WOMANISM + CULTURE
Black Women Don’t Need To Be Thin, And They Don’t Need Your Approval
Body Shaming Lizzo highlights society’s attempts to define femininity through Eurocentric standards
Since Lizzo released her new hit song, Rumors featuring Cardi B, millions of music lovers tuned in; the imagery in their music video brought me right back to the Black women singing The Gospel Truth in Disney’s Hercules movie. Dancing in gold-tinged dresses, they called themselves “goddesses of the arts.” But, unlike many white-washed depictions of the Greeks, this scene celebrated Black women’s bodies in all their glory. In the newly-released Rumors music video, Lizzo and Cardi B resembled modern versions of those archetypal women.
This video hit differently because we rarely see Black women mythologized in a positive light. Lizzo sang, “They don’t know I do it for the culture.” In Rumors, we venture back in time, seeing Black women as powerful as they are beautiful and as free as they are brave.
Sadly, not everyone enjoyed Lizzo’s new music video. And instead of keeping their fat-phobic, racist comments to themselves, they made a conscious decision to bully the Truth-Hurts artist. They want Lizzo to be something she’s not — skinny and soft-spoken. Unfortunately, society keeps trying to hold Black women to Eurocentric beauty standards, which has long-lasting harmful impacts on how Black women and girls see themselves.
Black women don’t need to have thin bodies to have value. But somebody needs to tell Lizzo’s haters that. Using somebody’s size as a punchline says much more about those throwing virtual stones than those getting pummeled with offensive comments.
Lizzo said, “sometimes I feel like the world just don’t love me back.” But, sadly, some people won’t seem to leave her alone. Lizzo won three Grammy Awards, the epitome of musical recognition. Yet, her accomplishments will never be good enough for those determined to spread hate.
Lizzo is not a new artist. She’s been out, having fun, and making great music for years. So, why do trolls have to act surprised when they see her in a new video or performance? Each time, they act shocked and appalled. But, their…