British novelist Joanne Rowling(48), also know as J. K. Rowling, is best known for penning the infamous Harry Potter series.
The world famous Potter publications has sold more than 400 million copies, is the recipient of several awards and currently holds the records for the i) best selling book series and ii) highest grossing film series in history.
This week we learnt that during the early years of her fame, Ms Rowling felt pressured by repeated media criticisms about her appearance; criticism she found difficult to read.
“I would be a liar if I said I don’t care”, she said. “Yes, I care. I found it very difficult.”
Remarking on her response to the negative comments e.g. that she looked ‘unkempt’ and had ‘messy’ hair, she said:
“You can choose, you can go one of two ways.”
“You can be the person I probably admire more and say ‘Well, I don’t care’ and I’ll continue not to bother to brush my hair.
“Or you can be a weak-willed person like me and think ‘Oh, I’d better get my act together. And maybe my mother was right and I do need to put my hair back and tidy myself up a bit.’
“So I did tidy myself up a bit. But I do often resent the amount of time that it takes to pull yourself together to go on TV, I really do.”
Ms Rowling went on to discuss how appearance, in the all inclusive sense, affects individuals in the public eye; women in particular:
“It must be so nice to be a man and just think which of my three suits will I wear today, and nobody would say a thing,” she says.
“With us it’s our weight, our clothes, how we’re aging, our hair …. If all you (men) have got to worry about is your hairline, I’m afraid … ”
“If I sound bitter”, she added “then that accurately reflects how I feel about the subject.”
The comments above, relating to the media’s focus on female appearance, are the latest concerns Ms Rowling has raised. In 2006 she documented her qualms about her two daughters , to the effect that they were growing up in a “skinny-obsessed world.”