When Titanic came out in 1997, I was young and impressionable. I fell in love with the movie and to this day I still watch it every time it comes on. It’s more the history of the tragedy that I connect with than the star-crossed lovers. I always thought it was so silly that two people could possibly fall in love in a matter of days on a ship.
One aspect of the movie that I especially fell in love with was the beauty and fashion of the era. I adored all of Rose’s dresses in the film, and I coveted her corset. I know that some people think that women were oppressed in that era, forced to wear fancy dresses and corsets to achieve a certain look. But there was something about Kate Winslet in the role of Rose that made it seem desirable Maybe it was partially due to the fact that Jack tried to point her away from that life and towards independence…
I’m glad that Kate Winslet was cast as the role of Rose in Titanic. Other actresses – Gwenyth Paltrow, Claire Danes – auditioned for the part and turned it down. I don’t think I would have loved the movie as much had one of those actresses been cast. Kate Winslet had a body shape and size that seemed realistic. She had meat on her bones. She looked young, supple and beautiful. I’m glad that she was a role model I looked up to, at that time, for her appearance. She was someone I could realistically see myself looking like.
Yet people made jokes and called her fat. FAT?!?! She’s my height and weighed more than 10lbs LESS than what I do right now! Yes, per her BMI she was overweight… and so am I… but gosh, how can anyone argue that she was beautiful?? It makes me sick to hear the remarks that people (men especially) made regarding her weight at that time. When I look at her in that scene – you know what I’m talking about – I see a perfectly healthy woman. Her breasts look natural, not perfect. Her stomach is fleshy, not muscular. Her body was everything I wanted as a young girl. I’m so thankful that SHE was my role model… not Gwenyth Paltrow or Claire Danes. Don’t get me wrong – they are both beautiful women, but they are also both stick thin and in my opinion would not fit the era of the film. Because guess what? Being a little “fleshy” was extremely desirable then, as opposed to now when the desirable is the unattainable.
But now I’m not sure how much I look up to her. I read recently that she made the comment that in the last 15 years, “Leo has gotten fatter and she’s gotten thinner”. She’s still at a very healthy weight and still looks amazing, in my opinion, but I dislike the shallow comment that she made regarding hers and Leo’s weight. That’s really the only thing you’ve noticed that has changed in the last 15 years since making that film? And she ridiculed her performance and the movie itself… I understand it must be strange to watch yourself acting 15 years later, but really? That movie basically threw her into stardom. Nobody would know who Kate Winslet was if not for Titanic.
Still. I’m so glad that such a huge, iconic movie featured a young woman with curves, imperfections and natural beauty when there is so much pressure in the industry to be rail thin with fake boobs and perfectly symmetrical features. Much love to Kate Winslet of 1997!