Filling out a resume is hard for all young adults. Filling out a headshot and a resume are pretty similar, except that many headshots have some extra information that you need to put on it. One of these things, is how much you weigh.
Here’s my problem with that.
I get it, a lot of theater is based off physical appearance. We are the product we are selling, and I understand that. My problem with it is more that why is my weight important? I get height, hair colour, etc, but why my weight?
First of all, weight is a completely outdated measurement of the body. A person's weight is very dependent on outstanding factors, such as how much they have eaten, what time of day it is, diet, and even the clothes the person is wearing. Genetics also play a large role in determining one’s weight. I happen to be tall and on the leaner side because I take very much after my Dad, whereas my sister is shorter and stockier than me since she takes after my Mom.
So not only is weight a completely irrelevant form of measurement, it also shouldn’t matter. The bigger issue here is the fact that the theater is still stuck in this mindset of having certain body types and if you don’t meet that expectation, then you will never be the star.
We see it all the time, even in media. If the lead is a female role, then she is generally a skinny girl. The comedic roles are those that have a more curvy figure. Even male roles, the lead body type always seems to be tall and fit. The question is why? Why is this the case?
These stereotypes are incredibly harmful to those in the theatre world. We as actors are already incredibly conscious of our bodies. If you want to be a good actor, you have to be in tune with your body. Throw in the weight factor in a society that already sets unrealistic body expectations and you have a recipe for mental illness.
I personally, like so many others, have struggled with my body image. Society bombards us with ‘ideal’ body types that are impossible to reach, unless you have developed an eating disorder, which many men, women, and nonbinary people go through.
Think about it, if body image and stuff affect everyone, how much more is it going to affect people in an industry that the body is an important aspect of it?
I’m not saying that this can change overnight. It can’t. These unhealthy ideals are incredibly ingrained into our society and way of thinking. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t start the change. We are the new generation of artists and thinkers. It’s time that we take that responsibility and use it to try and make strides forewards not only for ourselves, but also for those of future generations.