One more time for the cheap seats in the back: Just because progress has been made doesn’t mean the work is done. In a new cover interview with Allure, Anne Hathaway discusses Hollywood’s body inclusivity and makes a salient point in the process — although body-shaming isn’t as bad as it once was in Tinsel Town, the expectation placed on women in the industry to be thin is still an issue.
The actor, who stars in the upcoming film The Last Thing He Wanted, revealed that her latest role made her more appreciative of the positive changes that have been taking place. In fact, she was asked to gain 20 pounds for the role, a request Hathaway was happy to oblige. “At 16 years old, it was ‘Congratulations, you have the part. I’m not saying you need to lose weight. I’m just saying don’t gain weight.’ Which of course means you need to lose weight,” Hathaway recalled, adding, “So I had that, then 20 years later I have Ane Crabtree [costume designer for The Last Thing He Wanted] asking me what my body does on my moon — which I realized meant my period — so she can make adjustments for me. It was just this beautiful thing.”
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Not surprisingly, such interactions make Hathaway hopeful about what lies ahead for women in entertainment and beyond. Yet, she’s not losing sight of the work that remains, admitting, “I am cautious in my praise of how Hollywood is shifting. There is so much more body inclusivity — which is great! — but the thin thing is definitely still the centralized ‘normal’ expectation.”
This is why it’s important, Hathaway implies, for people to continue encouraging inclusivity and body positivity in the media they consume. “It’s more nuanced, and it’s more interesting. It’s allowed for more interesting characters and stories. Now the big question is are audiences appreciating it? If it’s not supported, it won’t continue. It will go back to the way it was, and people will say, ‘Okay, that didn’t work.'”
She makes a compelling case. After all, women in Hollywood already face so much pushback and systemic suppression (need we bring up how few and far between jobs for female directors remain?). Even if they continue to challenge the status quo, studios are unlikely to back them if it affects their bottom line. But if we put our movie-going money toward tickets to films that feature women with real-life bodies, the box office receipts should serve as a strong incentive to Hollywood execs to keep the inclusivity coming.