Renée Zellweger is known for her role as the hapless Bridget Jones, but maybe she should consider playing someone more inspirational in the years to come. Maybe a combo of Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights — she is from Texas — and Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich?
Zellweger proved her knack for such a gig in a new essay titled “We Can Do Better,” published for the Huffington Post, which calls for people to discuss more real news and less fluff. The star of the upcoming Bridget Jones’s Baby began by explaining that she felt compelled to write the piece not because of the speculation over the last two years about whether or not she’s altered her appearance — such as a tabloid’s October 2014 claim that she’d had surgery — but because of the effect those kinds of rumors have on society.
“The ‘eye surgery’ tabloid story itself did not matter, but it became the catalyst for my inclusion in subsequent legitimate news stories about self-acceptance and women succumbing to social pressure to look and age a certain way,” she writes. “In my opinion, that tabloid speculations become the subject of mainstream news reporting does matter.”
Zellweger adds that the story was false.
“Not that it’s anyone’s business, but I did not make a decision to alter my face and have surgery on my eyes,” she says.
However, the Oscar winner doesn’t like the message those rumors are sending to young women, as part of the negative conversation that women hear every day.
“Too skinny, too fat, showing age, better as a brunette, cellulite thighs, facelift scandal, going bald, fat belly or bump? Ugly shoes, ugly feet, ugly smile, ugly hands, ugly dress, ugly laugh; headline material which emphasizes the implied variables meant to determine a person’s worth, and serve as parameters around a very narrow suggested margin within which every one of us must exist in order to be considered socially acceptable and professionally valuable, and to avoid painful ridicule,” Zellweger writes.
And so, Zellweger wants to change the conversation to something that’s truly important.
“Maybe,” she continues, “we could talk more about why we seem to collectively share an appetite for witnessing people diminished and humiliated with attacks on appearance and character and how it impacts younger generations and struggles for equality, and about how legitimate news media have become vulnerable to news/entertainment ambiguity, which dangerously paves the way for worse fictions to flood the public consciousness to much greater consequence. Maybe we could talk more about our many true societal challenges and how we can do better.”
Parts of the Chicago star’s essay sound similar to the one fellow celeb Jennifer Aniston wrote for the same publication last month. In a post addressing persistent rumors that she is pregnant, Aniston also cited the message being sent to young girls about women and their bodies. Like Zellweger, Aniston asked readers to do better, but in a more blunt way.
“We get to decide how much we buy into what’s being served up, and maybe some day the tabloids will be forced to see the world through a different, more humanized lens because consumers have just stopped buying the bulls***,” she wrote.