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:
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.