Janet Jackson is out with a new book about her self-esteem issues and how she overcame them.
It’s called True You. Any grocery shopper knows that Jackson’s weight fluctuations have been chronicled by the gossip rags over the years. She has gone from crazily fit to sloth-like, all captured by the cameras. She wants girls with the same struggles to know that they’re not alone. Even when she was being praised for her healthy body, Janet says she was often at the lowest ebb of self-esteem.
From the time 10 year old Janet was a regular on the TV series Good Times she was given negative messages about her body. Producers told her to lose weight (she was TEN!) and they bound her breasts with gauze to make her appear flat-chested. Later on, she would eat bits of tissue to make herself feel full so she wouldn’t succumb to her body’s desire for actual food. (This is a common Hollywood diet trick, apparently.)
It’s not hard to imagine little pre-pubescent Janet, from a family where performing came as naturally as passing the Cheerios at breakfast, feeling like she had to measure up and do whatever it took to stay in the “game”. She once called her father “Dad” and he corrected her. “To you, I’m Joseph”, he said, not exactly creating an atmosphere where feelings could be shared. On the one hand she was a privileged little girl whose future was determined almost from the get-go. She would always be wealthy, famous and beloved. On the other hand, fame and money don’t buy you a good feeling when you look in the mirror. Janet has also gathered stories of ordinary girls who have experienced the inexplicable phase of self-loathing. It’s something so many young women and women-to-be go through, even if it’s not being fuelled by greedy television producers or a father with a heart made of ice.