Houston, We Have a Problem

Correction: Western society, we have a problem.

Body shamers have struck again, this time with a ghastly focus on Lady Gaga’s “flabby belly,” which was on display at her remarkable Super Bowl performance.

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Following the status quo, people have chosen to disregard a successful woman’s talents and merits in order to not only discuss her body, but also to bully her into spending more time working on her body.

Lady Gaga needs to do some crunches if she wants to show her flabby belly.

— Deplorable R Kramden (@Icancoreaapple) February 6, 2017

First of all, humans are not objects, so let’s stop talking about them like objects. No woman needs to do anything “if she wants show her flabby belly.” Every woman (and every gender identity) has a right to wear short shorts and crop tops without worrying about the judgements and opinions of others. Having a body–regardless of its appearance or abilities–should be the only requirement for wearing clothes that empower you to feel sexy, confident, and proud of yourself.

Second of all, the criticism of Lady Gaga’s “flabby belly” is yet another example of our culture’s fatphobia and our cultural fixation on female thinness, which actually points to a deeper fixation on female obedience. 

Outside of this Super Bowl-body controversy-bull crap, the reality is that Lady Gaga is a very slender woman with thin privilege. I think that’s important to state.  If this had been a fat woman, there’s no way that people would have defended her from body shamers as ardently as they have defended Lady Gaga. Why?  Because it is socially exceptable to shame fat people. The fact that people body shamed a THIN woman is what caused this public outrage. There have been several instances in which fat women have been body shamed,  such as during the Women’s March,  yet none of these instances received such media attention outside of the body positive community. ‪If we are going to advocate against body shame, we need to advocate against all instances body shame.

But I have digressed away from my original topic… BACK TO GAGA! Like most homo sapiens, she has a visible, wee belly when she bends over, sits down or wears pants that sit tightly at the waist.

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This woman, who has openly talked about her struggle with bulimia, does not need to do more crunches, lose weight or reconsider the clothes she wears. She is an incredible performer who sings live, dances exuberantly, and stands up for human rights. How empowering is it that she sang “Born This Way” in front of Mike Pence, singing the words: “No matter gay, straight, or bi, Lesbian, transgendered life/I’m on the right track baby/I was born to survive”?

Lady Gaga is a boss, who deserves to be revered for being a talented (and versatile, because look at her on AHS) performer, a compassionate activist and a fashion icon. Her body should not even be a part of the conversation.

This reminds me of the tragic case of Oprah Winfrey. She is a successful multi-billionaire and is among the most influential woman in the world, yet the media’s main focus on her remains to be on her weight loss struggles.

The fact is that even if she lost the weight, she will most likely regain the weight in 3 to 5 years–just like the other 95% of people who attempt to lose weight. If she does manage to maintain her new suppressed weight, her life will have to revolve around her diet. Like Glenys Oyston said, “Is this what we expect one of the world’s most successful women to be concentrating on? Her diet? This expectation is unacceptable for any woman.”

Being on a diet that deprives you of calories essentially incapacitates you from having the energy to make a difference in the world. Your brain is so starved that all you can focus on is yourself, your diet, your body, etc. Can you imagine how the world would change if we weren’t hooked into this vacuum of being obsessed with our bodies?

I’d like to end with a quote by Naomi Wolf. Meditate on this quote. Let it sink in.

A culture fixated on female thinness is not an obsession about female beauty, but an obsession about female obedience. Dieting is the most potent political sedative in women’s history; a quietly mad population is a tractable one.

Become the kings and queens of disobedience.


Enjoy this blog? ‘Like’ the Body Peace & Liberation page on Facebook. Body Peace & Liberation is a wonderful body positive page started by Kathleen Bishop, LCSW. The page is dedicated to promoting self-acceptance through Intuitive Eating and the Health at Every Size® movement. It’s a no diet/weight loss talk zone!


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