*Warning: this piece may be triggering to those recovering or suffering from an eating disorder*
When the press was going after Kate Middleton’s weight loss in March, outlets like Jezebel called out the tabloids for obsessing over her body and sensationalizing something that wasn’t that bad. However, her weight loss appears to have kept going, and now I can’t believe outlets like Jezebel *aren’t* talking about it, and its implications for women and body image.
It is difficult and conflicting to discuss a public figure’s (specifically a woman) body without feeling like one is body snarking. So I will head up this post by saying: I KNOW I’m concern trolling a bit, I feel slightly terrible doing it, but other than worrying about Kate Middleton’s stress levels, I will not cast aspersions on her eating habits (even if others do).
But, I have to share that I experienced genuine shock and awe upon seeing photos of Kate Middleton last week (below). Where I feel I have some authority of some kind to have certain feelings about Kate’s figure is that we are the same height. I’m not used to seeing public figures, other than Supermodels, who share my height. It hits home with Kate because, though our bits and pieces may line up slightly differently, looking at her, I KNOW where she is right now, and I know it’s not right.
Kate Middleton, as we knew her previously, was probably on the low but healthy end for her height. I would speculate she weighed 135-ish (possibly 140), which is very small for 5 foot 10, but still considered OK in terms of BMI. She was beautiful (still is), and appeared to be healthy and fit. I assumed she had great body image because she didn’t starve herself down to some ridiculous size. She was tall and fit, with a pleasant shape.
Then came the engagement and wedding. There were many stories about Kate slimming down for the wedding, and, yes, she looked great on her wedding day. (though I would beg the question of why she or anyone else felt she “needed” to lose weight for her wedding day!) But whether it’s due to stress (likely) or a conscious decision to continue with her regime, the weight appears to have continued to come off.
For some context, I am 5 foot 10 and weigh 218 pounds. I am overweight but not huge (thanks ridiculous, date-busting height!), and if you want, you can see pictures here. At my thinnest, I was 160 pounds and a size ten. The lowest I would conceive of going is 145, and that is a stretch at my height. Better context: Supermodel Gisele is 5 foot 11 (one inch taller than Kate and I) and weighs 130 pounds. I throw out these numbers only to give context — when you’re this tall, what are “big scary numbers” to other women are NOT to you. 130 might be average to chubby (w/o toning and depending on diet) for someone 5 foot 2. 180 would be obese. But for someone 5 foot 10, 130 is THIN and 180 is a HEALTHY GOAL WEIGHT. Food for thought.
Add to that that now I’ve had the scary privilege of seeing an actress both on screen and off, and I can confirm that the camera DOES add ten pounds. So if you think someone looks sickly in a PHOTO, they are TERRIBLE in person. I’ve seen rib cages that I can’t unsee. Look at pictures of Kate and imagine she looks thinner in person.
Based on my best estimates, Kate is hovering around 120 lbs, at 5 foot 10. That’s ONE HUNDRED POUNDS less than I weigh, and we are the same height, and I’m a size 14. She’s thinner than a Supermodel. Can you imagine if I told you I was trying to lose 100 pounds? You’d recommend therapy! But because Kate started out thin and “dieted for the wedding” and is a pretty, pretty princess, few are questioning her new body. And I imagine girls are looking up to her and have cottoned on to the messaging, as well.
This is where I worry, and started to worry as soon as the wedding slim down started: Kate is a role-model, whether she likes it or not. And the message she’s communicating is that a Princess must be super thin and pretty, even if she was already thin, HEALTHY and pretty to begin with. Maybe it’s just stress and once she’s adjusted she’ll put the weight back on. But right now, she is scary skinny — and I know there are women out there who see her as a role model.
In fact, it’s been reported in several media outlets that Kate is now a “success story” in the pro-ana community. While this doesn’t mean Kate Middleton *has* an eating disorder, it does mean that those who *do* look up to her. Hell, I’d bet some members of the weight loss blogging community look up to her too — body dimorphism all around!
Here is a small gallery of photos of Kate BEFORE (with some comparison shots). She was svelte, but NOT scary skinny. Oh, what a difference 15 pounds makes on a tall girl…
What do you think about Kate’s recent photos? Am I imagining things?