As in the rest of the world, there exists a double standard in Hollywood regarding beauty ideals. At the turn of the nineteenth century, Lillian Russell, who weighed over 200 pounds, was the reigning sex symbol. However, today a woman of that size is considered unattractive and obese. These categories are not mutually exclusive or inclusive for that matter. Today, men in Hollywood who are by the common standard considered obese are still regarded as sexy. Men like John Goodman (1952-), John Candy (1950-94), and other large male celebrities have been able to maintain roles—as love interests no less—despite their weight. For instance, in the i990s, People Magazine rated Goodman as one of the "sexiest men alive" (Sharma 1996). Writer Dana Gioia observed, "Funny is okay, but what does it say about our culture that at a time when the average American has never been heavier the only part an overweight actor can play is a clown?" (Gioia 1999).
Was this article helpful?