’s awesome!

  4. There is no doubt she’s gained weight on DWTS. But remember that Shawn Johnson also gained weight when she appeared on DWTS after the Olympics. It was just as much of a scandal for her as Aly. Johnson explained that she gained weight because she went from 6-8 hours a day of intense training to dancing. For most DWTS contestants, the dancing is far more exercise than they usually get so they lose a noticeable amount of weight. For Olympic athletes who have trained intensely for years dancing isn’t nearly as grueling as they’re used to, so they gain weight. I’m sure if asked Aly would say the same thing. And like Johnson I’m sure she’ll lose some weight once she finds a “normal” exercise routine post-Olympics. But otherwise, she’s an attractive girl and shouldn’t really pay much attention to couch potatoes who can only criticize from the comfort of their couch.

  5. Instagram comments horrify me. If you think Aly’s are bad, you should check out her teammate McKayla Maroney’s. I’ve never so much rudeness. I guess since some of the comments before me are basically echoing the same sentiment in slighter nicer words though we can’t expect much else. The point is, why do people feel the need to point out things like weight gain? Women are constantly targeted for their changing bodies (“she’s ballooned up!”, “she’s scary skinny!”) and it largely contributes to why women obsess over their weight and size. Whether Aly’s gained weight or not, it’s not really anyone else’s concern and the fact that ‘she’s gained weight’ automatically equals ‘she got fat’ to some people is troubling. I even saw some people during the Olympics saying she was a chubby gymnast. Our perception of “fat”, “chubby”, and “overweight” is so messed up.

    I also largely disagree with the philosophy that the world is just a cruel place and we need to deal with it. I’d rather not accept that teens (and even adults) think it’s ok to tear other people down in a completely insulting manner without any reason.

  6. Can I simply say what a relief to find somebody that actually knows what they’re discussing over the internet. You actually realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to look at this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that you’re not more popular given that you most certainly possess
    the gift.

  7. She’s clearly gained a lot of weight. Why? Who knows. Maybe she didn’t scale back her eating after the Olympics. I hear she has Hollywood aspirations…she’s going to need to get back to a more attractive weight for that.

    • “a more attractive weight”? She may be curvier now but that doesn’t necessarily equate to “less attractive”. And I doubt that she has gained “a lot” of weight as you claim. Since she is so short (as are most gymnasts), even a small amount of weight is going to look like more than it is, more of a difference compared to her appearance before. And once she starts training again, I am sure she will soon go back to being pure muscle (which most women are NOT). Give the girl a break!

      • >”She may be curvier now but that doesn’t necessarily equate to “less attractive”.

        It does for most of the public, and especially so for Hollywood’s interest in casting.

        >”And I doubt that she has gained “a lot” of weight as you claim.”

        Her shape has deviated pretty far from being good looking. Yes, it took less weight on her to do that, since she’s short. But, relative to her size, for her it’s a “lot” of weight. But yes, not a lot in absolute poundage. She’s young and in good shape, if she decides to lose it, I’ll bet she can, quickly.

        >Give the girl a break!

        I’m not being hard on her. She’s gained a “lot” relative to her size, it’s less attractive, and if she has Hollywood aspirations, she’s going to need to lose it.

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