Forget Jessica, what about Betty?

Okay, I swore that I was not going to add to the plethora of comments about Jessica Simpson and weight. But I can’t help myself. I went to a women’s college, where we had entire classes devoted to things like female body image and the portrayal of women in advertising. Jessica has put on a few pounds. Her outfit was a bad choice. Does she look unhealthy? No. Does she look like she weighs 500 lbs, New York Post? No. Come on. This will ultimately be good for her career, once she’s back on the cover of US Weekly talking about how Harley Pasternak helped her lose that 10 lbs. Whatever. I’m more concerned about something else that no one is talking about: Ugly Betty.

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Ugly? Are you freaking kidding me?

Just because you put braces and ugly outfits on a perfectly attractive girl does not an ugly character make. She’s even lost weight since the show’s first season, and now I would say she is around a size 6. Which is about 4 sizes smaller than the average American woman. In general, I appreciate the way the show’s writers focus on individuality and the importance of staying true to yourself. Betty always does the right thing, even if no one else would in the same situation. And that is inspiring and uplifting, and something we don’t get enough of on TV nowadays. However, it is not respectful to the character they’ve created or the theme of the show when they 1) refer to her in the title as “ugly” 2) write episodes where Betty is crying because the boy she has a crush on would rather hook up with the tall, blond, model-esque, dumb girl than her. Why didn’t that episode make the guy look stupid instead of making Betty look sad and pathetic? Why does the one show on TV that encourages people to be themselves and be proud of that also have to feed into the thin-is-ultimately-beautiful stereotype? Because it’s Hollywood. Because it sells. Because the writers of that show are more concerned about ratings than morality statements.

What I’m going to do, as someone who works in marketing and is sometimes responsible for choosing advertising images, is to promote the idea that normal is beautiful. Be the change you want to see.

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