Crystal Renn‘s body has spurred many a debate, and her newest look—bleach-blonde and slim—on the cover of Schön! magazine is no exception: Many are saying that she doesn’t look at all like the plus-sized model who rose to fame, and some have said that plus-sized women feel betrayed by her “startling slimdown.” But does it matter if Crystal Renn is plus-sized or not? If you ask us, what matters most about her weight is how everyone chooses to react.
Renn, who struggled with eating disorders and body image issues for several years in the beginning of her modeling career, has said herself that the biggest pressure surrounding her body today come from the media and the public. In an interview posted to her agency’s blog, she explained:
I think that by placing a title on my head, which is ‘plus-size,’ and then the picture that these people have created in their mind about what plus-size actually is, I’ve basically failed you just with that. Because I couldn’t possibly live up to that, and at this point in my life, I would have to actually have another eating disorder to live up to that expectation.
Marsha Hudnall, a registered dietician and owner of women’s health retreat in Vermont, told Shape pretty much the same thing:
Society wants Crystal to fit in a ‘box’ neatly on either end of the scale — extremely thin or plus-size. Now that she doesn’t fit into one of these boxes, it almost seems that people are questioning her honesty.
Hudnall also explained that this kind of obsession over her weight is unhealthy not just for Renn, but for the women who get caught up in tracking her body, and other celebrities’.
In an interview with RadarOnline.com, PLUS Model Magazine Editor-in-Chief Madeline Jones described some of the harsh judgement that’s been placed on Renn’s weight. Specifically, she says that many Plus-sized models take issue with the explanations that Renn’s given for her recent weight loss:
“You don’t lose that much weight doing yoga and hiking! You have to put a lot of effort to go from a 14 to a size 6,” she told RadarOnline.com. “We’re not that stupid, we know how hard it is to lose weight and she insulted our intelligence.”
Radar also quoted Jones as saying that Pus-sized models feel “betrayed” and “insulted” by Renn’s weight loss, but Jones has since claimed she was misquoted in the article.
Crystal Renn’s weight seems to matter to people who aren’t Crystal Renn mostly because we want to validate ourselves through the way she looks. Which isn’t a sustainable way to feel good about your body, whether she looks fat or skinny. Because if Renn has taught us anything, it’s that bodies change; whether it’s because of weight loss, weight gain, age, or even pregnancy—no one gets to keep the same body for life. And getting mad (or gloating) when celebrities’ bodies change isn’t going to make us feel any better about the process.
This doesn’t change the fact that there’s a serious dearth of diversity in women represented by the media. But that’s not Crystal Renn’s cross to bear. She’s only one model, and even in the worst scenario—that she’s backslid into disordered eating and is losing weight in unhealthy ways—her health is her own business, but demanding media representation that doesn’t encourage such behavior is, ultimately, ours.