Monday, November 14, 2011

Do We Know if Kelly Clarkson is Proud in Her Own Skin?

Curvy and Proud? Or just curvy?
We have The New York Times delivered on the weekends. Sure, we could use the Ipad or Kindle but the Sunday paper needs to be the real, paper, deal.  Growing up, my parents slept late on Sundays (in retrospect that sounds impossible) and I remember going to the front door and grabbing the thick newspaper.  Before you think I was an impressively intellectual child sitting down with the New York Times, I’ll have you know I read and still do read the Style section first. A couple of weekends ago an article in Sunday Styles on Kelly Clarkson and its title “A Pop Star Proud in Her Own Skin” caught my eye. The article profiles the singer, discussing her persona, new album and recent VH1 unplugged performance that premieres this Friday, November 18th.

In the piece Kelly is portrayed as relatable and not afraid to speak her mind. I have a few Kelly Clarkson songs on running playlists but no not know that much about her.  She has released a new album called Stronger.  I watched the video for one track "Mr. Know it All". Kelly sings in front of a wall covered in headlines about her weight, image and sexual orientation. At one point Kelly also appears to scan blog comments about her (uh oh).  At the end she makes a hole in this wall, destroying the criticism and leaving it behind. The Times quotes another song “if you’re thin/Poor little walking disease/If you’re not/They’re all screaming obese.” From this I gather Kelly isn’t ignoring the growing elephant in the room, she’s talking about issues in in an honest, somewhat rebellious manner.

However, is she comfortable or “fed” up? They said Jennifer Hudson “comfortable” then she lost weight. Do they expect those who gain weight to be publically sad or embarrassed and if they’re not we assume they are content?  The article says Taylor swift isn’t the girl next door because she’s blonde and tall but Kelly is the girl next-door “for any woman to own her body size at an average woman’s weight is amazing”.  Perhaps this requires further research but just because Kelly is average-sized what constitutes “owning” your weight? Or does Kelly's average weight simply help others own theirs? Later in the article Kelly is quoted joking about spanx and her “giant” backside. Self-deprecating comments don’t lead me to believe she is proud, annoyed and open maybe. Talking back doesn’t mean you embrace your back fat.
Do you think outspoken implies confidence or body confidence? And self-deprecating comments, when you talk about your weight, are you “owning” it? Are you a Kelly Clarkson fan?







27 comments:

  1. It amazes me that people waste their time criticizing others... don't they have better things to do? Maybe not. I think Kelly Clarkson is beautiful and her voice is incredible... I hope that she doesn't let the negative comments get to her. Sadly, when mean people know that they bother you, they just try to tear you down more.
    I think it's so ridiculous that people would think of KC as the girl next door and not TS? Just because of what they look like on the outside. Crazy!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I do think that you can be blonde and thin and be relatable too, I think the notion that cubby is the only way to be relatable doesn't make sense.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Maybe KC makes jokes to make other people feel more comfortable? I know I make jokes about my body because it isn't what I want it to be - so Lauren I completely agree with you that if KC makes jokes, it might mean she's not proud. On the other hand, she's got to see herself in the media all the time and has the means to get in shape if she wants to - she's done it before. I think she just doesn't care. Is that proud, or lazy?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I don't know if "means" determine if we're in shape or not. Also not sure there are that many people that really "don't care" or that she doesn't care. Interesting thought "lazy" as if she's so tired of being criticized some of it is in her hands...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Outspoken doesn't always mean proud. It might just be easier (and MUCH more profitable) to pretend like you don't care about your curvier silhouette. Women may appreciate her more for this outspokenness, which of course leads to more $. I'm not saying that's why she openly discusses her appearance, but that's at least one good reason to not shy away from it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Interesting Tiff, it definitely seems like she has the "one of the girls" image down pat. I think pretend is a good word here.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great topic. (And I too read the Style section first, though I don't have a regular Sunday tradition like you:))

    I have never been famous. But I was an actress and at the time I was a good 20lbs heavier than I am currently. It sucked. I hated my body and I hated that I never got cast in lead roles, only "maid", "slut" and "mom" roles. But did I let my public (peers and professors) know how I felt? NO! Performing is all about "owning yourself" on stage. And, as a performer, we are very good at being believable. I think all she is doing when she says she is comfortable or proud is performing. And what person wouldn't want to put their best foot forward? Even when I was heavy, I still tried to project an air of confidence. Aren't we always told "confidence is sexy (no matter what your size)".

    I think she is conforming to a standard that is comfortable for her right now. Does she cry behind closed doors? Who knows? Maybe so, maybe not...maybe the joke is on us and she really, honestly, doesn't give an Ef and laughs all the way to the bank.

    My money is on the former, though. She's a performer and being proud is all part of the act.

