Will Kristen Stewart’s Skinny Body In Breaking Dawn Provide Even More Pro-Thinspiration Encouragement To Young Women?

At the Breaking Dawn, Part 1 midnight screening, I had a bizarre experience. I’ve been so used to the preteen girls in the audience screaming over Taylor Lautner‘s abs or Robert Pattinson‘s declarations of love that I was taken aback to instead hear the girls behind me give a running commentary on Kristen Stewart‘s skinny body throughout the movie.

And you get to see plenty in Breaking Dawn, as Bella wears that formfitting, nearly-backless wedding gown; strips down on her wedding night; and wanders around Rio in lingerie and barely-there bikinis.

And that’s all before she gets knocked up with fast-growing vampire sperm that sucks all of her energy. Kristen spends the second half of the movie wasting away until she resembles a starving orphan in Africa: Bug eyes, gaunt cheeks, spindly limbs, and swollen belly. [tagbox tag= "Breaking Dawn"]

Around the time where her body can barely hold on, I heard one of the girls behind me whisper, “Thinspiration…” in a pitying sort of way. Like, she understood that there are people out there who would find Kristen’s dead eyes and jutting clavicle aspirational instead of horrific.

Director Bill Condon explained that to get that drastic transformation, the filmmakers teamed up with Lola Visual Effects, the same company who brought us the disturbingly pint-sized Chris Evans in Captain America. Kristen spent three hours in the makeup chair getting prosthetics to make her eyes appear sunken and her ears bigger; then the makeup artists did their work to make her look pale and gaunt.

It’s difficult for me to call the producers irresponsible for portraying Kristen as so wasted away; as with all media, it’s ultimately the consumer’s responsibility to mediate his/her reactions. However, one quote from the article did strike me as objectionable. Condon said, ”The idea was to leave you with a question mark about how they did it. We wanted you to think it was possible that Kristen actually lost a lot of weight for it.”

That’s not a message you want to be sending to young viewers who already worship Kristen and Bella Swan. A quick Google search shows that she’s prime thinspo material on dozens of sites. (Especially LiveJournal, which is where all the thinspo communities are hiding.) Photos of her in movies like Into the Wild and Adventureland are coupled with paparazzi shots, though it should be noted that several of those have been stretched to make her appear even thinner.

Thankfully it looks like faux-pregnant Kristen hasn’t been tapped as thinspo for many sites, but there are users on Tumblr talking about her appearance from both sides of the fence. One girl observed,

How skinny did Kristen Stewart/Bella get when she became pregnant!? I know that it was special effects, but it made her look like some kind of extreme thinspo model…but with a massive baby bump ahah o.O too. weird. lol

On the page tagged “skinny,” one girl wrote this sad, single-minded reaction to the movie:

Breaking Dawn.

All I could focus on was how skinny Kristen Stewart was. And how much I wanted to be skin and bones.

And this is only going to get worse in Breaking Dawn, Part 2 when (spoiler) Bella is a gorgeous, clear-skinned vampire, and even more unattainably beautiful.

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      • Louis

        this is spam

    • Sunny

      If someone is vying to be like Kristen Stewart in this movie, there is already a problem. She looks like she is starving (which is the point) but for someone to be that thin is just scary.

    • daria

      if you talk about thinspiration then watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQKdY_Vx6DQ

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    • Jennifer Kerr

      I think you’re missing the point of her being so thin. In the movie, she’s starving to death, Edward is catching glimpses of her in the mirror and is horrified. Carlisle is telling her she’s going to die and her heart is going to give out. Jacob is telling her she looks horrible. NOTHING about what is happening to her is glamorous, sexy or desirable and at the end, when she becomes a vampire (which, visually, is seen as becoming “inhumanly” beautiful just like the Cullens) she *FILLS OUT* thereby equating having a full healthy body with being sexy/beautiful. If anything, this is sending the RIGHT message to today’s youth regarding being overly thin.

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    • really

      Seriously? The point of the character’s severe weight loss was to show how UNHEALTHY she was from the pregnancy (unlike normal pregnancy where you actually put on an extra layer of protective fat). It was not to glamorize and exaggerate Kristen Stewart’s petite frame in a positive manner. True, the media often portrays skinny/underweight women as beautiful, and there will surely be a few misguided fans who choose to view it as ‘thinspiration’. But that is not at all what the writer intended. Bella’s extreme thinness captured the strain under which this issue put her fragile human body. And the reason the filmmakers wanted it to look as though the actress could have actually lost all that weight was NOT to encourage fans to do the same, but rather, so her condition could be believable and heart-wrenching. The author of this article clearly doesn’t even understand the plot and totally missed the point.

    • Jo

      what happened to the female gaze in twilight. Did that all get lost? No more female gaze and more male gazing at kirsten stewart from male directors. Is that what twilight has become? Another way for us to berate ourselves for not being good enough? The series started so well, a refreshing change, able to watch a film without feeling the pressure of having to measure up. Now its back to focusing on the woman’s looks again. bleh

    • Disgusted

      ‘sad, single minded reaction’ The girl who posted that clearly has an eating disorder, what am AFWUL choice of words on the part of whoever wrote this.

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