“It’s unfortunate that one unflattering photo of my stomach causes hundreds of people to think that I’m pregnant,” says Lili Reinhart.
In 2016, Jennifer Aniston reminded the media how tiresome it is to have to effectively defend yourself for a change in your physical appearance. She called suggestions that she was secretly pregnant “absurd and disturbing”. And she was right: no one should need reminding that a woman’s body is not something to speculate over.
However, it seems as if we have a very long way to go before the tabloids stop with their incessant body-shaming, as Lili Reinhart – who stars in Netflix’s Riverdale as Betty – found out this weekend.
It took just one photograph of the actress to send the rumour mill into overdrive, with many suggesting that Reinhart is pregnant with co-star Cole Sprouse’s baby. Underlining how truly ridiculous this is on her Instagram Stories, Reinhart wrote: “It’s unfortunate that one unflattering photo of my stomach circulating the internet causes hundreds of people to think that I’m pregnant.
“Nope. Not pregnant… this is just my body. And sometimes I’m bloated. Sometimes an unflattering photo is taken of me. Sometimes I go through periods of time where I gain weight.”
Reinhart added powerfully: “My body is something that I will NEVER apologise for. My body will constantly go through change. And so will yours. And that’s fine. So let’s not put so much time and effort into caring about a stranger’s figure, OK?”
Of course, this is not the first time that Reinhart has called out body-shaming on social media.
Last year, the actor shared a photo of herself tucking into a delicious plate of fried chicken and chips. And, as is so often the case, there was someone waiting to make her feel bad about it: a Twitter user decided to talk down to Reinhart for her choice in meal, saying that they were just so worried her acting career would be overshadowed by her weight.
However Reinhart wasn’t about to let anyone make her feel bad for enjoying her dinner, and she quickly penned a response.
“Thank you so much for being concerned about my weight,” she wrote. “I’ll respond later after my double cheeseburger.”
However, while there’s no denying that Reinhart has form when it comes to shutting down gross body-shamers, it’s worth noting that this week’s “bump” photo wasn’t met with ire or disgust from fans.
Instead, they responded with absolute delight.
“I knew it,” wrote one gleefully.
Another added: “OMG, so happy for [Reinhart and Sprouse]!”
And still one more said: “Lili is going to be an amazing mom.”
Their reactions seemingly prove the point originally made by Aniston: gossip like this doesn’t just see women’s bodies thoughtlessly picked apart, but also implies that pregnancy is the ultimate goal for our sex.
“[These reports give us a] dehumanising view of females, focused solely on one’s physical appearance… Is she pregnant? Is she eating too much? Has she let herself go?” she stated previously.
“I resent being made to feel ‘less than’ because my body is changing and/or I had a burger for lunch and was photographed from a weird angle and therefore deemed one of two things: ‘pregnant’ or ‘fat.’
“We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies.”