    ReplyDelete
  8. People can be outspoken for a number of reasons. I agree with Tiff. As for myself, I quit harping about my body when I began endurance walking & running. Prior to running, I would make self-deprecating comments, but all you're doing when you talk about your body image is drawing attention to yourself (particularly the parts you don't like). I really feel for women in the public eye at any level.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I think when you make comments about your weight (even in a joking manner), there is often more behind that. Either way, I think she looks great!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Agreed Kristen. I also think this was a thin girl who gained weight (if you click on the link above an interesting pictorial of her at different stages). You don't gain 3-4 sizes for no reason either. Would be different if she was always a rounder girl. Caron- I so agree when you focus on how your body works and feel gratitude for this, it's hard not to appreciate your body. And Cameo-bingo she is a performer her message is "don't knock me, I'll knock you back" whether that's the internal dialog, we don't know.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hmmm...I don't know. I think that it's much safer for a curvier celebrity to be self-deprecating about her weight. The fact is that someone's going to point it out...so it may as well be her. I'm not a celebrity (thank goodness); I shudder to think of having the whole world focused on my physical appearance. I'm very self-deprecating about my weight, and I also HATE that I'm overweight and am trying to change that. That doesn't mean that I lack confidence though; I actually quite like myself, extra weight or not. So I don't think that self-deprecation necessarily means being satisfied with your body, nor do I think that being unsatisfied with your body necessarily means hating yourself and crying behind closed doors.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think you can like yourself and dislike your weight. I just don't think being overweight and talking about it means you are ok with it. Does that make sense? In certain ways Kelly may be confident in herself we just don't know if she's confident with her weight/"fine" with it. My question was does making comments about yourself/not showing you have issue with it mean you don't have an issue with it?

    ReplyDelete
  13. hmmmm nice thoughht provoking post

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks Kalie, something with the whole story didn't seem like it fit to me.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Like Cameo mentioned above you never know with performers. Maybe she is affected but is putting on a front. Or maybe she truly is confident. Either way,I think she is a great talent.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Talent, without a doubt. She seems one of those especially confusing ones because of the semi-tough exterior.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Interesting post Lauren. I'll be honest, I saw her on the Today show the other day and I didn't recognize her! She's definitely put on some pounds, but obviously she still looks great and I didn't think anything less of her. I don't follow her at all so I had not seen her in a while. I don't think that just because she makes comments about her weight, and seems to be ok with it, that is means she "owns her weight" or that she's even ok with it, I just think (and hope) that it means she has a healthy self-image and is aware that as a popstar she has to either accept how she is, or...not. It's a tough situation to be in. She could easily be hiding how she really feels, and that's fine with me because she doesn't need to let the world know. Maybe she's secretly working out and trying to eat healthier...we don't know!
    Interesting post, as always :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. No, she doesn't need to let the world in but so many women latch onto her (and what they want her to be) being heavier and happy. While we will never know if she is "happy" it definitely bolsters her image, which i guess is an "image".

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'm not huge into the popstar scene - but it makes me a little sad so much of these girls careers are based off whether they are fat/thin. Shouldn't be based on talent?

    ReplyDelete
  20. I think its SO hard to say whats right and whats wrong, because I think ultimately it should come down to healthy! You can be skinny but not healthy and you can be "bigger" and healthy!

    Either way, it's nice to see some variety in hollywood!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I always get a kick out of what hollywood defines as "curvier" because most of the time I don't agree! With regards to her confidence I've seen it go both ways. I've seen clients who appear super confident but once you take a deep dive into their story, they really aren't.

    ReplyDelete
  22. When I saw the headline in the paper I didn't know initially who it was about. But "proud in her own skin" tipped me off that it was someone who was heavy. They never say "proud in her own skin" about a thin woman (unless it's a super-skinny girl who has been criticized for being TOO skinny). A little condescending I think.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I was a big kelly fan so I know a little about her self deprecating humor. You should check her out on twitter, read her words directly because she's not one to shy away from a hater and often has humorous retorts. She is one of the most real honest celebs. I once heard her say ' i got a life' rephrasing to someone who asked her where her abs went. I personally don't think she hates herself etc she has a wicked sense of humor and I truly believe most of the time she doesn't let it bother her. She has said plenty of times that the comments from media have bothered her esp early on but she doesn't validate herself by the media. I think she's being real. You can google some of her recent interviews because people always ask. I think if you get a little familiar with her and her personality you will understand her sense of humor better. I believe she talks of running/yoga on twitter, lot of outdoor activities so she doesn't have a sedentary life as people assume, to me I feel like this is her normal weight. She's looked the same the last 5 years or so and she was a little thin idol-2005 but she's said she worked herself into exhaustion. Now, she's a decade older since idol and your metabolism does slow down a lot not to mention she is 5'2 and heavy at the bottom anyone who has that shape looks like they gained 9 lbs when it was 3. It looks worse. For a curvier lady like Miranda Lambert, she has a more proportioned body and weight gain is more evenly distributed. She had a similar thing because she was thinner when she started out. Back to Kelly, I'm pretty sure she addresses some of her critics in her song you can't win <regards to weight etc. to me, she looks MM size or just a couple sizes bigger but she has lost a bit in the past few months. Now maybe she can work out 2 hours a day and try to get her 24 yr old body back but it is obvious she doesn't care to.

    Nice discussion. I wish there wasn't such a focus on weight either. Certain shows perpetuate the exact self hate they endorse.

    ReplyDelete
  24. one more note, I once googled kelly clarkson and there was SO much about her weight, guessing her weight, showing weight gain it was crazy. I find it fascinating she can still stand 'fame' enough to do music though I'm sure she hasn't/doesn't google herself. No celeb should. I've heard managers say that is their advice to anyone in the biz.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Jenna- totally agree "comfortable in your own skin" insinuates you shouldn't be or that it's a surprise. Mel, as for Kelly I think the sense of humor you mentioned is genuine but responding and singing about these issues just doesn't seem lighthearted to me. I get the sense, from afar, that there's more to it. Thanks for your insight.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Love that you still read the (real) paper! And, I wish Kelli's weight wasn't such a big deal in the media. I'm guessing we wouldn't see that same headline in the news for a male celebrity!

    ReplyDelete