In 2003, when Kate Winslet spoke out about British GQ’s extreme airbrushing of her body for the cover photo, women around the globe cheered and swooned. “The retouching is excessive,” she said. “I do not look like that and more importantly I don’t desire to look like that.”
In 2007, she successfully sued a British magazine which had incorrectly stated she had visited a diet doctor.
The Titanic star is now back in body image news, having just won more than $40,000 in libel damages from the Daily Mail, which falsely reported she had lied about her exercise regime earlier this year. The original story, entitled “Should Kate Winslet win an Oscar for the world's most irritating actress?", was accompanied by naked photos of the actress. The story is now nowhere to be found, but I’m assuming it was saying something to the effect of, “Look at how beautiful and thin and toned Winslet it – there’s no way she doesn’t diet and workout and obsess over calories.” (If you read the original story, please verify or correct!)
In a statement, Winslet said she was "delighted" by the Daily Mail’s apology for “any distress caused” by their false allegations. "I was particularly upset to be accused of lying about my exercise regime and felt that I had a responsibility to request an apology in order to demonstrate my commitment to the views that I have always expressed about body issues, including diet and exercise. I strongly believe that women should be encouraged to accept themselves as they are, so to suggest that I was lying was an unacceptable accusation of hypocrisy."
We should all send Kate a giant, mass-signed “THANK YOU!” card right now. Celebs are not always so quick to point out their flaws. No one is. I mean, yes it seems many of us respond to compliments about our hair or dress with a knee-jerk, “Oh my God, please, I haven’t showered in three days!” or “Thanks, I got these jeans for $7 at Marshall’s,” but if our pic was plastered on the cover of a magazine with circulations in the millions, who among us would be brave enough to hold a press conference and say, “Listen, I know I look hot in this photograph but you really should see the cellulite on my thighs and the puberty stretch marks on my breasts.” We all want to look good.
But Winslet looked beyond the immediate gratification of having a superbly lit, figure-enhancing photograph (with GQ). And with this more recent story, she stood up for her beliefs and fought back to prove to her fans and nonfans alike that she’s no hypocrite, that she practices what she preaches, and for her, that means she doesn’t work out all the time and she doesn’t constantly obsess over what she puts in her mouth. Her lawsuit win is a veritable class-action win for all of us. I hope she takes some of that $40,000 and buys herself a big, fat ice cream cone with it.