Jennifer Lawrence on Miley Cyrus: It's 'disgusting' that young sex sells
Jennifer Lawrence, 23 year old 'Hunger Games' star, has criticised the media for the unrealistic expectations it places on young women and it's refreshing to hear such views from someone who could have easily given in to the same pressure many of her cohorts have.
Speaking to BBC Newsnight yesterday, just a day after yet another eyebrow-raising Miley Cyrus performance at the EMAs, she voiced her concerns about the pressures teenage girls face as Hollywood decrees that thinner is better and physical beauty is more important than intelligence.
Lawrence has spoken extensively in the past about body image, and the way that the media dictates what young girls should and shouldn't look like. "What are you going to do? Be hungry every single day to make other people happy? That's just dumb," she said recently, in response to questions about how she deals with the pressure.
In her interview with the BBC, she spoke of the conscious decision not to lose weight for her role in the 'Hunger Games' trilogy, despite the fact that her character, Katniss, is supposed to look underfed, because "girls see enough of this body that we can't imitate, that we'll never be able to obtain".
She referred to the films as "an amazing opportunity" to create a healthy role model for young girls who aren't dangerously thin. Lawrence is certainly beautiful, but Katniss is also intelligent, strong and brave; qualities that most would agree are far more worthy of praise than a petite frame.
She spoke in more detail about the entertainment industry, condemning the way that young women are sexualised saying that "it's a part of this world... sex sells, and for some disgusting reason young sex sells even more".
Her comments are timely; the extent of the effect that the media has on the collective psyche of a generation of young women is becoming apparent, and the results are frightening. Super skinny pop stars regularly perform with barely any clothes on, and no one bats an eyelid unless it's Miley Cyrus. Online forums are full of teenage girls asking how they can lose weight before their bodies have even matured properly, obsessively posting pictures of the elusive 'thigh gap' (where the tops of a woman's legs don't meet) with captions of lament that their own bodies don't measure up to this 'ideal'.
Teenage model Cara Delevingne's slender legs have their own fan-made Twitter account. It's a worrying trend.
Although those campaigning for a more realistic portrayal of women in the media will be delighted that Lawrence is using her celebrity and status as a role model to voice her opinions, there is no doubt still a long way to go. Right next to its praise for the movie star's stance on body image, the Daily Mail included a piece on her "unflattering" gown.
But progress is being made. Questions are being asked, concerns are being raised, and a dialogue is beginning to open. Campaigns such as Dove's 'Real Beauty", which aims to build the self esteem of young women, are gaining a lot of attention, and it seems that the world is finally ready for a healthier attitude towards the portrayal of women.
It only takes one volunteer to speak up.