Images of actress Calu Rivero are making waves on social media due to her emaciated appearance. The photos, which can be seen here, were taken for the publication Las Rosas and feature the actress laying on the ground and exposing her midriff and extremely prominent rib cage.
Rivero first got heat from Argentine television personality Tamara Pettinato who tweeted that, “They sell this as healthy and cute. They are irresponsible and this girl is a moron.” Rivero defended herself and the photos, explaining on FM One’s “The Morning Time” that, “I understand that it is a very fashionable photo, and the pose creates an aesthetic that is not pretty.” But that people have spoken “without knowing.” She went on to explain that she is a vegan and just ran the Nike half marathon.
According to the Association for the Fight Against Bulimia and Anorexia (ALUBA) one in 10 Argentines suffers from an eating disorder and one in 30 has gone under the knife for plastic surgery. According too a 2005 Buenos Aires Province legal stipulation, clothing stores must carry sizes up to 48 (US size 18), but this is rarely complied with. Dr. Mabel Bello, the director of ALUBA, has said that “Argentina has the second highest rate of eating disorders in the world… and 95 percent of its women believe they are fat.” This photo and the controversy surrounding whether its subject is anorexic surely will only contribute to the prevalence of such beliefs.
Calu Rivero’ reasons for her body shape should not be the focus of reporting, but rather why these questions are even being asked of her. “Fat” or “thin,” there is no Goldilocks weight that famous women and average women alike should maintain to not be considered “too fat” or “too thin.” This problem is not an Argentine problem, it is a problem that pervades the media worldwide. In fact, photos like Rivero’s — featuring women thrusting out their rib cages — are all too common and can be seen in prominent fashion campaigns like Victoria’s Secret. In this sense, Rivero is not wrong when she says that the photos are meant to be “very fashionable.” They are very fashionable. And very fashionable means retouched photos that hold up cultural norms that indicate that beauty can be narrowly defined and that beauty equates worth and that this worth is completely unachievable.
Fixating our attention on Rivero, attacking her and calling her a “moron” really don’t serve much of a purpose if the goal is to stop judging women on their physical appearance as much as we do.