Jennifer Lawrence: 'It should be illegal to call someone fat on TV'

The actress has gone one step further in her quest to hold the media more accountable for its role in portraying positive body images

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The Independent Online

Jennifer Lawrence has been vocal about her refusal to lose weight for roles in the past.

Indeed, by Hollywood’s often mal-nourished standards, she, by her own admission, is frequently considered “fat” by executives, and has encountered bullying during her own career because of that.

But the actress has gone one step further in her quest to hold the media more accountable for its role in portraying positive body images to young women.

"I just think it should be illegal to call somebody fat on TV," she said.

"Because why is humiliating people funny."

The Hunger Games star made the comments during an interview for an upcoming ABC News special Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2013.

"I get it, and, and I do it too, we all do it," she continued. "But I think when it comes to the media, the media needs to take responsibility for the effect that it has on our younger generation, on these girls who are watching these television shows, and picking up how to talk and how to be cool, so then all of a sudden being funny is making fun of the girl who's wearing an ugly dress.

"I mean, if we’re regulating cigarettes and sex and cuss words, because of the effect they have on our younger generation, why aren’t we regulating things like calling people fat?"

However Susan Ringwood, the Chief Executive of UK Eating disorder awareness charity Beat, told the Independent that they didn't support the banning of words "just because they could upset someone".

But they are "in favour of encouraging everyone to think twice before they make hurtful remark". 

"Being called fat isn’t kind," Ringwood continues. "It can be loaded with meaning that’s a shorthand for ugly, lazy and not taking care of yourself. We know that people who are teased about being fat can be at risk starting an unhealthy, even dangerous diet, and all eating disorders start with a diet”

Lawrence's comments come after the actress clashed with Joan Rivers over her criticism of the comedienne’s E! show Fashion Police.

"There are shows like the Fashion Police that are just showing these generations of young people to judge people based on all the wrong values and that it's OK to point at people and call them ugly or fat," Lawrence said as she promoted The Hunger Games: Catching Fire earlier this season. "We have to stop treating each other like that and stop calling each other fat."

Rivers hit back, tweeting: "WAIT! It just dawned on me why Jennifer Lawrence fell on her way up to the stage to get her Oscar. She tripped over her own arrogance."

Lawrence also admitted that she wanted her character Katniss Everdeen to have a more realistic figure in order to set a better example to young women.

"When we were doing the first The Hunger Games, it was a big discussion, 'cause it's called The Hunger Games - she's from District 12, she's obviously underfed, so she would be incredibly thin. But, I just kept saying, 'We have the ability to control this image that young girls are going to be seeing.'

"Girls see enough of this body that we can't imitate, that we'll never be able to obtain, these unrealistic expectations, and this is gonna be their hero, and we have control over that."

Lawrence won the Oscar for Best Actress in 2013 for her role opposite Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook. She will soon hit the big screen with Cooper once more in American Hustle, out in cinemas across the UK on 20 December.