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JAMIE LEE, UNCOVERED



Published: Wed, August 28, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



JAMIE LEE, UNCOVERED

Chicago Tribune: This may not rank with bra-burning or the Equal Rights Amendment, but what Jamie Lee Curtis did in More magazine this month has women across the nation cheering -- and sighing with relief. Curtis, the 43-year-old actress who has been worshipped by some as an icon of female pulchritude, stripped to her underwear to reveal the real Jamie.

The former star of "Perfect," as it turns out, isn't.

As she critiqued herself: "I don't have great thighs. I have very big breasts and a soft, fatty little tummy. And I've got back fat. People assume that I'm walking around in little spaghetti-strap dresses. It's insidious -- Glam Jamie, the Perfect Jamie, the great figure, blah, blah, blah. And I don't want the unsuspecting 40-year-old women of the world to think that I've got it going on. It's such a fraud. And I'm the one perpetuating it."

The photos accompanying the article show the real Jamie, sans makeup and in black, none-too-flattering underwear, and then the Jamie who spent three hours being prepped for a photo shoot by a cast of 13 fashion and beauty experts.

That took courage.

Real woman

That is what a real woman looks like, declared a nation of grateful 40-plus women, scrutinizing the "before" and "after" photos. They studied her thighs. They rejoiced in the folds of her stomach and in her deglamorized face. One woman couldn't wait to rush out and copy Jamie's photo to plaster on her mirror. Some have even ventured, with a note of pride, that they look better au naturel than Jamie.

Whatever her motives (she does have a new children's book on self-esteem coming out), we applaud Jamie for flaunting her natural assets. In this body- and youth-obsessed culture, she has struck a blow for reality, even if she waited until she was 43 to reveal the bulgy truth.

It's a message that cannot be sent too often, particularly to girls and young women. The perils of obsession with body image and plummeting self-esteem are well known, and frightening. It starts, particularly with girls, at younger and younger ages. Girls barely in double-digits are dieting because they say they don't like what they see in the mirror. And teens are increasingly undergoing liposuction and other cosmetic surgery to create "perfection."




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