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What The Lizzo Stans Don't Get About Fat-Shamers
Much like Hamlet once asked, “To be, or not to be…,” I will ask a more contemporary but equally existential question, “to fat shame, or not to fat shame…that is the question.” But what is it to “fat shame” in the first place?
According to the Oxford Language Dictionary, “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 (is the fact that fat shaming is defined in the Oxford Dictionary a sign of how far our society has fallen? I’ll let you be the judge).”
As with all of these micro-aggression concepts, this definition is purely subjective. Suppose a doctor recommends their patient lose weight. Are they “fat shaming?’ Well, that depends on if the person is humiliated or not. If we are going to claim that “fat shaming” is inherently amoral, we had better have a more precise definition.
Since we don’t, I will work off the assumption that “fat shaming” is merely a virtue signaling, grievance accumulation tool and, once again, shoot my fat shaming bow and arrow at my favorite rotund target. Lizzo.
That it may appear that way, I have no gripe against Lizzo. She is an incredibly talented artist and classically trained flutist, and I don’t care that she is obese. What I do care about is that she is the face of a societal trend that says each of us is absolute perfection, and rather than trying to address our faults, we should, instead, lean into them.
Lizzo just so happens to be the maidenhead of a ship whose poor outcomes are blatantly apparent.
Unlike polishing off an entire Golden Corral buffet by herself, Lizzo can’t drive this ideology alone. Her fans are legion and defend her at nearly every turn. After all, what is Charles Manson without his family? What is Westboro Baptist Church without its true believers? What is Justin Beiber without his believers?
Today, I want to address one of those fans, actress Danielle Pinnock, and her Washington Post op-ed What the fat-shamers don’t get about Lizzo, because though there will always be zealots who will try and push their version of the world onto the masses (or in the case of Lizzo, down their gullets), it is the enablers who cause the most damage.
I suppose I would be included on the “fat-shaming” watch list, so allow me to represent the FS universe and turn Pinnock’s arguments around on her to explain what Lizzo doesn’t get about the fat-shammers.
Pinnock felt she had to white knight for Lizzo because last month, the portly popstar locked her Twitter account, writing,”Y’all don’t know how close I be to giving up on everyone and quitting.”
FS Response: In case anyone was confused, she meant she was close to quitting her singing career…not eating. Definitely not eating.
Pinnock explains how Lizzo “[…]embraces inclusivity for everyone who has a body…”
FS Response: Wouldn’t it sound less ludicrous to say she "embraces inclusivity for everyone?" Of course, it would, but it wouldn’t sound nearly as profound, and due to the vapidness of their ideas, sounding profound is all they have.
However, in this admission, Pinnock inadvertently set up the road to Lizzo’s demise because I have it on good authority that a “D” is being added to the LGBTQIA%)!#+ community, with the “D” standing for “disembodied spirits.” Lizzo always gave off the ghost-phobe vibes.
But seriously, it is nice of her to note that the body positivity movement includes those of us who care for ourselves and aren’t limited to those with an 805 cholesterol level.
Pinnick goes on to lament Lizzo’s treatment, “[b]ut for years, Lizzo has faced backlash from people made uncomfortable by her unabashed acceptance of herself — who would rather see her concealed in oversized cardigans and potato sacks.”
FS Response: Are there certain circumstances where Lizzo makes me "uncomfortable" and times I would prefer for her to wear a potato sack? Yes. Indeed there are.
Look, you-do-you, as the kids say, but if putting your significant derriere out in the world is your thing, people will have thoughts. Lizzo’s “unabashed accepance” of herself puts me under no obligation to consider her ass to be on par with these-
Let’s compare Lizzo to someone like Taylor Swift.
I don’t see a lot of commentary about Swift’s looks (not that I’m looking all that hard) because she doesn’t make it the centerpiece of her image, which is to say, all this criticism of Lizzo is easily avoidable if she only focused on her music, as I commented in the previously referenced Flutist piece.
She chooses to focus on her ass, so we do as well. Sometimes reality slaps you in the hindquarters.
Then, Pinnock claims that Lizzo isn’t supporting obesity, rather “[t]here’s a difference between endorsing obesity and practicing self-love.”
FS Response: There may be a difference between those things, but that doesn’t mean both things can’t be true, and a quick scroll through her Instagram feed shows they are, indisputably.
Returning to the op-ed:
When most people think of obesity, perhaps they think of skyrocketing BMIs. Or overweight people with chronic diseases. Or TV shows such as “My 600-Lb. Life,” the docuseries that follows people who are morbidly obese as they sink into bed encased by pizzas, or “The Biggest Loser,” which exploited people with weight challenges for entertainment and profit — even as contestants developed eating disorders and struggled to keep the weight off once the cameras turned away.
