Why Rebel Wilson joking about her weight loss shows how much pressure women are still under

She made the quip as she hosted the BAFTA's last night.

EE British Academy Film Awards 2022 - VIP Arrivals
(Image credit: Getty Images)

She made the quip as she hosted the BAFTA's last night.

Last night's BAFTA's saw a dress code nod to Ukraine, Shirley Bassey kick off the evening with a rendition of Diamonds are Forever, and Millie Bobby Brown make her red-carpet debut with Jon Bon Jovi’s son.

Hosting the star-studded evening was actor and comedian Rebel Wilson, best known for her producing, and roles as Amy in Pitch Perfect and Brynn in Bridesmaids. 

She's made headlines over the past few years following her "Year of Health", where she focused on getting fit, eating more healthily, drinking less, and sleeping more. Incorporating a more healthy lifestyle meant she lost weight, too - but the media scrutiny of this aspect of her wellness has been, in a word, relentless.

Barely a day goes by without another article citing a diet fad as the reason for her "transformation".

Addressing her weight loss straight off the bat last night in her opening speech, she said: “I might look a bit different from the last time you guys saw me here (as an image of her hosting the awards from 2020 appeared on screen). This was me two years ago and since then I've done quite a transformation.”

She then went on to joke that she lost weight to boost her career, jesting that thinner women are given more opportunities. "Everybody is asking me, ‘why did you lose weight?' Well, clearly, it was to get the attention of Robert Pattinson…"

"Just joking," she continued. "Guys, seriously, I did not lose weight just for a guy. As if. I did it to get more acting roles."

A photo posted by on

Celebrities around the room were quick to respond, with some, including Emma Watson, looking visibly uncomfortable at Wilson's decision to show her before and after photos to the crowd.

Some fans have pointed out that perhaps Wilson knew that the media would comment on her weight loss, prompting her to take the matter into her own hands in an attempt to control, or at least lighten, the narrative.

She said recently in an interview with Hollywood Reporter: “When you’re a comedian, you use things about your physicality to your advantage, and I used being a plus-size girl to my advantage in many comedy movies. Some people have said to me, “Now that you lost weight, are you scared you won’t be funny anymore?” I like to make a joke about it myself first because it is different.”

However, many fans shared mixed feelings about the gags. Some have said that Wilson's decision to address the subject head-on only further reinforces that women still feel an immense amount of pressure to look a certain way - and deflect with jokes, if they don't - in today's society.

A quick scroll of Twitter brings up thousands of results about the actor, many discussing her hosting and close-to-the-bone quips, with many others making cruel comments and jokes about her weight loss.

While Wilson may well be healthier at her current weight, we aren't doctors qualified to comment on such matters and, if we were, it wouldn't be professional to do so on a public social platform, anyway.

We need to get to a point where, as humans, we place value outside of aesthetic looks, and stop commenting on other people's weight loss - especially celebrities.

Even at an event like the BAFTA's - where the focus is meant to be solely outstanding talent in the film industry - the majority of the comments are still about how she, as host, looked.

It's time we do better.

Ally Head
Senior Health, Sustainability and Relationships Editor

Ally Head is Marie Claire UK's Senior Health, Sustainability, and Relationships Editor, nine-time marathoner, and Boston Qualifying runner. Day-to-day, she works across site strategy, features, and e-commerce, reporting on the latest health updates, writing the must-read health and wellness content, and rounding up the genuinely sustainable and squat-proof gym leggings worth *adding to basket*. She's won a BSME for her sustainability work, regularly hosts panels and presents for events like the Sustainability Awards, and is a stickler for a strong stat, too, seeing over nine million total impressions on the January 2023 Wellness Issue she oversaw. Follow Ally on Instagram for more or get in touch.