Photo Credit: Getty Images
If you're like me, Oscar night is a bit like New Year's Eve: It's exciting at the time, but the second it's through, I'm over it. In fact, much like I want to curl up in bed Jan. 1 and not emerge until Easter, I try to avoid the Internet as much as possible the day after the Oscars.
Why? Because while I love the awards show for the gorgeous red-carpet dresses, the occasional on-stage antics and the off-the-cuff acceptance speeches, I hate it because the next day is filled with talk of how this star looked too skinny and how this one looked a bit bloated and may even be pregnant. I wish that, just once, the next day's topic of conversation could be less about an actress' size and more about her amazing accomplishments.
Without fail, someone gets picked on every year. In 2012, it was Angelina Jolie. The day after, we saw headlines like this one: "Angelina Jolie: Stick Thin & Awkward at the Oscars" and this gem: "Angelina Jolie Needs a Cheeseburger."
In 2011, Jennifer Hudson was the chosen one, getting criticism for losing weight. Headlines like this said: "Now She's TOO Thin: Jennifer Hudson Under Fire from Diet Experts over Slender New Look,” while this one asked the reader: "Jennifer Hudson Oscars 2011 (PICTURES): Stunning or Too Thin?"
Never mind that in 2012, Octavia Spencer became the fifth (only the fifth!)African-American woman to win best supporting actress, and Meryl Streep took home her third Oscar (after a whopping 17 nominations!). While in 2011, Anne Hathaway joined the likes of comedic greats like Carol Burnett, Shirley MacLaine and Goldie Hawn as one of a handful of female Oscar cohosts in the awards show's now 85-year history.
But it's not just the stick-skinny ladies who get critiqued after the Oscars (and other awards shows). Stars are picked on for gaining weight, too -- as Christina Aguilera knows better than anyone. After the 2012 American Music Awards, she was called out for "spilling out" of her dress. And, of course, any woman who's had a baby in the recent past is subject to intense scrutiny over whether or not she's lost the weight yet.
It's no secret that once an actress enters the A-list, she's either politely labeled as "curvy" or "slender," and the minute she veers even slightly in the other direction, she's "looking unhealthy." If we all had that much attention paid to our looks instead of our talent, we'd likely all look “unhealthy” too, in one way or the other. But until the emphasis on an actress' eating habits stops, the next day's story will always begin with how she picked at her salad instead of how she prepared for her role.
But even as I'm taking bets on who will be most-watched for her weight at this year's awards (Jennifer Lawrence? Jessica Chastain?) it seems at least someone at the academy is taking notice of this unfairness. This year, college students who also are aspiring filmmakers will replace the usual taut beauty to help present the Oscar statuettes. "This tradition of the buxom babe that comes out and brings the trophy to the presenter to give to the winner seemed to be very antiquated and kind of sexist, too," Neil Meron, co-producer of this year's Academy Awards, tells the Associated Press. "They're just there to be objectified. Why can't we have people who actually care about film and are the future of film be the trophy presenters?"
It's a good question, but until someone provides a good answer as to why women in Hollywood continue to be valued for their beauty over their brains, I'll be hiding from the Internet come Feb. 25.