Today, Lizzo posted a video on Instagram promoting a smoothie detox. Unsurprisingly, the comments went WILD. So here's the thing. Lizzo has become this sort of icon or mascot of the body positivity movement. When she sings, "Baby how you feeling? I'm feeling good as hell!", I feel that! We love her, she represents more to us than music: she represents embracing yourself and loving yourself as you are. I cried, legit, when she came on the VMAs and told us, "It's so hard to love yourself in a world that doesn't love you back."
But here's the thing, y'all: we don't own Lizzo. We don't. She is a real person, with real insecurities, real goals, real desires. She posted a few days ago, really emotional about her body and feeling unhappy with it. Obviously there is nothing wrong with her body, the problem is the culture. But she was vulnerable. She doesn't only live in our imaginations. She deserves to make her own choices about her body. I might not like her choice, it may be disappointing to me to see someone I thought was a body positive icon making choices that don't align with that movement, but it is her choice to make.
The IG comments turned, a bit unsurprisingly, into a roast. "You are amazing but this saddens me to my core." I don't disagree, but maybe she deserves to make her own choices. "This ain't it sis. So many people look up to you for body positivity. And this is the opposite." This from a white woman, and honestly, this use of the word "sis" troubles me, but that's a post for a different day. That aside, while I agree with the basic points, it is Lizzo's body. A number of people reported feeling triggered by the post, and I certainly was as well, and probably for some people that is a lot harder than others. I just think that we may have heaped a bit of an unfair amount of expectation.
While I am disappointed and bummed about this, I'm not mad at Lizzo. I feel sad that Lizzo felt like this was a good idea, because the noise around us is just SO.DAMN.LOUD that smaller = healthier, that thinner is prettier, that shrinking makes your life better, you more desirable. It's just this inexorable, inescapable jackhammer in the background all the damn time. She was vulnerable, like any of us can be. Lizzo got called to the noise.
Detoxes are dumb. It's a quick weight loss trick disguised as a way to improve the health of your vital organs. Want to improve the health of your gizzards? Drink a glass of frickin water. Then drink another one after that. And another one. And maybe after all that water, you'll have to pee so much you won't have time to worry about roasting Lizzo for getting called to that diet culture siren song and you sure as hell won't have time for any fake quick fixes.
Yeah, it's a bummer for those of us who have been doing work in antidiet spaces, and I get feeling like "We lost one." But we won't get her (or anyone else) with a barrage of bitching, and we'll be here when she comes back. It makes me think a bit of addiction recovery. When a friend has a relapse, it is triggering. That doesn't mean I go get drunk, and maybe I go through some feels, but I don't roast the person. It's an addiction. It's not their fault. I just need to be there when they come back around.
I'll leave you with this. I know some folks probably needed to comment just so vulnerable folks might see those comments and know that a (weight loss) detox smoothie isn't where it's at, but once there were several...plus several more of those comments, did the dogpile need to continue? Let the woman live her life. Commentary on people's bodies works both ways -- just as it isn't cool to fat-shame or concern-troll, we also don't need to chastise people who shrink themselves. It may be disappointing to me, but it is not my body.