The Shape Debate: In Praise of Curves

09/22/2006 at 01:27 PM ET

There has been a lot of buzz this week about ever-shrinking starlets and too-skinny models. So we’d like to give props to a few women who always look great. Seeing Kate Winslet at the Toronto Film Festival reminded us how beautiful she is, and how she has never shied away from having a real body (and a great body, at that.) Gwyneth Paltrow, who in younger days was reed-thin, is now one hot mama with her voluptous post-baby body. Is it just us or does she seem to be glowing everytime you see her now? And in the younger generation, Scarlett Johansson makes a break with the stick-thin figures and celebrates her curves, bringing to mind screen sirens of days gone by. And yes, these women are still slim and have very enviable bodies (we’ll take looking like that in a dress any day!), but we applaud them for being comfortable in their own skin and hourglass figures. Marilyn would be proud.

If you’d like to let us know what you think about the shape debate, take PEOPLE’s Stars’ Bodies: Too Thin? poll, and if you like, leave a comment here.

CH/AAD/Star Max; Dennis Van Tine/Abaca; Fernando Allende/Splash News

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Erica on

When I was a teen, I weighed only 95 pounds. I ate, but people thought I didn’t. I just never gained weight. When people would comment on it, it hurt. Now I am 30 and I weight 130 pounds. I preferred being skinny (easy to shop!!), but I like my body now. I look like a woman with curves. But skinny women are still women too!! Who’s to say only women with curves is a “real woman” and the others aren’t? That is hurtful. I say we be like men and love whatever body we are in!

Ana on

I think these women look perfectly fine. I also have always been curvy and tall. Next to these women I look fat-however, I am perfectly content in my own body. You must remember how these women measure up to most of us…they don’t!

niquinon on

There is such focus on weight, I entirely agree… but I do agree that these ladies are still skinnier that they seem to be (compare to the average).. remember there are such thing as dresses that do make you look a certain way and that emphasize what they want in order to make a point, which is not bad, it is business. However, aside from Hollywood´s pressure, there is also the pressure from families, friends, and our own society that has created standards, in some cases not necessarly influenced by the entertainment business. I am a teacher and I have heard so many coments from girls quoting that their moms send them to camps in order to loose weight, or than even teachers tell them that they look heavy. I am thin due to medications because I have a medical condition, which is also another situation that a lot of people don´t consider, in a lot of cases.

A woman looks and is beautiful when she embraces herself and the way she is. There are the extremes, of course, but there might be reasons inside that we are not aware of and that are hidden.

In addition, I do agree that a lot of people that we see as curvy are not exactly that way… I would particularly put Beyonce and J-lo, but even them have given into the necessity to loose weight. Paltrow, well for the moment she looks like that because she has given birth to her 2nd child and it is harder to loose the weight.

Being healty is what´s important and exercising. However, what we see is not the reality… we see what we want to see. I do not deny the fact that some people are too thin… but seriously is NR considered a role model, I doubt it. I have yet to hear such thing… I just think that they use her and she uses the publicity, but eventually like PH people will get tired of them… and they are beginning to do so… that is why they are bringing such attention to themselves.

Britt on

No one is bashing naturally thin women so those of you get over yourselves, the matter here is that there are SO many females out there today that ARE starving themselves, etc. so I applaud as well those naturally curvy women who are proud of their bodies, which we rarely see in the media versus the thin women.

stylemaven on

I’m with you, Erica. I have always been on the thin side- I am 21 and currently weigh just a little over 100 pounds. I do enjoy being this way- this my natural, God-given body. I feel awkward sometimes when people will say things like “Oh, you’re so little! Eat something!” I do, I am not on a diet! I don’t really know what to say to people who comment on my size. I can’t really say thank you, because I didn’t do anything to get this way. I just embrace who I am now and what I look like naturally. And someday I’m sure, after I have children, that I won’t look this way anymore. I will embrace the curves that go with the territory and just try to stay healthy and toned, no matter what size I am. I think that everyone should embrace what they have been given, and do the best they can with it by staying healthy and dressing well- which can be done on any budget and makes a woman feel good about herself.

Sylvia Jones on

I am one of those individuals who thinks that women should not be judged by their physical apperance, but if we’re going to, we should at least be honest, Kate Winslet is beautiful, and no, she’s not skin and bones, but she’s not an “average” body, for good or bad, the average American is much larger than any of these “normal” celebs. And i saw a picture of Scarlet Johanasson in a bikini, and she had a flat stomach, doesnt sound very “average” me. These women are still thin, and we are supposed to be super excited just because they have a decent cup size? Until I see some cellulite, I’m not buying it.

Alejandra on

I remember that Kate Winslet was cosidered by some to be too fat to have been in Titanic. Even cruel jokes were made about her weight. So this weight issue is not made up. It is also important to note that the other Kate (Bosworth) was already thin some years ago, she looked quite fine, why lose more weight? The same applied to Victoria Beckham, she had a fine body when she was with the Spice Girls, but now she looks starved! The problem are not naturally thin women, but the preassure to have naturally thin women get even thinner until all their chest bones pop up. It is specially bad for mothers, because all these “celebrities” that walk around in bikinis, weeks or months after giving birth are sending the message to other women that losing the baby weight is the priority and not the baby’s nutrition via breast feeding and their own recovery. Actually, when you are breast feeding you should eat well and not excercise too much, because the milk is affected, but at the same time, much of the stored fat is turned into milk, so breastfeeding helps lose the baby weight.

audrey on

I know some people who think I’m perfect. First my parents, then my husband and now my children. The rest of the world I don’t care.

Donna May on

these three women are indeed real gorgeous with their bodies and of course, their faces.. not to mention their talents!!! Especially Gwyneth who is so very beautiful, i think, inside and out…

Real Women Have Curves on

This quote is an excellent example of how media can be part of the body image problem.

“I think it’s hilarious when magazines call Jessica Alba or Eva Longria curvy,” says America Ferrera to People Magazine. “Come on. They’re not curvy, they’re small–I’m curvy!”

America is right! When we call normal-sized women like Scarlett Johannson and Kate Winslet “curvy,” what label is left for everyone else?

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