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Kate Winslet opens up about body shaming during ‘Titanic’

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Ahead of the 25th anniversary of “Titanic,” Kate Winslet has opened up about how she was treated by the public and media early in her career.

Winslet played the protagonist Rose, an upper-class woman who falls in love with Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio), marking the actress’ mainstream fame. But her success came with criticism over her body. On the “Happy Chat Confused” podcast, Winslet spoke to host Josh Horowitz about the “bad” body shaming she’s experienced in interviews and in the media.

“Obviously, I was too fat,” says Winslet, explaining why DiCaprio’s character didn’t join Rose during the infamous floating door scene, to all people. “What a pity? Why did they treat me so mean? They were so mean. I’m not even fat.”

Of course, body shaming is never acceptable, no matter what one’s weight is. At its core, body shaming is shaming, mocking, or criticizing one’s body—it can happen to anyone, for any physical trait, but it usually involves downplaying one’s body size (aka weight bias).

Hollywood is known for prioritizing thinner actresses for leading roles — especially as romantic interests — and many actresses have come forward to say they were asked to lose weight or diet for roles.

In that interview, Winslet continued, “If I could turn back the clock, I would have used my voice in a completely different way. . . . I would have told the press, I would have replied, ‘Don’t you dare treat me like this. I’m a young woman, my body is changing, and I’m figuring it out.’ Come on, I’m deeply insecure, I’m afraid, don’t make this any harder than it already is.’ That’s bullying, you know, really borderline abuse, I would say.”

As Winslet suggests, shutting down comments (negative or not) about your body or others is a great way to bounce back from body shaming. Setting boundaries around food or body language can also be helpful in these situations.

Image credit: Getty / Sameer Hussain

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