Wear It Like Lizzo

Lizzo made headlines recently for her stunning appearance at Cardi B’s 29th birthday party in a sheer dress. As an equally dazzling number of people have commented, the gown did not leave much to the imagination. Cardi B’s party, which took place at LA River Studios, had a ‘dancehall’ theme and a star-studded guest list. Across the board, there was no shortage of fishnet-esque dresses, sheer material and skin. So what is it about Lizzo in particular that has attracted so many comments?

Trolls took to their keyboards the very next day to make comments about Lizzo’s outfit. Or, more precisely, her body. Despite the fact that many of the party attendees showed a similar amount of skin, they did not face the same backlash for wearing whatever they wanted to. While her fans spoke out in defence of the ‘Juice’ singer, Lizzo also addressed the hate herself on Twitter. She tweeted: “Remember when people used to mind, they mutha*****n business? Those were the days”. She rightfully called out the fat-shaming comments, and the assumption of a right to comment on somebody else’s body.

Sadly, these comments—whether they take the form of hateful vitriol on social media or a well-meaning family member’s: “ooh, you’ve gained weight, dear!”—are something that many of us have experienced. It seems that in older generations especially, commenting on somebody else’s weight is worryingly normalised. Regardless of whether they are intended as compliments, comments on weight loss can be hugely triggering to people who have struggled with disordered eating or obsessive exercising. They also reinforce the narratives we are exposed to on social media and general consumerist culture: that we should all strive towards the ideal of whatever body is in fashion at that particular moment. An ‘ideal’ that is constantly changing and doesn’t take into account the varying body types within society. We are force-fed a diet of unrealistic bodies that all look a certain way.

That is why influencers like Lizzo, a body-positive presence on social media who celebrates and loves herself, are so important. Body positivity is defined by Collins Dictionary as “the idea that people should feel happy with and proud of their body, whatever shape or size it is”. Existing as a young woman in the 21st century can be like standing in a hall of mirrors, surrounded by reflections of bodies that have been compressed and pressured by years of restriction in the name of ‘health’. Lizzo stands up to harmful narratives that mistakenly align health with the way your body looks. If you’ve seen her TikTok’s you’ll know that she eats nutritional food because she loves her body. She drinks smoothies and detoxes because she loves her body. She works out because she loves her body. This is what health should look like: not restriction and exercise to manipulate your body into a specific shape but taking care of yourself and helping your body to do everything that it needs to do.

Lizzo faced criticism for her appearance at Cardi B’s party not because she arrived in a translucent dress that showed almost everything except her nipples, but because she did so as a fat person. And if you flinch ever-so-slightly at the word ‘fat,’ as I admittedly sometimes do, just remember that ‘fat’ is not a negative word. It has been tainted with harmful body-shaming by social media and consumerist marketing. It is our job as body-positive supporters to make a stand against these narratives and reclaim our bodies.

Eirwen Abberley Watton

Featured Image Source: Pexels

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