Lady Gaga’s Body Shaming Trolls
With dozens of broken records, Superbowl LI will go down in history as one of the best every played.
Notably, for the epic comeback the Patriots made to finally take the game in overtime, but also for the top-notch halftime performance by Lady Gaga.
In case you missed it, Lady Gaga poured her heart and soul on stage during Sunday’s show, a performance packed with acrobatics, pyrotechnics, choreography and synchronized drones no less.
Despite undeniable talent, hundreds of hours of work and nailing a performance without so much as a vocal quiver, internet trolls still managed to reduce her to tummy “rolls.”
Yup. That’s right.
Forget the 13 minutes of her flying around (literally) and sprinting across the stage in sequined heels belting hit after hit on pitch. No no, these folks chose to body shame Gaga instead and aim their comments towards her supposed “pot belly”.
Now, I think we can all agree that these comments are completely nonsensical and the result of ignorance, something I normally don’t like investing much time into.
But with eating disorder awareness week coming to an end, I didn’t think a simple “haters gonna hate” approach would cut it. Instead, I prefer to take the opportunity to shed light on the body shaming problem our society is plagued with, and share with you how you can make a difference.
Because although this happened in the spotlight, body shaming is a reality that affects us all in some way. And if you think this somehow doesn’t concern you, then I urge you to keep on reading.
Although our society is ill and we’re a long way from healing it, there is something you can do starting today. Granted it’s a small change, but if you take the pledge in your own social circle, the ripple effect can be huge. Take the pledge: stop the body talk.
What is body talk?
Body talk is any comment relating to your own or another person’s body weight or body shape.
Just like our bodies, body talk comes in all shapes and sizes.
Sometimes, it may happen without you noticing. Often, it may happen without any bad intentions. In fact, you may consider your comment to be a compliment. Other times, body talk is meant to hurt and bruise. Here are some examples:
“Have you lost weight? You look so much better. ”
“My thighs are huge.”
“She really shouldn’t be eating those fries. No wonder she can’t lose weight.”
“Wow, you’re so ripped and buff!”
“Go eat a burger or something. You’re too skinny.”
“Come here my little chunky monkey.”
“You really should lose some weight.”
“I feel like a stuffed sausage in this dress.”
“She’s so skinny; she probably doesn’t eat.”
Three reasons to stop the body talk
1) Body talk can have devastating consequences
Fact: you cannot tell by looking at someone whether they are suffering from an eating disorder or any form of food or weight preoccupation.
So although it may seem harmless to you, your body-related comments can hold a ton of weight with a person afflicted with an eating disorder. In fact, even comments meant as compliments can trigger a cascade of irrational thoughts and emotions leading to unhealthy behaviours. These can range from unhealthy body scrutiny and obsessive food rituals to food restriction, bingeing, purging, compulsive exercising and more.
If you would like to learn more about eating disorders, our friends over at Connecte Psychology have compiled a list of helpful resources and fact sheets that you can read and share with loved ones. Click here for the eating disorder resources.
2) Body talk turns on the pressure
When you comment on a friend or loved one’s body weight or shape, even when intentions are good, they may take this to mean that their body must look a certain way to warrant your affection, or that if they ever were to change, they may lose your affection. Over time, the pressure to look a certain way builds and breeds insecurity, damages confidence and causes many to crumble.
I’ve had clients pour into my office over the years doubting themselves and all of their hard work because of body comments people have made in passing…
“My husband keeps praising me for my weight loss. Now, I’m so scared of putting the weight back on that it’s causing me to lose control over my food.”
“My colleague said my arms look really buff. Am I not feminine anymore? Maybe I should stop working out.”
“My family can’t see past my weight, no matter how far I’ve come. I can’t even allow myself a small indulgence in public without them pointing the finger. ”
If someone has made a positive change in their life causing them to lose weight or put on some muscle and you want to encourage their healthy lifestyle, don’t ask them how many pounds they’ve lost and refrain from commenting on how “buff” they look. Instead, focus your comments on the commitment they have made to themselves.
Ask them how good it feels to be off their diabetes medication. Tell them how proud you are of them for taking time to move their body at the end of a long day. Congratulate them for signing up to a 5K race. Give them props for hitting that new PR.
3) Body talk breeds body hate
Every time you engage in body talk, whether it’s directed to yourself or to someone else, you’re flexing the body hate muscle. Whenever you criticize someone for being too thin, too fat or too muscly, you’re actually training yourself to scrutinize your own body in such a way that you will feel perpetually dissatisfied with whatever you see in the mirror.
To reduce your exposure to toxic body talk, start by auditing your social circle. The next time you find yourself stuck in the middle of fat talk, the first step would be to disengage from the conversation. Ideally, you want to remove yourself from the group altogether. I know this may not be easy, especially when it comes to friends and family but ask yourself: have you ever left a body shaming conversation feeling better about yourself?
Body confidence stems from body love not body hate, so quit flexing the critical muscle and get started with your new training program. Combine a daily dose of positive self-talk, a continuous supply of self-care and a lifetime pledge to quitting the body talk. Starting now.
Are you in?
I sure as hell am.
So what do you say: Will you vow to the stop body talk? If you do, pledge in the comments and share this post with your friends and family to encourage them to do the same!