Comedian Whitney Cummings On Body Image: “Perfection Is Bulls**t!”

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We know, Whit, we know. Yet somehow women are still expected to live up to these unrealistic ideals of “perfection” and then we wonder why there are so many girls with eating disorders, body dysmorphia, low self-esteem and depression.

Whitney Cummings is known for her laid back approach at dropping comedy bombs with epic facial expressions, whether it be in her string of TV show appearances or stand-up specials. In short, she is a badass who has essentially conquered the world of show biz and is our hero. We bow down.

But like every celebrity and person who lives under the glare of the media spotlight, there are often many things we don’t know about them behind closed doors. In an interview with the Today show to promote her all-female stand-up series called Lipschtick in Las Vegas, instead of just generously dishing out her stellar one-liners, she actually got candid about her personal struggles with body image.

“I always thought I had to be really thin in Hollywood. When you’re in LA, you’re around all these people that are so skinny. It didn’t occur to me that I was allowed to deviate from a standard of beauty that is in magazines and really everywhere,” she says about being part of an industry that puts excess pressure on women to look a certain way.

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It didn’t just start when she arrived in Hollywood, but said her body issues in her teens were manifested more in Tinseltown.

“I think a lot of girls pretend they don’t work out and pretend they eat whatever they want. I am really honest about what I do. I had, what I can honestly say now, is like an eating disorder in my 20s. I was so thin, I worked out all the time, and I had no real relationship with my body. It was a very adversarial relationship,” she admitted.

She forced a restrictive diet on herself but then one day realized that was not going to make her happy.

“Then I started to work on myself by going to therapy and working on my self-esteem. Then I realized that I didn’t need to be a size 2 — who am I doing this for? Guys don’t even like this, I am not doing this for guys. Men are into Kim Kardashian and Nicki Minaj, they like some ass,” she said.

After going through what she did, she realized she was in a prime position to send a positive message to all the young women who follow her about their own body image.

“I think a lot of it had to do with the standard of beauty and the pressure of perfectionism that I developed. I started to feel guilty because I felt like I was a bad role model. I do have a job where a lot of young girls see me. It was two things — I wanted to be healthier and happier, but I also want to be a good role model,” she said.

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She is definitely a naturally thin woman, but says how shocked she is to think of what her body was like before and why she doesn’t want to waste time on that anymore.

“Here’s the funny thing, I’m still thin. Which means I was way too thin before. I still eat healthy and take really good care of myself, I just look and feel better. I don’t want to be on my death bed looking back and remembering that I spent three hours of every day thinking about food and working out. Life is just too short,” she said. Amen to that!

Although it shouldn’t be a shock to hear that the pressure Hollywood and the media places on women to look a certain way affects celebrities, it still is because especially comedians are usually the breed of people who seem to be able to transcend standards with their jokes and commentary on how ridiculous pop culture can be.

Yet body image issues and eating disorders are no joke. Across the US 20 million women and 10 million men are said to suffer with some form of a significant eating disorder at some point in their life. Anorexia is the number one killer out of all mental illnesses, and some studies say the desire for a “perfect” body image starts as young as 1st grade for some girls.

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It’s crazy to think how ingrained the idea of being “perfect” or beautiful becomes in our lives today. But it is important that we speak publicly and often about the effects of body image and eating disorders in order to break down stigma and create more awareness.

This is something many people who have suffered with can identify, including Whitney.

“It’s really hard to talk about, and I felt a lot of shame about it. I think women don’t want to admit to any weakness or flaws, we all just want to be naturally perfect. But perfection is bullsh*t,” she said.

Knowing that her message will reach the ears of an impressionable fan whose life may be altered because of her admission is a big deal to her.

“I want to be honest and truthful about my past and what I wished I would have done different. And I want to share my triumph, I came out the other side and now I love my body more than ever.”

Bravo Whitney! Here’s to more women AND men eliminating shame and fear from the conversation around body image by choosing to speak up anyway.

You can watch the full interview, complete with all the funny bits, below:

 

 

 

 

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