Lili Reinhart defends Riverdale after show is called out for portraying "unrealistic" bodies
10 February 2020, 15:56 | Updated: 10 February 2020, 16:19
"Why is every single person on Riverdale a 25+ year old portraying teenager with perfectly chiseled bodies?"
Lili Reinhart is not here for comments on the Riverdale cast's bodies. The Riverdale actress, who plays Betty Cooper on The CW show, clapped back at a tweet that said Riverdale perpetuates "unrealistic body expectations".
Now, Lili often speaks openly about body image and acceptance, having experienced her own struggles with low self-esteem and body dysmorphia. In a 2018 interview with Harper's Bazaar, Lili said she admired actress Marilyn Monroe because she's a "curvy girl". She said: "To me that’s really inspiring and makes me feel like my body can be accepted."
She added: "I'm not that flawless image person. I could never live up to that. I'm not going to make people think I'm this airbrushed version of myself. There are lots of versions of me. My hair looks like shit most of the time. It looks great when I'm on a carpet, sure, but that's not the only side I want people to see of myself."
In a tweet, that has been deleted, a fan asked Lili: "@lilireinhart just curious. Why is every single person on Riverdale a 25+ year old portraying teenager with perfectly chiseled bodies? Don't you think TV shows like this aimed at teenagers are contributing to unrealistic body expectations [and] body image issues?"
She responded: "Actually, not everyone on this show is perfectly chiseled. And even I feel intimidated by the physique of my surrounding cast mates sometimes when I have to do bra/underwear scenes. I’ve felt very insecure due to the expectation that people have for women on tv, what they should look like.
"But I have come to terms with my body and that I’m not the kind of person you would see walking on a runway during fashion week. I have bigger boobs, I have cellulite on my thighs/butt, and my stomach sticks out rather than curves in.
"This is still something I struggle with on a daily basis. And it doesn’t help when I’m being compared to other women. I have gained weight due to depression the last two months and I’ve felt very insecure about it. But I did a recent bra and underwear scene and felt it was my obligation to be strong and show confidence in myself, looking as I do. And I want other young women to see my body on tv and feel comfort in the fact that I’m not a size 0. And I’m not a perfect hourglass shape.
How sad is it that I come forward about my insecurities and people have the audacity to tell me that my feelings aren’t valid. People like this, the ones who leave these ignorant comments, are the reason why people don’t speak out and end up struggling alone. Shame on you. pic.twitter.com/XgPrzOJXzO— Lili Reinhart (@lilireinhart) February 7, 2020
"This industry struggles with accurate representation of female and male bodies. So I commend the women who have helped our industry take a step in the right ~ and authentic ~ direction. (Charli Howard being my favourite role model.)"
Despite her lengthy response, Lili was criticised. Some thought that while she of course is entitled to have insecurities about her body, she is still a slim and able-bodied woman – a body that is widely accepted.
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Lili then pulled up some of the comments from Instagram that were dragging her, and replied: "How sad is it that I come forward about my insecurities and people have the audacity to tell me that my feelings aren’t valid. People like this, the ones who leave these ignorant comments, are the reason why people don’t speak out and end up struggling alone. Shame on you."
On her Instagram Story, she added: "Imagine telling someone that their feelings are irrelevant and they should be quiet based on what you deem to be acceptable or not. Can't relate."