Millennials shocked by celeb ‘fat shaming’ in early 2000s: ‘I want to scream’

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The early 2000s were wrought with flip phones, tramp stamps, low-rise denim and an unfortunate case of body shaming.

Back then, Kate Moss chic was in — if you weren’t sickly thin, you were considered egregiously plus size, even if you were barely midsize — and millennials will never forget how the body standard scrutiny maimed their formative years.

On Twitter, users have dug deep into their pop culture psyche to regurgitate the regrettable remarks about celebrities made by commentators and media alike, rebuking mainstream fatphobia.

“If gen-z wants to understand millennials they first need to understand that for the entirety of 2008 we were told that this was the most disgusting a person could EVER look,” tweeted Caroline Moss alongside a photo of Jessica Simpson in 2009.

At the time, Simpson was crucified as “Jumbo Jessica” for her curvier appearance. But the skinny was she weighed an estimated 120 pounds and donned size 4 mom jeans.

Moss’ tweet garnered 141,000 likes and a chorus of responders, who offered further examples of the so-called “thin woman who was victim to 2001.”

Next up, Renée Zellweger, most iconically known in the early aughts as Bridget Jones.

“I accept your Jessica Simpson and raise you a Bridget Jones,” tweeted Tiffany Katz, who shared movie stills from “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” featuring the actress in a Playboy Bunny-esque costume.

At the time, the talk of the tabloids was that the actress gained nearly 30 pounds for the flicks, which often made her waistline the butt of the joke and even included a plot line that revolved around her shedding some weight.

Jessica Simpson at Macy's red carpet in red dress
Simpson, once scrutinized for being too curvy, has recently faced backlash over losing weight.
Getty Images

Jessica Simpson at MET  in 2007
In the early aughts, Simpson was dubbed “Jumbo Jessica” as the media zeroed in on her waistline.
Getty Images

“Let’s not forget,” wrote another Twitter user with a still from “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.”

That movie regularly jabbed at America Ferrera’s curves with lines such as: “You think that a pair of jeans that fits all of you is gonna fit all of this?”

The actress was also portrayed as the DUFF — for the uninitiated, the “designated ugly, fat friend” — in the ABC series “Ugly Betty,” despite having a perfectly average physique.

Then, there were the weight comparisons between the ultimate besties Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, who were also co-stars in the reality show “The Simple Life.”

One Twitter user, who recalled being “horrified” because she was “bigger” than Simpson in the 2000s, posted a photo of Hilton and Richie side by side and “looking back at Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie when Nicole was the ‘fat’ one.”

“I want to scream,” they wrote.

Online, aghast fans speculated how their favorite films and shows morphed their perceptions of beauty and body image.

Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic
Kate Winslet was ridiculed as “fat” in “Titanic,” to which she recently responded on the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast: “Why were they so mean to me? They were so mean. I wasn’t even f–king fat.”
©20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection

“In Devil Wears Prada, Andy has lines about how she’s not as thin as the other girls, and she’s considered fat by multiple characters,” tweeted one person about the character played by Anne Hathaway.

“She gets a cup of soup for lunch one day and Nigel tells her, ‘You do know that cellulite is one of the main ingredients in corn chowder,’” they continued.

Another appalled user recalled the body shaming Raven-Symoné’s titular character endured on Disney Channel’s “That’s So Raven.” Namely, in one episode, she was told that “she couldn’t be a model because she was too big.”

But even Raven-Symoné later revealed she didn’t understand the behind-the-scenes commotion around her weight, revealing that she was instructed to diet as a teen.

“I look back and I wasn’t even fat. I’m so confused,” she said in an episode of the “Uncensored” podcast, per Yahoo News.

While one would like to believe we’d left the weight remarks behind in the early aughts, similar negative body image discourse persists. The likes of Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande and Lizzo have all hit back at body shamers in recent months.

Britney Spears on stage
After the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards, Spears was belittled for her appearance.
Getty Images

And with Y2K style making a comeback, so has the era’s “heroin chic” physique, seemingly pushing out the once-trendy Kardashian-esque hourglass in favor of Ozempic-induced frailty.

Pop sensation Britney Spears, once called a “whale” in 2007, has been subject to weight loss comments from her own trainer, who told her to get her “younger body” back, she claimed earlier this year.

Then came the public scrutiny of Grammy winner Lana Del Rey and singer Bebe Rexha for their noticeable weight gain.

Still, there is a much louder call for size inclusivity and diverse body representation in recent years, as people begin to unlearn the negative connotation hung on the term “fat” and question the beauty standards of the past.

“A woman’s body has nothing to do with her worth,” wrote Glamour UK’s Chloe Laws, referring to the series of viral tweets.

“This is a hard lesson to learn when we grew up ingesting the rampant diet culture and body-shaming of the ’00s, but conversations like this are a step in the right direction.”

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