Les Miserables is coming to theaters this holiday season and every magazine on Earth has been blitzkreiged with the tale of how Anne Hathaway lost 25 lb.s for the role of Fantine, a destitute prostitute during the French Revolution.
A diet of dried oatmeal paste — only two thin squares a day — helped the already waiflike actress drop to an appropriately starving-French-whore size. Hathaway survived off 500 calories a day (roughly one-third of what a woman her age should eat) for the role, she told Vogue. In January's Glamour, we get more details on her crash diet: she lost 10 lb.s. before filming began and another 15 lb.s during filming. She called her plummeting weight drop "nuts," "obsessive" and "a break with reality."
Crash dieting may be business as usual in the entertainment business, but in the real world it's as unsucessful as it is dangerous. Why are we supposed to care again, that an actress nearly starved herself for our entertainment? Are we supposed to admire Anne Hathaway for this (as opposed to, say, her considerable talent as an actress and singer)? She also joked that she survived off "kale and dust" while training for the Catwoman role in The Dark Knight Returns. The attention to her starvation strikes me as a particularly gross kind of rubbernecking that would only happen in the most wealthy country in the world where children still go to bed at night hungry. Honestly, we should call Hathaway's crash diets "thinspo" — thin inspiration, beloved by anorexics and bulimics the world over — because that's what it is.
I'm not trying to bash Anne Hathaway personally: she's a vocal feminist in Hollywood and I think she genuinely understands dropping 25 lb.s realy is "nuts." But I don't think that she or other Les Miserables promotional machine should keep talking about oatmeal paste unless using the words "insane" and "unhealthy."
(In other news, it's almost hard to imagine Hathaway lost 25 lb.s. and it had nothing to do with Rachel Zoe, right?)
Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.