Feature

Female Body Image Continues to be Scrutinized in Hollywood: How One Star is Clapping Back

By: Sarah Hirschorn (Online Editor-in-Chief)

Women in the entertainment industry are consistently scrutinized for their image; what they wear, how attractive they look, and how relatively overweight or skinny they are. 

Negative body image comments have taken over the screens of television gossip channels, catty blogs, and thousands of one on one interviews between an interviewer and a female or male interviewee.

One of the more recent controversial comments was made by a key figure in the publicized weight-loss community in Hollywood: Jillian Michaels.

Michaels hosts the NBC show, “The Biggest Loser” and is notorious for her various books about weight-loss programs and lifestyle plans.

In a January 8th sit-down with Buzzfeed’s podcast, AM2DM, Michael’s criticized Lizzo’s body weight and overall performance. “Why are we celebrating her body? Why does it matter? Why aren’t we celebrating her music? ‘Cause it isn’t gonna be awesome if she gets diabetes,” Michaels said.

The singer-songwriter who is currently nominated for 6 NAACP image awards, 8 Grammys, 6 iHeart music radio awards and 1 Brit award, has clapped back at Jillian Michael’s comments by posting various Instagram photos and encouraging her followers to reaffirm self-love and acceptance. 

Senior Daniella Williams says she loves Lizzo and her music. “I listen to her every morning! I love the confidence in her lyrics and how upbeat, positive, and exciting all of her music is. I want to dance anytime she comes on.”

“I support her body positivity 100 percent, it’s one of the main reasons I love her. She makes me feel like all us ladies can be beautiful, confident queens regardless of our bodies and societies’ unrealistic expectations,” Williams added.

Williams says it frustrates her when women tear each other down because of their physical differences. “Lizzo teaches young girls that they can love themselves for who they are and not care about what anyone else thinks and that’s amazing. Comments on the weight of a woman who is spreading positivity makes it seem like women are not valid if they don’t look a certain way and that’s completely incorrect and shameful.” 

Ms. Keeney, a guidance counselor at Sharon High, has been listening to Lizzo’s music since the start of her career. “She is the pride of my home state of Minnesota, by the way. In 2013 I heard the track ‘Batches n Cookies’ and have followed her ever since. [It’s] hard to believe how far she’s come since playing free shows in 2012 at the 7th Street Entry at First Avenue in Minneapolis, which holds about 40 people comfortably.”

“She’s a tremendous vocalist.  Her songs are truthful, positive, and super funny.  I find myself singing her song ‘Phone’ way too often. I love that she gives a shout out to the Minnesota Vikings in ‘Truth Hurts’, my favorite Lizzo song of all.  She’s the greatest thing to happen to Minnesota since Prince,” Keeney said.

Keeney adds that she is 100% behind Lizzo’s message of body positivity. “Love yourself. Improve yourself if you feel you should, but above all else, find reasons to love yourself, no matter your size, shape, color, ability. She saves lives with this message. I know it.”

Keeney also comments on Jillian Michaels’s controversial words from her interview with Buzzfeed. “Shame on Jillian Michaels.  I know that she walked it all back, but in the end, Lizzo eats balanced meals and probably burns 10,000 calories or more with every performance. It [her comments] was unnecessary and very damaging. Lizzo quit Twitter over it, and to be honest, there are women and girls, boys and men, and trans folks who need Lizzo’s message of being okay in your own skin.”

“We can do so much better than perpetuating stereotypes and putting others down for their weight and size. Women are terrible about this, though it happens across the entire gender spectrum. It contributes to the mental health crisis in our country. Ultimately, many bigger women are actually healthier than those who are rail thin and the myriad of issues that can arise from that. Genetics will never allow some people to be small, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are unhealthy,” Keeney added.

As comments like Jillian Michaels’ are circulating the internet, Keeney ends on a positive note. “We need to be kind and supportive to and of one another. Period. Throwing shade and talking smack about another person’s weight says far more about the integrity and ethic of care of the person throwing the shade. It’s unkind to say the very least. It’s cruel and unnecessary. Go Lizzo!”

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