Actress: I got compliments for looking emaciated
July 26th, 2011
11:26 AM ET

Actress: I got compliments for looking emaciated

Actress Rosario Dawson has some pointed words about expectations on women and their bodies.

"It's a form of violence in the way that we look at women and the way we expect them to look and be for what sake? Not for health, survival, not for enjoyment of life, but just so you could look pretty," Dawson told Shape Magazine. 

Dawson who appears on the August cover discussed industry-wide pressures to maintain an ideal body type.  After losing weight to play a drug addict dying of HIV/AIDS in the 2005 film "Rent," she was stunned to hear compliments about her  figure. “I remember everyone asking what did you do to get so thin? You looked great,” Dawson recalled. “I looked emaciated.”

Her video with Shape is here.

The controversies surrounding the pressure to be too thin and constant airbrushing of photos are nothing new.

“I’m constantly telling girls all the time everything is airbrushed, everything is retouched to the point it’s not even asked,” she told the magazine.  “None of us look like that."

In the competitive world of magazine covers, skin is nipped, blemishes erased and waist trimmed.  Photoshopping models and celebrities for ultra svelte bodies became a huge topic in France in 2009 when a politician proposed a law that require altered advertisement photographs to carry a label.

This year, the American Medical Association adopted a policy during its annual meeting warning that photo alteration of models’ bodies “can contribute to unrealistic expectations of appropriate body image – especially among impressionable children and adolescents.

“A large body of literature links exposure to media-propagated images of unrealistic body image to eating disorders and other child and adolescent health problems,” according to the AMA.

The group called on advertising associations to discourage altering photos that could promote unrealistic expectations of body image.

Glossy fashion magazines to even health and fitness publications routinely retouch photographs.  Is it contradictory that fitness magazines that preach healthy lifestyle retouch their models or celebrities’ photos to look skinnier?

Follow @CNNHealth on Twitter

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.