This week it was the 20th Anniversary of Bridget Jones’s Diary and we need to set the record straight: Bridget Jones was never fat, she was insecure about her body.
The film struck a chord with women around the world from Bridget’s big pants to her obsession with bettering herself, but it hasn’t aged well.
Society (mainly her mother) told Bridget that without being thinner she wouldn’t be beautiful, or god forbid, loveable to a man. And Bridget believed this, whole heartedly; she beat herself up for how she looked and presented herself on every occasion.
Bridget was insecure that she wasn’t loveable and that thought held her back from happiness, not the fact that she was 9 stone 4lbs, as weight has no bearing on happiness. Equally, I think we can all agree that in no world would the weight be classed as fat! I remember weighing more than that at age 14/15 when I first watched the film, which I’ve spoken about on a podcast here. She’d also have a healthy BMI for her height, if you trust a BMI to tell you anything about bodies (I don’t).
Yet, none of Bridget’s friends or family attempted to help her feel better about herself and her body, they only reinforced her insecurities; “(He likes you) just as you are? Not thinner? Not cleverer? Not with slightly bigger breasts or a smaller nose?”
Sure, it was released 20 years ago, when fad diets and headlines like Bridget Jones or Bridget Bones? and commenting on women’s bodies were commonplace in the media and conversations. But, the fact that Bridget felt like an “idiot most of the time” and not one person in her life tried to make her feel better about herself, does seem rather sad. After all, she was a white, able, slim woman with a thriving social life, good career and a killer flat.
“Resolution number one: obviously, will lose twenty pounds.”Bridget Jones – Bridget Jones’s Diary
It’s like entering a time capsule for outdated ideals and thoughts about women, where they’re worried about whether they’re thin enough, they think being thin means being loved/happy, it was fashionable to be on a diet and socially unacceptable to be single. You just want to shake Bridget and say; come the fuck on Bridget! There’s so much more to life than what you weigh, what you weigh doesn’t determine your worth or whether you’ll find a boyfriend.
The point is, Bridget Jones was never fat. Even if she was fat, she would still be loveable and it’s detrimental (and completely untrue) to suggest otherwise. Bridget was insecure and the only person who boosted her self-esteem was Mark Darcy.
“No, I like you very much. Just as you are.”Mark Darcy – Bridget Jones’s Diary
Bridget can’t even comprehend how he likes her to begin with which just reminds us how low her self-esteem was; “Ah, apart from the smoking and the drinking, the vulgar mother and… ah, the verbal diareha.” It’s unfortunate that it takes a man to love her to boost her confidence and make her feel loveable, but at least there was someone helping her challenge her self-doubt.
I think that’s why the film resonated with women so much, especially young women (some of my friends were obsessed with it) as we all have our own insecurities, especially with how we look. I don’t know a single person who has always loved their body or wakes up every day feeling great about themselves, so it’s no surprise Bridget does either.
The saving grace of the film is that Bridget doesn’t lose weight; she gets her man and her job without changing who she is. So, the message of the film is to accept and embrace who you are as that is attractive as Bridget has everything she’s ever wanted and she didn’t have to lose an ounce of herself to be “worthy” of it.
What did you think about Bridget Jones’s Diary?