Lizzo arrived at last week’s Brit Awards looking not just like a snack, but the whole damn meal!
The Hershey chocolate inspired couture dress was designed by Jeremy Scott for Moschino. She later bopped energetically around the stage and into the audience, wearing a sculptural leotard, and singing a mega mix of some of her biggest hits, backed up by a bevvy of thick-thighed dancers.
Her appearance at the Brits was yet another inspired masterclass in being truly unapologetic and liberated by the undeniable Queen of body confidence herself.
While Lizzo seemingly glides above all the noise, continuing to make bold choices and push boundaries for other plus-size women, a short peruse through the comments on any post or article featuring her reveals fatphobia, misogyny and racism all rolled up into one deeply disturbing hell beast.
Indeed, barely a week goes by without another online scuffle centered around Lizzo’s body.
Earlier this month, the singer was papped wearing a red string bikini while on holiday. A pretty unremarkable outfit for a beach in Brazil, yet it sparked an absolute bin fire in fatphobic circles on social media and around the internet.
Across the web, many people took to their keyboards to make sure that this everyday occurrence was reframed as ‘glorifying obesity’, rather than the actual mundane truth – a woman wearing swimwear to the beach.
Frequently this prejudice is disguised as faux health concerns – fat women living their lives without apologies are routinely cast as a risk to public health.
Believe it or not, Lizzo doesn’t owe anyone health. She may well be a goddamn athlete, but that really doesn’t matter.
Certain body types are not more morally valuable than others. BMI is not a measure of virtue, and a low percentage of body fat is not next to godliness. We as a society have spent far too long confusing what people look like with their inherent value.
While Lizzo gets publicly chastised for having the temerity to wear what she wants, self-described ‘chubby b*****d’ Lewis Capaldi (who coincidentally I adore) does sponsored deals with Greggs and Deliveroo. He hands out baked goods to adoring fans and no one bats an eyelid. He isn’t glorifying obesity, oh no – he’s just a right laugh that Lewis. I smell something off here, and it’s not the sausage rolls, lads.
The rules are blatantly different for men and women. As expertly pointed out by Stephanie Yeboah not long after Tess Holliday had her first Cosmopolitan cover, plus size men are frequently on the cover of magazines and yet these don’t prompt concern. Does this mean we’re not worried about men’s health? Or does it in fact mean that society is actually concerned with controlling how women look, and don’t give a toss about their wellbeing? The latter, methinks.
So, the health argument is moot. Because it’s clear that this is really about aesthetics and control. We see it in the constant nitpicking and derogatory commentary on women’s bodies. There is this sense of ownership society has over the female form – circles of shame in magazines, the constant tracking of weight fluctuations, how quickly someone’s body ‘snaps back’ after birthing a child.
And these health trolls are missing the point.
What Lizzo is glorifying is giving zero f***s, living your best life in the body you have now, and enjoying the feeling of the sun on as much of your skin as possible. Just look at last month’s Rolling Stone cover if you needed further proof.
What’s being lost in translation here is that Lizzo’s message isn’t about telling people to be fat, it’s telling people to love themselves. How is this a dangerous message? I mean, sure, it’s dangerous for diet culture, for the patriarchy, and every industry that profits off the insecurities of women. (And there are a lot of them.)
Lizzo is terrifying because she’s not waiting. She’s not listening to a society that will continually tell her she’s too fat, too black, too anything, to be whatever she wants. She is proof you can live the life you want now, in the body you’re in. And this rattles people. It rattles those who hitched their wagon to diet culture and believed that they couldn’t be happy unless they took up less space.
It confounds fellow fatties, who have put things off and denied themselves things because they believed they weren’t deserving of them. And it enrages many men who see women as sex objects, and find no use for women if they are not titivating them. It makes them ask the question ‘what gives her the right’, and Lizzo’s loud answer is she’s taking them for herself.
There she is, making no apologies for her body. Not asking for someone else to love it before she does. Tossing her hair, checking her nails, feeling good as HELL.
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