WOMEN

Lizzo: Body Positivity Has Been 'Co-Opted' And It's Not Helping Fat People

“We need to protect and uplift the bodies it was created for and by," the “Juice” singer said on TikTok.

Truth hurts, but Lizzo is going to tell hers nonetheless.

The “Good as Hell” singer recently responded to a TikTok user who lamented, “I really don’t understand why I can’t just exist in my body!”

@lizzo

Please use the body positive movement to empower yourself. But we need to protect and uplift the bodies it was created for and by.

♬ original sound - lizzo

In her video, Lizzo responded to the user by saying: “Because now that body positivity has been co-opted by all bodies, and people are finally celebrating medium and small girls and people who occasionally get rolls, fat people are still getting the short end of this movement.” 

The 32-year-old also brought up the movement’s roots, explaining that “big women, big brown and Black women, queer women” created body positivity, but they “are not benefiting from the mainstream success of it.”

“We’re still getting shit on, we’re still getting talked about, memed, shamed and no one cares anymore because it’s like, ‘Body positivity is for everybody,’” Lizzo said.

“Our bodies are none of your fucking business,” she added. “Our health is none of your fucking business. All we ask is that you keep that same energy with these medium girls that you praise. Keep the same fucking energy.”

In the caption of her video, Lizzo elaborated on her message: “Please use the body positive movement to empower yourself. But we need to protect and uplift the bodies it was created for and by.”

Body positivity has been commodified by capitalism, and is commonly used by social influencers, celebrities and brands as a term that is synonymous with self-love.

And although it is important for all women to love and accept their bodies thanks to a society that tends to base one’s worthiness on conventional beauty, that’s not what the initial term was meant to represent.

The term “body positivity” began as a grassroots social justice movement in the 1960s created by and for fat Black, brown, disabled and queer people with bodies that are not considered conservatively attractive by mainstream society, per a recent feature on the topic in Refinery 29.

Bitch Media’s Evette Dionne also explored the topic in a piece titled “The Fragility of Body Positivity: How a Radical Movement Lost Its Way.” 

In the piece, she details exactly how the body positive movement has isolated the women who started it. 

“The body-positive media economy centers these affirming, empowering, let-me-pinch-a-fat-roll-to-show-how-much-I-love-myself stories while failing to actually challenge institutions to stop discriminating against fat people,” Dionne writes, noting most of those stories are about thin, white, cisgender, heterosexual women “who have co-opted the movement to build their brands.”

“On social media, it actually gets worse for fat bodies: We’re not just being erased from body positivity, fat women are being actively vilified,” Dionne continued. “Health has become the stick with which to beat fat people with [sic], and the benchmark for whether body positivity should include someone.”