EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is co-authored by Taylor Irons and Juno Von Palko.
With the help of streaming services and social media, artists are unknown one day and on top of the world the next.
One of these artists is Melissa Viviane Jefferson, known professionally as Lizzo. She is an American singer-songwriter and rapper well-known for her flute-playing.
Despite her multiple talents and successes, there is one thing that overshadows it: Lizzo, like anyone else should, embraces her body.
In one of her interviews, she believes that her body is power and that she is a defined feminist. A feminist is someone who advocates for women’s rights based on the equality of the sexes.
For example, women come together both politically and economically protesting and standing up for their rights as women in America. The movement also talks about the different issues that women face in their day-to-day lives, whether in the corporate world or at the store.
Lizzo also states how her confidence began when she was a little girl being surrounded by strong women; for instance, her mother, sister and many other women played a vital part in her life.
However, Lizzo has appeared in numerous places half-naked. One of the most talked-about instances is when she appeared at a Los Angeles Lakers game with an oversized t-shirt on. From the front view, it looked appropriate; however, Lizzo cut the back out where her behind is and was only wearing a thong.
Once the pictures and videos came out many fans both embraced and hated her decision. The biggest concern that people had was her lack of care for the families and children who attended the game. The next day Lizzo posted a video of herself crying, but many people were not moved by her tears.
Her track record of doing these types of stunts are not rather clean. Her Instagram profile shows her posing with long hair in all her glory for the world to see. Additionally, she posts naked pictures on her Instagram and other social media platforms.
Nevertheless, if she was let into the game while wearing the ensemble, was it really a problem? People began to “fat shame” her and post comments about her weight and health.
Fat shaming is the action or practice of humiliating someone judged to be fat or overweight by making mocking or critical comments about their size. Many comments were about Lizzo’s weight and not the issue at hand.
One comment that made headlines was a tweet by Dr. Boyce Watkins which states, “#Lizzo is popular because there is an obesity epidemic in America. Rather than encouraging people to do better, we are simply lying to them and telling them that they are just fine the way they are.”
So, that seems to be the problem. Dr. Boyce Watkins and others are concerned about her health and what impact she may make on the “obesity epidemic” in America.
The medical community has a long history of abuse, neglect and general antagonism towards fat people.
People perceive obesity as a personal failing that is wholly the fault and responsibility of that person. This gives doctors and physicians the excuse to bully, threaten and shame fat patients for their bodies while either restricting much-needed medical treatments or forcing unwanted ones on them for the sake of potential weight loss.
This mentality then infects society as a whole. In a Huffington Post article by Michael Hobbes, forty-five percent of adults say they are preoccupied with their weight “some or all of the time,” and nearly half of 3 to 6-year-old girls say they worry about being fat.
Read that again: children, specifically girls younger than 7, are preoccupied with being fat.
When literal children are terrified of their bodies because of what society teaches is a “healthy” (and thus more deserving) body, it becomes apparent that this stopped being about health a long time ago.
Health and weight are not synonymous with one another. After receiving some backlash from people dismissing his article, Hobbes tweeted a now-deleted Twitter thread criticizing everyone’s desire to play doctor when fat people’s health comes up.
“Everyone wants to play Doogie Howser, Junior Endocrinologist when it comes to the existence of metabolically healthy fat people,” Hobbes said. “But no one has remarked upon the huge number of metabolically UNHEALTHY skinny people.”
And that is the kicker right there. So many people in America have the “ideal” look and weight. But many of them also drink, smoke, do drugs and sleep around. And what does the public do? They not only embrace this, but they even glorify it.
But then you have Lizzo, whose primary concerns are making music, entertaining people and being herself. And in comes Dr. Boyce Watkins, making her a poster child for the “obesity epidemic.” In comes Jillian Michaels, saying no one should care about her weight (all while expressing her “concern” for Lizzo’s weight as though anyone asked her opinion). And in comes every other person on social media who thinks they have a medical license and can diagnose Lizzo from afar without ever needing to have met her.
What was that about health again?
Lizzo was not having it and clapped back to the tweet saying, “I’m popular because I write good songs and I’m talented and perform high energy hour and a half shows filled with love. The only person who needs to do better is you. Keep my name out ya mouth & look in the mirror before you come for me. Here’s the attention you ordered.”
I agree with Lizzo. I do believe that there is a time and place for everything; however, why is it okay for other celebrities who are slimmer to post nudes and not her? A lot of the times people praise women who are more petite in size rather than the bigger girls.
This issue goes back decades ago where people in the industry, whether they were singers, actors or models, were slim.
People who worked in these industries who were larger were usually recognized and made fun of for their weight.
Although years have passed since then and people have embraced the plus-size world through commercials, movies, songs, brands and clothing lines, the issue of a person’s size is still talked about tremendously.
Moreover, it is Lizzo’s life and her body. It is her prerogative to dress and post whatever makes her feel beautiful.
Because what one person does not like, another person will. Despite the negative comments, Lizzo continues to embrace and love her body with confidence just like a woman of any size should.