Evan Rachel Wood’s “I Felt Like Meat” Tweet Reveals What Teenage Starlets Go Through


This week, Evan Rachel Wood spoke up on Twitter about posing for a seemingly innocuous, if absurdly too-white Vanity FairIt’s Raining Teens” double-wide cover from 2003. While fans on Twitter waxed nostalgic, the actress popped in to say that she was miserable and felt like meat the day of the shoot.

Social media has given us unprecedented glimpses at the real daily lives of the ultra-famous — including, too often, their personal flaws, maudlin sentiments, conspiracy-theory adherences, and typos. But, as Woods’ tweets show, this kind of access also offers crucial insight into the experience of being swept up by the fame mill and how damaging that turning wheel can be, particularly for young women.

Teenage starlets are, after all, still teenagers, susceptible to authority figures and to their own insecurities. You don’t have to be a celebrity to know that young women in their early teens aren’t exactly encouraged by our society to have a unique voice. Wood, by her own admission, hadn’t yet become aware of how to say, “Screw this, I won’t wear those damn shoes.”

Since then, she added, she’s learned quite adequately to speak up for herself in such situations, and even had good experiences posing for VF. But she offered a rare peek into the kind of early sexualization that is foisted on teenage celebrities, sometimes against their wills.

The story Wood tells is also a reminder that even Hollywood actresses who seem to the rest of us like the most impossibly beautiful epitomes of womanhood, can feel restricted and boxed in by notions of “traditional femininity.” Wood, who has a notably goth sensibility (we loved her as Queen Sophie-Anne) and has come out as bisexual, said her identity was erased by that outfit, pose, and process.

Hopefully now that pop culture has grown up a little bit along with the teens in that 2003 shoot, we understand what that statement means.