Beanie Feldstein has a special request for fans, friends, journalists, family members, or anyone else she happens to meet: don’t tell her how great she looks after losing some weight.
“Everyone keeps commenting on something that I haven’t thought about in years: my body,” the breakout star of new film “Lady Bird” writes in an essay for Refinery29.
“Recently, I have heard a lot of: ‘Beanie, you look amazing. You’re half your size!’ ‘Bean, you’re tiny! No seriously, you are tiny!’ Friends, family… everyone is talking about it. Even my therapist chimed in: ‘I would never have known it was you! You’re disappearing!'” writes the actress, who is indeed noticeably thinner than when she appeared on red carpets last year for her role in “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising”.
Currently appearing in Broadway in the hit revival of “Hello, Dolly!”, Feldstein explains that the rigors of singing and dancing for several hours per night have no doubt responsible led her to shed some weight — but she wishes it wasn’t the only thing anyone talks to her about.
“Throughout my childhood and adolescence, I really struggled with my weight,” she writes. “My family, doctors, and society at large were constantly telling me that I was too heavy, that I needed to exercise more, that I should be smaller. I was pushed into trying Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig… and I absolutely hated it. It affected me deeply.”
She continues: “I despised trying to lose weight and I resented everyone that made me feel like I had to. Finally after years of turmoil (just thinking about shopping for my bat mitzvah dress still gives me hives), something started to change. As I approached the end of high school, I felt the expectations fall away. I stopped trying to eat and look the way everyone else wanted me to. It took time and it happened gradually, but by the time I started college I felt truly comfortable with my body.”
It wasn’t until she returned home to Los Angeles for Thanksgiving that she became irked that her body became the “only topic of conversation.”
“I have to be honest: It really messed with my head. After years of pain, I had finally found such a beautiful peace, one that most people, no matter what size they are, don’t have. And all of those ‘compliments’ took that away from me. After years of finally not feeling judged by myself or others, all of a sudden I felt so seen,” she admits.
“So here’s my simple request: Please stop complimenting me! A person’s body changing is simply not clearance for you to talk about it. I know that nothing will truly change until we as a society are able to unravel the ingrained notion that thinness is ideal. However, I do hope that on a more interpersonal level, we can attempt to stop commenting on each other’s bodies,” she adds.
“I am determined to find my way back to the peace I used to feel and I could use your help,” Feldstein concludes. “If you to be loving and supportive, stop talking to me about my body. Because honestly, it would just really help a girl out if you’d stop telling me I look skinnier!”