New Jessica Simpson "Fat Picture" Causes a Commotion

The curvy star insists she's confident about her body -- so why can't the media lay off already?

New pictures of Jessica Simpson in a tight-fitting dress have hit the press -- and her curvier-than-usual figure is being greeted with fat jokes and pregnancy rumors.

Sound familiar? That's because the same thing happened in January 2009, when a voluptuous Simpson was photographed in unflattering tight clothes and mocked by the tabloids.

While it's not unsual for stars to be called out for weight gain, Simpson's reaction to the 2009 "mom jeans" scandal was unusual. Most stars who are called fat by the tabloids -- Jennifer Love Hewitt and Tyra Banks come to mind -- get angry, rant about how messed up our beauty standards are, then promptly lose a lot of weight. Simpson, on the other hand, spent the following year-and-a-half responding constructively. She challenged her own ideas of what beauty means on her VH1 show, The Price of Beauty. She spoke candidly about her size and weight fluctuations on Oprah. She appeared on the cover of Marie Claire with no makeup or airbrushing. And she's continuing to practice what she preaches: this week, Simpson announced that she'll be using real women -- not models -- to show her Spring 2011 collection at Fashion Week.

Unfortunately, Simpson's efforts to change our beauty standards haven't trickled down to the tabloids. Everyone wants to talk about her weight this week. HollywoodLife consulted a "weight loss expert" and came to the conclusion that she's pregnant with boyfriend Eric Johnson's baby. Cafe Mom wonders if her birth control is playing havoc with her weight. E! Online points out that Simpson "simply puts on a few when she's in love."

The silver lining is that most stories about Simpson's weight are now accompanied by a quote about how she's made peace with her body. Us Magazine quotes the singer as saying, "We all obsess over looking like the perfect Barbie type, and that's not always what's beautiful." And E! quotes her words to Oprah Winfrey: "The fact I was famous last year for gaining 10 pounds is ridiculous and really sad."

It's clear that there's nothing Jessica Simpson can do to stop people from speculating about her weight -- but her refusal to buy into the self-hate has made her much harder to criticize. This time around, her curvy figure has its share of defenders as well as detractors. And Simpson deserves some credit for changing the conversation. Incidentally, we think the dress is a little too small -- but Simpson's confidence in her hourglass figure is just right.

Should Jessica Simpson's weight gain be news (again)? Chime in below!

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