Britney, Jessica, Christina, Adele, Lady Gaga: Stop Body-Shaming Pop Stars

Lady Gaga

“Man, pop stars’ bodies, amirite?! What’s the deal with them not being perfect all the time?! Don’t they know it’s their JOB to be the physical manifestation of perfection?! Meaning super-duper skinny?!” – Someone, somewhere on the Internet.

Alright friends, what’s the deal here? Why is it 2012 and we, as the adults in the room, need to be having THIS conversation again? Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, Adele. Why does our society feel the need to constantly pick apart and criticize our pop stars’ bodies? And I know it’s not just pop stars (people are still trying to convince us that Christina Hendricks is in need of a “you go girl!” confidence boost about her curves even though her hotness factor nothing short of bananagrams), but it always seems to be especially prevalent with pop stars. People just L-O-V-E to give these girls a hard time.

And judging by the past few day’s hate-parade on Lady Gaga‘s apparent increase, we have learned absolutely nothing.

Just look at other media that is slamming Gaga and comparing her to Britney Spears in 2007.You remember 2007, right? That was the year everyone called Spears a big ole monster-fatty because she didn’t look the same way she did ten years ago after two kids and a few years off. (The audacity!) Frankly, I’m surprised everyone isn’t as sick and tired of it as I am.

Think about your own life for a minute: Have you ever had anyone make fun of you for the way you look? For something out of your control because you were (you knew this joke was coming) “born this way?” My money, Internet, is that more than a few of you raised your hands there. It sucks, right? Of course it does!

Now imagine for a second if your job performance was based not only on how well you did your job, but how thin you were when you walked around the office. That would be totally unfair and and probably result in a few lawsuits. Both of these are the realities our pop stars face from an unrelenting audience on a daily basis. Sure, they’re not forced into being pop stars, but why is the requirement of being a pop star to be stick thin? And why is that sort of environment allowed to exist? It’s the industry’s fault, but also the public who entertain themselves by holding these folks to unfair standards of beauty and appearance by mocking them for their imperfections.

Each and every one of us was born with a certain set of genes that dictate a lot about the way you look and your physicality. That includes body type (don’t believe me? Here, read some science!). So it’s sort of unfair to judge on that stuff. Because while there are people out there choosing to eat Mallomars for every meal of every day, that doesn’t mean it’s what every single person who isn’t stick-thin is doing. (Sidenote: And you care how other people live their lives when its not harming others why?)

When you start snarking (mocking, shaming, commenting unfairly, whatever you want to call it) about someone else’s weight and looks, you’re not only being kind of a jerk, you’re also playing into the societal hate-machine that submits ladies to an unfair standard of beauty and physical upkeep. (By all means, if you have a triple-threat combination of Barbie-perfect body/looks, vocal, and dancing ability and know the universal secret for having a super-skinny perfect body no matter what, sure! Go for it! I’m sure there’s BILLIONS of you in existence.) Sure, pop stars regularly use and flaunt their bodies in their videos, but that’s because popular culture, advertising, and society has told them that in order to appeal to people, their talents are secondary: conventionally-attractive looks are most important. These girls are paid to sing and sometimes dance. Some of them are even really good at one or both. But somehow, all of those talents are negated if these girls don’t play the part of the ideal for the male and female fans that either want to sleep with them or be them. Adele

Please stop forgetting this: They’re humans. And sometimes, bodies change: Britney had two babies, after all. Jessica Simpson always had weight struggles (and she’s not alone — people have long been fascinated by the up-and-down of Janet Jackson‘s scale numbers, too), and now it looks like Gaga has maybe put on a few. But here’s the thing: Who cares?

After all, isn’t it about the music and the talent anyway? If you’re enjoying it, why do you care that they might have to wear a size 10 rather than a 0? Does having extra meat on their bones really affect that?

Look at Adele. Love or hate her music, her pipes are undeniable. Talent is homegirl’s middle name. Yet time and time again Adele is asked how she feels about her weight in interviews, as if it’s something she should feel ashamed of — as if it’s more important than her Grammy-winning musical abilities. And people on the Internet always seem to have something to say about the fact that this pop star could never borrow clothes from, let’s say, Shakira. The horror! The horror!

So sure, you can critique these ladies for the shows they put on, for their singing abilities, for their song’s catchiness — that’s why there are so many different types of music out there! — but bodies are things that can’t always be changed.

We should talk about these women like they are worth more than how much fat is underneath their skin. Because that’s probably the least important thing under there. And in the end, “that’s all part of the fame game” just isn’t a good excuse.

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