Keira Knightly talks Misogyny and Body Image

keira-knightley-hollywood-body-obsession-slamOn the heels of Cameron Diaz making her comments about women wanting to be objectified, another Hollywood ingenue says something that make some sense (at least to My Body My Image).

Here’s what she said about it during a press junket for her new movie Anna Karenina:

“I think the pressure we put on women to either be thinner or fatter or to have longer legs or shorter legs or bigger breasts or smaller breasts is disgusting. It’s amazing in 2012 that that level of misogyny over women is still there… Particularly over young women. We pull them apart.”

Never a truer statement has been uttered. I echo her sentiment. I think that a great deal of this issue of body image has a lot to so with themisogynistic society we live in. The fact that a woman’s worth, her value is intrinsically linked with her appearance, or her sexual appeal is reductive and antiquated. The unrealistic (digitally altered) standard of beauty, along with the endless comparisons (with digitally altered and real images) and cultural, racial, weight biased concepts and presentations of beauty only add to the epidemic of body image issues that we are experiencing today. Add to that, the fact that  all marketing, and media (film, television, print magazines) tell us (through images) that only young, thin, (primarily white or light skinned) women are worthy of love, affection, admiration, longing for, or coveting is an issue. What Knightly is say is at the root of the issue. It’s like a Jedi mind trick, – the concepts that Jean Kilbourne talks about in advertising do have an effect. We see what we are “supposed” to be, measure ourselves to it and then feel badly because we fall short. Never mind that is it not a “real” image, or goal that we are striving for or comparing ourselves with. Knightly and other actresses must feel an added pressure as they are charged with actually “being” the unreal image.

“I’m a person. I’m completely flawed and nobody should look up to me as a role model. But, hopefully what I can do is make some interesting stories.”

I appreciate that she goes back to the work that she does as an actress and off of the image that is projected whether that be an image when playing a role in a film, or the character in the narrative that the tabloids create of her. In this last statement she grounds herself in her reality which is set apart from what the industry would have her to be. This is where I find that she differs from Diaz as well. Diaz, it seems, has accepted the “role” that the industry/media has assigned her, and like a good “girl” with her images, and her words supports it (you don’t what to make “daddy” mad) Knightly seems (at least here in these quotes) takes the system on, and has decided through her craft to define, or re-define herself  her self.

Kudos to her!