I think we can all agree that TV shows are not the best for finding role models. You have teens being portrayed by people in their 20s, and it makes kids think they have to live up to these beauty standards. Riverdale is no different. A show taking place in high school, the main actors of Riverdale range from age 22 to 32. They're also all good looking and fit. For younger viewers of the show, it's no doubt they're thinking about how they don't look like the people they idolize so much.
Lili Reinhart, 23, plays high-schooler Betty Cooper, the "good girl" who has a dark side. Reinhart is a classically pretty woman, with blonde hair, blue eyes, and a slender figure. She's been open in the past about how her body image is something she struggles with, and has even called out fans who say she doesn't really have the right to be self-conscious about it.
"Feeling really disheartened by the fact that so many people are saying “you’re skinny so shut up about embrscing[sic] your body.” As if my body dysmorphia is irrelevant because of how I look to some people," she wrote on Twitter. "I’m either not curvy enough or not skinny enough to feel insecure. Mental illness gets worse when people say that you don’t have a right to feel the way you do. That’s where we are dailing[sic]. Do not encourage this behavior. It is destructive. More destructive than you’ll ever realize. You may not understand someone’s insecurity- but respect it."
Now, Reinhart is once again on the defensive after a fan asked if she thought Riverdale was contributing to unhealthy body image. In a since-deleted tweet, someone said "Don't you think TV shows like this aimed at teenagers are contributing to unrealistic body expectations [and] body image issues?"
Reinhart didn't appreciate it. In a string of tweets, the actress responded.
"Actually, not everyone on this show is perfectly chiseled," Reinhart argued. "And even I feel intimidated by the physique of my surrounding cast mates sometimes when I have to do bra/underwear scenes. I’ve felt very insecure due to the expectation that people have for women on tv, what they should look like. But I have come to terms with my body and that I’m not the kind of person you would see walking on a runway during fashion week. I have bigger boobs, I have cellulite on my thighs/butt, and my stomach sticks out rather than curves in."
"This is still something I struggle with on a daily basis," she admitted. "And it doesn’t help when I’m being compared to other women. I have gained weight due to depression the last two months and I’ve felt very insecure about it. But I did a recent bra and underwear scene and felt it was my obligation to be strong and show confidence in myself, looking as I do. And I want other young women to see my body on tv and feel comfort in the fact that I’m not a size 0. And I’m not a perfect hourglass shape."
"This industry struggles with accurate representation of female and male bodies. So I commend the women who have helped our industry take a step in the right ~and authentic~ direction. (Charli Howard being my favorite role model)."
I can understand where Reinhart is coming from, but I still think it's irresponsible to not acknowledge that even though she has issues with her body, she's still what the industry considers to be thin and beautiful. The person who asked the question was making a fair point, and Reinhart took the opportunity to turn it into something about her own experience.
In my opinion, the person who asked the question was correct, and even though Reinhart might not think that everyone on the show is "chiseled," Riverdale is still using adults as teenagers, which automatically contributes to the problem.