Actress Lily Collins is starring in a controversial new Netflix film this summer, To the Bone, in which she plays an anorexic woman attempting recovery at an eccentric rehabilitation center.
The 28-year-old woman lost weight to play the starring role, a role that is meaningful to her, as she struggled with an eating disorder for a number of years.
“I… knew this was something I needed to do to move forward as a human and an actress. I needed to let go,” she told People of the project.
Unfortunately, because our culture idealizes hyper-thin body types, someone actually complimented her on her weight loss for the role — weight loss that she felt was necessary to play the part to her best ability but certainly not weight loss she would have made otherwise.
“I was leaving my apartment one day and someone I’ve known for a long time, my mom’s age, said to me, ‘Oh, wow, look at you!'” Collins told The Edit. “I tried to explain [I had lost weight for a role] and she goes, ‘No! I want to know what you’re doing, you look great!’ I got into the car with my mom and said, ‘That is why the problem exists.'”
It’s definitely problematic that we live in a society that not only shames plus-size bodies, but actively praises stick-thin bodies, even when they are thin to the point of being unhealthy. A recent viral tweet proved that the public finds thin women who eat unhealthy diets sexy, while plus-size women who do so much as wear a swimsuit to the beach are deemed “unhealthy” and “gross.” It’s a despicable double standard, one that Collins’ anecdote highlights yet again: the thinner, the better.
To the Bone debuts on Netflix July 14.