FS Response: Not all heroes wear capes; sometimes, they wear a size 0 bikini on a size 35 frame (I’m not good with clothes sizes). She's not promoting the "exploitation" of helping people lose weight. She is promoting the exploitation of people who are morbidly obese—got it? Good.
I’ve witnessed live concerts where she passionately sings, raps, plays the flute and dances. Her mic is on every night. It takes an astonishing amount of athleticism to perform like this. I challenge her trolls to go on tour with her for even a day to see if they could physically sustain a three-hour set.
FS Response: The first word that comes to mind when I think of Lizzo is athleticism, and it better be for you, too, you fatphobic POS.
Should she share her bloodwork on Instagram? If it shows no issues, what will they say then? And if she does have underlying conditions — is that their chance to say, “Gotcha”?
I want to know: Why do people care?
FS Response: Let's say her bloodwork tells us that she has an entire pepperoni pizza lodged in her aorta; it's true that doesn't tell us anything we don't already know.
If she shares her bloodwork and it’s perfect, are we to understand that because of this n=1 sample size, being obese is not unhealthy?
FS’s care because normalizing this lifestyle is rotting in our institutions. For example, the American Medical Association says that they will no longer use BMI as a tool because it is racist and don’t worry about losing weight; we have a drug that does the same thing as working out and eating healthy. Oh, and it’s not your fault anyway.
Does BMI work as a measurement? I have no idea, but if it’s to be abandoned, it should be because it fails to predict health outcomes, not because it's "racist." And let’s say it does favor white people...can they come up with a "black" BMI or some other nonsense?
Pinnock explains, “As someone who has gained and lost and gained weight again, I can tell you: The process is hellish.”
FS Response: Do you know what's hellish, Danielle? Having an entire box of Oreos in the house that you can't eat because you want to see your penis when you look down in the shower. That's what. Try being me for a day.
At 16 years old, I lost 50 pounds by living on protein bars and diuretics; I received celebration and praise. Then my father died, and in my grief, I gained twice the weight I’d lost. For decades, I struggled to reach an elusive number on the scale, binge eating and battling bulimia. I have tried every diet imaginable, including the notorious “Weigh Down” scam, which encourages people to pray away their hunger.
FS Response: No one is saying losing weight is easy, but we can’t confuse that with making being obese acceptable. Those two things are not synonymous.
When I see the doctor, I must strenuously advocate for myself because physicians assume all my ailments stem from my size. Recently, my toenail split because of gel nail polish; my doctor prescribed Ozempic.
FS Response: Can any of my readers explain what she means when she says her “toenail split because of gel nail polish?” Am I to understand that her toes were so portly that the nail polish broke her toenail in a Herculean effort to hold on to her foot girth? Is that a thing?
My body has endured all manner of suffering. It has been subjected to physical abuse in childhood and adulthood. It has weathered miscarriages and the challenges of dermatomyositis, which causes muscle weakness and rashes. Worth noting: Most of these traumatic events occurred when I was “skinny.”
FS Response: Pinnock makes it seem like once you hit a low enough body fat percentage, you get a $10 million prize, a Caribbean island, and it is considered a hate crime for anyone to utter a bad word about you. The argument isn’t that when you are below a certain body fat percentage, you have no problems in your life; it's simply that your life is better.
Lizzo is out to counter the judgment and shaming. She is public about what she eats (she’s vegan) and how often she exercises. She posts details of her routine to TikTok, not to proselytize but to show people how to love themselves.
FS Response: I love this because it proves that if Lizzo is telling the truth about her diet (which she isn’t), vegan diets are crap. Fuck vegans.
We’ll close with this from Pinnock:
“It may come as a surprise to some of y’all that I’m not working out to have your ideal body type,” [Lizzo] says in one video. “I’m working out to have my ideal body type. And you know what type that is? None of your f---ing business. Because I am beautiful, I am strong, I do my job.
FS Response: Pinnock and Lizzo can have their own opinions but not their own realities. I don't care what your body type is, but frankly, you are not beautiful, and I can prove it…
Go to a woman in your life and tell them, "wow you look great today, you look just like Lizzo," and see the reaction. Make sure you have your hands at the ready to defend yourself.
Ok, now I promise to take a break from Lizzo. At least until she or one of her fans pisses me off again. I’m just hoping my face doesn’t end up in the Oxford dictionary…