Obesity: Is Lizzo’s ‘body positivity’ unhealthy?
The pop star Lizzo is beloved for both her music and her pride in her plus-size body, said Tessa Yannone in BostonMagazine.com. But to fitness guru Jillian Michaels, Lizzo is just another overweight woman who should be working on slimming down rather than preaching body positivity. “Why are we celebrating her body?” asked Michaels in a “cringeworthy” interview on BuzzFeed News’ online morning program. “’Cause it isn’t going to be awesome if she gets diabetes.” Her words triggered a fierce backlash from Lizzo’s fans and others who do not share Michaels’ “phobias of those who live in larger bodies.” Why define a talented artist by her body—and intrude into her life by telling her to drop pounds? Lizzo “is inspiring others who look the way she does to get out into the world and share their magic” rather than hiding at home dieting in an effort to look like workout queen Michaels.
Michaels was just stating a plain fact, said Brad Polumbo in WashingtonExaminer.com. “The woke online Left” can deny the medical reality all they want, but obese people have much higher rates of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and other diseases. No one should shame Lizzo because of her weight, but in the midst of a national obesity crisis that is killing people, “it’s not compassion, but cruelty, to pretend that obesity is perfectly fine, let alone worthy of celebration.” I was 5-foot-2 and 180 pounds when I was 12, and “anyone who told me it was OK would have been doing me a disservice.” Call off “the Outrage Brigade” and their “misplaced ire,” said Gad Saad in PsychologyToday.com. It’s “a perfect manifestation of the current zeitgeist wherein avoiding hurting someone’s feelings carries much more weight than pesky facts.”
Race is an important part of this discussion, said Erin Nolen in the Houston Chronicle. Our society “negatively objectifies black women and promotes submission to a white, thin ideal.” But Lizzo not only “publicly loves her body,” she dresses to flaunt it. That has real “social meaning” in a country where at least 85 percent of all women—and perhaps a higher percentage of black women—are unhappy with their bodies because they don’t look like Jillian Michaels. “Body acceptance is subversive. That’s why we are scandalized by Lizzo.” ■