Jennifer Love Hewitt Fights Back Against Cruel Body Image Insults, Puts Sexist Sites on the Defensive

This post, written by Zuzu and originally appeared on Feministe

You may or may not be aware that the size 2 Jennifer Love Hewitt was recently the subject of some fat-shaming by lovely gossip site TMZ and others (to whom I won't link, but if you follow the links here, you'll see the photos and the oh-so-trenchant observations like "We know what you ate this summer, Love everything!"). Hewitt had the audacity to appear in public in a bikini while also in possession of a body that hadn't been dieted and exercised down to nothing or airbrushed to smooth perfection.

Mind you, TMZ has no compunction about running unflattering beach and other photos of celebrities with a heaping helping of mockery; it seems to be popular enough that one of their advertisers, T Mobile, is currently running a feature called "Flabulous!" with a bunch of celebrities at the beach, not in the world's best shape. How dare they not be picture-perfect at all times, *especially* when they turn 60!

Anyway, back to Hewitt: She decided that she wasn't going to take this mockery lying down, and so she decided to say a few things. Things which made me fall in love with her a little bit (even though I've only ever seen her in Party of Five, in which she annoyed me):
"I've sat by in silence for a long time now about the way women's bodies are constantly scrutinized," the 28-year-old actress writes on her Web site.
"To set the record straight, I'm not upset for me, but for all the girls out there that are struggling with their body image." ...
"A size 2 is not fat! Nor will it ever be," Hewitt responded in a post Thursday. "And being a size 0 doesn't make you beautiful."
"What I should be doing is celebrating some of the best days of my life and my engagement to the man of my dreams, instead of having to deal with photographers taking invasive pictures from bad angles," says the star of TV's "Ghost Whisperer" and the film "I Know What You Did Last Summer."
"To all girls with butts, boobs, hips and a waist," she wrote, "put on a bikini put it on and stay strong."

I'd probably fall in love a little more if she weren't so defensive about being seen as fat, but hey. I'm pretty pleased that she's responded with a bit of a fuck-you to the people who are following her around with a camera and then feel entitled to nitpick her body just because she's a woman. I'm glad she tied in her treatment to the way that *women in general* are publicly scrutinized, not just the way that *celebrities* are publicly scrutinized. I'm glad she recognizes that the difference between the way that her body is held up for scrutiny and the way that other women's bodies are held up for scrutiny is simply the presence of papparrazi in her life. IOW, she realizes that all women are public property, and the difference between the way she's treated as a celebrity and the way she's treated as a woman is one of degree, not kind.
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Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

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On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

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