Anna Faris is a beautiful and successful actress, but sadly she’s not immune to body-shaming. In the world of social media, it seems nobody is. After Faris posted a picture of herself in her underwear on Instagram in October 2018, she received a barrage of unwelcome comments. All of them were concerned with one thing: her weight. And sadly, she’s not the first celebrity to be the target of such abuse.
Faris came to public attention in 2000, appearing in the horror spoof Scary Movie. Roles in the Oscar-nominated Lost in Translation and the wildly popular sitcom Friends soon followed. Faris gradually made a name for herself as a talented comedienne, even drawing comparisons in the media to stars like Lucille Ball.
Faris’ marriage to Chris Pratt also became a talking point for the media. When she married Pratt in 2007, he hadn’t yet hit the big time as an actor. The pair settled down and had a son together, but then some well-chosen film roles catapulted Pratt into A-list stardom. When he and Faris announced their separation in 2017, some fans wondered if that change in circumstances had been the cause.
Others claimed that Pratt’s weight loss had driven a wedge between the pair. He had started his career playing “loveable slacker” roles, only to start working out when cast as the Marvel superhero Star-Lord. But in Pratt’s own words, Faris had preferred him as a “pet fat guy.” He told GQ in 2015, “I think that part of her is hedging her bets that one day I’ll be fat again.”
There might have been another side to the story, though. After the couple split, the website Radar Online published some tips from anonymous sources. One of them said Faris began losing weight as the couple swerved towards an inevitable divorce. Another said that her friends feared she was insecure and “frazzled.”
A few weeks before the couple’s divorce was finalized, Faris took to Instagram to post a photograph of herself. And indeed the separation wasn’t the only thing on her mind at the time. The snap was taken behind the scenes of her podcast Unqualified, and in it she was wearing just a long shirt, boots, and cycling shorts.
“Having pre-show jitters – so glad Michael Sherman captured it – also I eventually decided to put on pants,” Faris wrote as a caption to her Instagram photo. Sherman is her assistant on Unqualified. The picture seemed perfectly innocent, but soon an avalanche of comments about her body emerged.
Social media commenters said that Faris was too thin. So underweight, was the implication, that she looked like she was ill. “I feel this pic is a cry for help, I hope you get the help you need,” came one comment. While there were some positive messages, the majority were negative, with users claiming that Faris appeared “unhealthy” and that her condition was “alarming.”
Faris deleted the post a mere 15 minutes after publishing it, but the damage had already been done. Celebrity gossip website TMZ soon reported on the incident under the headline “Anna Faris Photo Triggers Body Shaming Onslaught.” And unfortunately, the comments at TMZ weren’t that much better than the ones she received on Instagram.
There were a lot of comments on Faris’ body. “That’s as unattractive a set of thighs as I’ve ever seen. I feel sorry for her, is she going down the Karen Carpenter road or what?” wrote one user. “[Faris] I am about to put a three meat self-rising crust pizza in the oven, if you want to drop by. Also, my ten-year-old boy has outgrown his nine-year old clothes, if you need a new wardrobe,” came another snide remark.
However, though Faris’ deletion of the picture was perfectly understandable, the star doesn’t seem to really care what size she is. In an interview with Women’s Health in April 2018, she discussed her weight when she was expecting. “When I was pregnant, I gained 70 pounds. I wish it was all in my belly, but it was on my arms, my thighs, my ass. I remember at the time thinking, ‘This is incredible,’” she told the magazine.
“I’d never enjoyed food more and I didn’t care. My vanity was completely tidal-waved by the need to just nourish this thing. Nothing was going to stop me,” Faris went on. “Finally, my doctor was like, ‘Okay, you’re, uh, gaining at a pretty rapid pace.’ Well, yeah! For the first time in a long time, I had absolutely zero concern about my weight. It felt really good.”
In the same Women’s Health interview, Faris talked about her decision to get breast augmentation. “I never, ever thought I’d do something like that. I always thought plastic surgery was caving in to ‘the man,’ you know? But it came down to a really simple thing: I wanted to fill out a bikini. What would that feel like? I’m still floored that I did it, because I am a staunch feminist,” she said.
Faris explained her thoughts on body-shaming, although she didn’t use the word. “I wish that we were more supportive of each other,” she continued to the magazine. “I think that people should be able to do whatever they want, whether it’s getting braces, bleaching their hair, getting extensions, getting a boob job, getting vaginal surgery, or getting a nose job.”
It’s a sad truth that body-shaming happens a lot to celebrities. When they’re in the public eye, people can often feel entitled to make comments about them. British actress Keira Knightley is another star who has fended off criticism for being “too thin.” In 2012 she told Allure magazine how it affected her. “I knew I wasn’t anorexic. But maybe my body is somehow not right. Or my face is not right.”
Knightley even sued the British Daily Mail in 2007 over comments the publication made about her body. At one point the newspaper article placed her picture in an article covering a death from anorexia, with the headline implying that Knightley was so thin she triggered the eating disorder in young girls. The actress won £3,000 in damages, and donated it all to charity.
Body-shaming people for being “fat” rather than “thin” can also be extremely vicious. Actress Gabourey Sidibe found herself on the receiving end of abuse after she starred in the movie Precious, and not even just on the internet. In 2010 Howard Stern called her the “most enormous, fat black chick I’ve ever seen” on his radio show. He added that she “should have [received] the Best Actress award because she’s never going to have another shot.”
“I was born to stand out. I don’t care whether or not people will find me attractive on screen,” Sidibe told Parade magazine in 2013. “That’s not why I became an actor. I know that more and more with each new role.” And other actresses, such as Amy Schumer, have responded with their own mockery to body-shaming comments.
Meanwhile, during the interview with Women’s Health, Anna Faris indicated there was a good reason why she’d lost weight. She was busy with motherhood and her career. “I run up and down stairs 30 or 40 times a day from the set to my dressing room, I’m doing this podcast, I’ve got a five-year-old,” she said. “I feel so busy, I don’t have a ton of time to indulge in foods I love.”
Faris is probably going to be busy for a while to come. She has a child to raise after all, and, according to recent media reports, is in a new relationship with Michael Barrett, a cinematographer. Unfortunately there will always be people who like to give unwanted weight advice. Hopefully the next time Faris posts a picture of herself in shorts she won’t be shamed into taking it down.