There are a lot of preconceived notions about body weight, especially for women in the public eye. While men are allowed to have a “dad bod,” women are often judged based on how skinny they are, even if they’ve just had a baby!
Celebrities like Adele are constantly held to impossible standards of beauty that even the most talented and beautiful women can’t meet.
So when Lizzo came around, she turned the industry upside down by challenging awful stereotypes and relegating them back to some faraway corner of the world where they belong.
Lizzo may not have the standard bikini body that people are told we are supposed to have, but she’s beautiful and she knows it. Even more shocking, she may be more physically active than most of the people reading this article.
She exercises often, shows tons of energy onstage during live performances, and eats healthy – she even recently became a vegan.
Lizzo fundamentally challenges the preconceived notions about weight and body image. Being plus-size does not immediately mean that you’re unhealthy and inactive. But she goes even further than that.
She doesn’t want to be a body positivity icon
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Lizzo touched on this topic: “My body is not a trend.”
Lizzo has long been very vocal about the importance of accepting her own body, and it’s something all of us can learn from. She doesn’t want to be an example of a trend though, even if that trend is the body positivity movement.
I’m so much more than that. Because I actually present that, I have a whole career. It’s not a trend.
She went on to say that she wants to be celebrated for her music. She doesn’t want to be seen as ‘brave’ for living her life on her own terms. For Lizzo, she’s only existing in her own skin, just like everyone else.
She doesn’t like when it is said she is “brave” for loving her body, telling Glamour, “If you saw Anne Hathaway in a bikini on a billboard, you wouldn’t call her brave.”
Lizzo also worries that body positivity, which she described in Time as “a form of protest for fat bodies and black women,” has become about “going to the spa, getting your nails done or drinking a mimosa.”
However, she also acknowledges that the body positive movement exists for a reason. Until people learn to look past weight, the
“I’ve come to terms with body dysmorphia and evolved,” she added. “The body positive movement is doing the same thing. We’re growing together, and it’s growing pains, but I’m just glad that I’m attached to something so organic and alive.”
When Jillian Michaels attacked her, Lizzo bit back
In the same interview, Lizzo seems “exhausted” from talking about her body, and who can blame her? Why is everyone so obsessed with how she looks? But things escalated when fitness influencer and The Biggest Loser coach Jillian Michaels attacked Lizzo by saying that her weight makes her unhealthy.
“Why are we celebrating her [Lizzo’s] body? Why does it matter?” Jillian Michaels said in response of a journalist’s praise of Lizzo’s work as a body positivity icon. “Why aren’t we celebrating her music? ‘Cause it isn’t going to be awesome if she gets diabetes. I’m just being honest. Like, I love her music. Like, my kid loves her music. But there’s never a moment where I’m like, ‘And I’m so glad she’s overweight!’ Like, why do I even care? Why is it my job to care about her weight?”
While Jillian says her critique of Lizzo’s weight came from a place of concern, it also highlights a major misconception that people have against people who are heavier. And Lizzo made sure to correct this assumption.
“Clogged arteries” and diabetes?
Jillian did not retract her comments, choosing instead to further drive her point about Lizzo’s health condition.
“As I’ve stated repeatedly, we are all beautiful, worthy, and equally deserving,” Jillian continued. “I also feel strongly that we love ourselves enough to acknowledge there are serious health consequences that come with obesity — heart disease, diabetes, cancer to name only a few.”
There’s nothing beautiful about clogged arteries.
Jillian Michaels to People
Here is where the issue is: Jillian Michaels, and the countless others who backed up her remarks, has actually no idea what Lizzo’s health condition is like. Not to say that weight and body shape does not necessarily reflect that.
In fact, there are many people with a “normal” BMI who are unhealthy, while many in the “overweight” and “obese” range are actually pretty fit and healthy.
More physically active than the average person
And that’s the thing with Lizzo: she is actually incredibly active. Back in June 2020, she shared a TikTok video featuring her workout routine and it’s not for the feeble of heart.
The video was filmed at her home, during quarantine and shows the evidence of her commitment to an active lifestyle. She is fully equipped with ropes, yoga mats, cardio and weight machines.
In the video, she reveals that she has actually been working out consistently for five years.
“Hey. So I’ve been working out consistently for the last 5 years, and it may come as a surprise for some of y’all, but I’m not working out to have your ideal body type,” Lizzo says in the video.
I’m working out to have my ideal body type,” she says in a voiceover.’And you know what type that is? None of your f*cking business. Because I am beautiful, I am strong, I do my job, and I stay on my job.
Indeed, she even indirectly addressed Jillian Michaels’ misplaced assumptions. “So next time you want to come to somebody and judge them, whether they drink kale smoothies or eat McDonald’s or work out or not work out, how about you look at your own f*cking self and worry about your own g*ddamn body, because health is not just determined on what you look like on the outside,” she notes.
Health is also what happens on the inside, and a lot of y’all need to do a f*cking cleanse for your insides.
Weight is not always correlated to health
When we assume that an overweight person is automatically unhealthy, we are perpetuating a dangerous stigma and also acting on an unconscious bias. Yes, research shows that there is a strong risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and other conditions as a result of being overweight, but it is not always the case.
Furthermore, promoting self-love for all sizes and shapes is actually a more productive path towards encouraging people to adopt healthier lifestyles. When you love yourself, you are more likely to take steps to celebrate that love by taking care of your body.
“When I was younger I didn’t see myself in the media. I didn’t see myself in fashion. I didn’t like how I looked because of what I saw on television,” she said in an interview with Paper Magazine. “I was working out a lot and not eating. I took a picture and sent it to my mom and she was like, ‘Are you OK? You don’t look OK.’”
For Lizzo, it’s really about making the decision to love yourself. It’s how we all survive. As she wrote in her 2019 NBC News op-ed, “Loving myself was the result of answering two things: Do you want to live? ‘Cause this is who you’re gonna be for the rest of your life. Or are you gonna just have a life of emptiness, self-hatred and self-loathing? And I chose to live, so I had to accept myself.”
This is an important message for all of us: The value of loving yourself is the only way to live your life, even if it’s hard. In fact, especially if it’s hard!
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