Who didn't notice singer Taylor Swift looking drop-dead gorgeous at Sunday's Golden Globe awards?
But if you read enough media coverage, Swift, 23, wasn't there because she was nominated for Best Original Sound for her song "Safe and Sound" on The Hunger Games soundtrack. Nor was she earning any real fashion cred for her wine-colored Donna Karan Atelier gown and soft updo.
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Nope, Swift's relevance to the evening was a big, fat "Fashion Eff You" to her ex-boyfriend, One Direction star 18 year-old Harry Styles. As the Daily Mail put it, "Taylor Swift proved that sometimes, revenge is a dish best served hot." A Lucky magazine blogger dubbed her outfit "Best Revenge Dress EVER!" and IMDB headlined a story, "Taylor Swift Stuns in Revenge Dress."
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The "revenge look" is a classic trope. Each time a celebrity ends a relationship, be it on her own terms or not, we hear about her launching a frenzied makeover, diet, or workout plan to become as hot as possible, presumably before her ex moves on. When Amy Poehler split from husband Will Arnett in September 2012, Cosmo noted that Poehler's plunging neckline at the Emmy Awards was her way of taunting, "Will who?" Fresh off the heels of her breakup from Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Tony Romo, OK magazine printed that Jessica Simpson, no stranger to weight-related scrutiny, launched a "revenge diet" and ran a photo of her power walking furiously. It didn't look like Katie Holmes and Katy Perry even lost weight after divorcing their respective husbands Tom Cruise and Russell Brand, but that didn't stop Hollywood Life from pitting them against each other in a twisted "revenge body competition." Ugh.
To be clear: Exercising and eating right after a breakup is a perfectly normal reaction to heartbreak. When people fall in love the brain is flooded with dopamine and oxytocin, hormones that create euphoric and secure emotions. When the relationship ends, those hormones dissipate and the body experiences a flood of costisol, which creates feelings of stress. And eating healthy foods and exercising can make people feel better. But if one is too depressed to eat and as a result, drops a ton of weight? Well, as anyone who's experienced heartbreak can attest, that happens a lot too. And it's hardly news.
Plus, these are celebrities. Their job is to look good 24/7. In fact their entire careers are dependent on their ability to get onto "Best dressed" lists and score magazine covers. That includes when they're taking their dogs for a walk or posing on the red carpet. And when a celebrity is most vulnerable post-break up, the least we can do is cut her a break from body scrutiny. After all, have we read even one story about Britney Spears' ex-fiance Jason Trawick's "revenge scruffy beard" or Bethany Frankel's soon-to-be ex husband Jason Hoppy's "revenge suit and ties"?
Right. So let's end all this revenge nonsense. Because it comes to getting the last laugh, wearing a cute outfit or going to the gym isn't revenge. But moving on with your life is.
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