Jennifer Love Hewitt Reflects On Framing Britney Spears And ‘Gross’ Attention On Her Body As A Young Actress
Framing Britney Spears still has people talking.
For one thing, the New York Times documentary has prompted conversations about how we treat celebrities, and particularly how the media objectifies young women. But another effect of the doc is that some of the women who shared similar experiences to Britney Spears have spoken out against that treatment, too.
Jennifer Love Hewitt, who recently spoke with Vulture about her film Heartbreakers, was asked about the amount of attention on her body as a young, 22-year-old starlet in a super-sexualized role. She shared:
“It’s interesting, I just watched the Britney Spears documentary, and there’s that whole section in there talking about her breasts. At the time that I was going through it, and interviewers were asking what now would be incredibly inappropriate, gross things, it didn’t feel that way. I mean, I was in barely any clothing the whole movie. For some reason, in my brain, I was able to just go, Okay, well, I guess they wouldn’t be asking if it was inappropriate.”
The actress continued:
“But now, as a 42-year-old woman with a daughter, I definitely look back on it and go, Ew. And it really started with I Know What You Did Last Summer, because that was the first time that I had worn a low top, and on Party of Five, my body was very covered. At a press junket for I Know or I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, I remember purposely wearing a T-shirt that said ‘Silicone Free’ on it because I was so annoyed, and I knew something about boobs was gonna be the first question out of [reporters’] mouths. I was really tired of that conversation.”
Of this particular film, the 9-1-1 star recalled:
“With Heartbreakers, that was a big part of it. I was disappointed that it was all about body stuff, because I had really worked hard in that movie to do a good job as an actress. So I remember one specific moment wishing that the acting had overshadowed all that — that for five minutes, they had said I was really great in the movie versus made a body comment. Now that I’m older, I think, Gosh, I wish that I had known how inappropriate that was so I could have defended myself somehow or just not answered those questions. I laughed it off a lot of the time, and I wish maybe I hadn’t.”
She went on to say:
“The conversation for a very long time in my career was always about [my body] first — then, ‘Oh yeah, you were really great in the movie, too,’ later. I didn’t get it. That’s just what I looked like, and I was doing my job. I just started to [prepare myself], like, I know I’m doing an interview today, so I’m pretty sure at least 20 of the 40 minutes is going to be about boobs and body stuff, so we’ll just get that out of the way and then maybe they’ll ask me something else.”
Unfortunately, Jennifer’s experience was shared by many other women in the spotlight — and Britney in the early 2000s was perhaps the peak of all that sexism, objectification, and commodification. The Party of Five alum admitted:
“When I watched that Britney Spears documentary, it hurt my heart a little bit, because I remember in hindsight having that feeling. I’m really grateful that we’re in a time where, hopefully, that narrative is going to change for young girls who are coming up now, and they won’t have to have those conversations.”
We truly hope so as well. The conversations we’re having now are so important, and it feels really just that the mistreatment Britney endured may now be the reason the industry changes for the better.
[Image via FayesVision/WENN/Avalon]