Why do we think it’s our business to comment on other people’s bodies?
Lizzo has always at the forefront of the self-love movement. We hear it in her kick-ass discography, see it in her inclusive shapewear brand, Yitty, and even the launch of a dance competition called Watch Out For The Big Grrrls. She isn’t afraid to live, do her thing and encourage everyone to follow suit, especially in a world where an image of beauty only seems to fit a specific mold. But despite her best efforts to love herself, many people think they still have a say on her body.
Six days into 2023, the singer and fashion icon went to TikTok—in the middle of her vacation, too—to address the rampant body shaming comments she receives and witnesses. “The discourse on bodies is officially tired,” she states. Lizzo then iterates the range of remarks that populate spaces, from the disdain of a big girl losing weight (WTF) to questioning people on why they had work done on their bodies (extra WTF).
She then asks, “Are we okay? Do you see the delusion? Do we realize that artists are not here to fit into your beauty standards? Artists are here to make art,” she enunciates before proclaiming her love for her body proudly. “I wish comments cost y’all fuckin’ money. So we can see how much time we are fucking wasting on the wrong thing,” she emphasizes.
@lizzoFOR THE PPL IN THE BACK🍑♬ original sound – lizzo
Body Shaming: The Internet Edition
The Truth Hurts preacher has a damn point. A specific population always seems to have a sense of entitlement to speak about other people’s bodies. Maybe it’s the anonymity social media provides, whether it’s a private account or the feeling that this one comment will get buried with the many notifications they receive daily. But beyond the “will they or won’t they” game of leaving comments on celebrity profiles, why do these people feel the need to air these thoughts out in the first place?
According to Merriam-Webster, body shaming is “the act or practice of subjecting someone to criticism or mockery for supposed bodily faults or imperfections.” Simply put, this means making people feel inadequate about their bodily choices. A girl might have worked her ass off to shed some pounds and tone that body, but someone would tell her they liked them when they were “thicker.” Someone goes under the knife to finally get their definition of beauty, but someone will say, “it’s too much work.”
Many of us already feel horrible because society equates our worth with appearance, with standards so unrealistic that it makes us feel bad for not achieving them. This also becomes a double-edged sword for celebrities, whose bodily changes are subject to intense scrutiny. Shape talks to Jennifer Rollin, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.-C., a therapist and the founder of The Eating Disorder Center, on the rampant body shaming celebrities experience. “I think that people focus on celebrities’ weight and body fluctuations as a mirror into their own issues and biases that they might be grappling with,” she explains. “Unfortunately, celebrities can be ‘easy targets,’ as they are in the public eye and often held to absurd beauty standards.”
But what happens when we take it closer to home, like unwarranted comments from a relative? Well, Psychology Today explores four reasons behind people who give unsolicited advice. Sometimes, it’s due to their rigid perspectives, an extremely high sense of the self and a need for control. The more understandable but not necessarily acceptable reason also lies in compulsion ruling over self-awareness. This means that they just don’t know that what they’re saying is unwanted. Either way, people could be doing something better than spewing nonsense about things that don’t concern themselves, right?
Boundary Setting: An answer (but not the entire solution)
While we’re thankful for people like Lizzo, who use their influence to break unrealistic beauty standards, dismantling decades of fatphobia and diet culture takes a lot of work. And it can get pretty taxing. Sometimes, you feel like you can’t even win by changing your appearance, eating cleaner and adjusting your lifestyle. This doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice your mental health while doing so. That’s why we suggest setting some boundaries when things get too overwhelming.
If you already know that you might not have the most pleasant time hanging out by the comments, avoid scrolling further. Protect your peace by moving on to the next post or going offline altogether. Instead, surround yourself with positive content, like listening to Lizzo’s music when you need a pick-me-up.
Talk to your friends about how you feel or journal these feelings out of your system. Feeling your feelings does wonders, rather than bottling them up.
If you find yourself in a hot seat in a conversation IRL, we recommend just getting out immediately. Change the topic or excuse yourself from the circle. But if you hope to engage, Hi Smithy! provides us a list of comebacks we can use when body shamers just won’t quit:
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Lizzo says it best in Good As Hell, “Then walk your fine ass out the door.” Body shamers and naysayers may keep talking, but remember that they really aren’t worth the time and attention. Tune them out and don’t give them the satisfaction of pressing your buttons. And if you’re somehow on the giving end of body shaming comments, it’s 2023. Do something better with your time.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver