Why Amanda Seyfried’s Message to Arielle Charnas Missed the Mark about Body Positivity
The actress and her friend missed the point with their reply.
Body positivity is a super trendy movement, one lots of celebrities rightfully support. But as a recent social media spat between a major actress and a popular influencer reveals, some A-listers aren't body positive and are still okay with body shaming.
Here's what you need to know: Earlier this week, Instagram influencer Arielle Charnas shared a mirror selfie while wearing a bikini. The shot shows off her flat, toned stomach, and the caption reads, “Proud of my body after two kids.”
Amanda Seyfried caught wind of this post after an unnamed friend left a comment on it. The actress and model shared a screenshot of the friend’s comment on her Instagram feed, with a lengthy caption explaining how a “semi-influencer” (assumed to be Charnas) had blocked both Seyfried and her friend. Seyfried wrote that she was upset because by blocking them, this influencer wouldn’t engage in conversation.
The friend's post lit into Charnas for showing off her post-baby body—and her privilege. “Totally fine that you’re privileged and thin, good for you (I am too-ish!) Got no problem with either of those things,” Seyfried’s friend wrote. “BUT if you don’t acknowledge how your wealth made your workouts/body possible, you’re just perpetuating the patriarchal (totally unrealistic) notion that mothers should 'bounce back' after childbirth, an impossibility for anyone who can’t afford ample childcare (which is almost everyone in this country).”
“You are glorifying an unhealthy body image (I don’t care if it’s 'natural' don’t even try that shit with me) in a society that already fetishizes the adolescent female form,” the friend added. “Young girls don’t need any more images of emaciated women thank you very much.”
Seyfried added her own message in her caption, voicing her frustration with Charnas's choice to block the women on Instagram.
"If we’re ready to get paid for flaunting our lifestyle (and inspiring some in the meantime) we have to be open to the discussions surrounding what we’re promoting," Seyfried wrote. "We have to back ourselves up—not run away from the issues it presents. There are gray areas everywhere."
Needless to say, this situation is messy. Seyfried didn't body shame Charnas—but her regram of the post with her friend's nasty comments comes off like a silent endorsement of that body criticism. Seyfried’s commenters were divided: A few supported the actress’ message, while others reprimanded her for shaming the influencer.
Here's our take. On one hand, Charnas appears to be a woman of wealth and influence. As a public figure (the owner of lifestyle brand Something Navy), we can infer through her social media posts that Charnas has the resources to dedicate her time and money to enjoy a regular fitness routine, something most moms don't have.
But despite Charnas’s postpartum physique, Seyfried's regram of her friend's comments is a firsthand example of the hypocrisy within the body positive movement. Body positive influencers tend to be women whose bodies don’t resemble the thin, fit "standard." But the movement toward body acceptance can't grow if we don’t support every type of body—thin and fit bodies included.
While Amanda’s caption may have focused on Charnas's choice to block the women, the screenshot she posted clearly shames a woman who is proud of her body, and Seyfried is endorsing that sentiment.
At Health, we're all about the acceptance of every size and shape, and not calling out body shaming of any kind sets the movement back.
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