After that amazing performance, you're really going to talk about her belly?
Last night, Lady Gaga's amazing concert was bookended inexplicably by a football game.
I am told this event was called "The Super Bowl," but to my mind, the only thing worth knowing was that Lady Gaga served up 13 high-octane minutes of intense, jaw-dropping athletic performance.
People went ... I'm so sorry I'm about to do this ... "gaga" over her show.
Well, most people.
Some people decided that Lady Gaga's decision to take to the stage in a crop top while being a human with a stomach was a crime against humanity and took to Twitter to express their ire.
That's right: Lady Gaga was fat-shamed.
I'm a fat person, and I have this apparently radical notion that fat people should be treated with love and respect.
You know, like all people, and how their weight has nothing to do with their value or right to exist.
As a woman who writes about this topic frequently, I love it when stuff like this happens to celebrities.
Don't get me wrong, I don't love it because I'm a secret monster. I love it because it gives me a great opportunity to talk about fat-shaming and its insanity in a way that EVERYONE can understand.
Because when you're naturally thin or have certain ideas embedded in your mind about weight and health and value and worth, it can be hard to see what the big deal is about fat-shaming when the story is about a real-life fat person like me.
But no matter your size or life experience, it's pretty damn hard to read any of the fat-shaming that was directed Gaga's way and see it as being anything other than absurd.
Trolls described Lady Gaga's stomach as being" flabby."
The best I can figure, they were angry that it wasn't flat?
Here's a fun fact, your abdominal muscles can be long and lean sure, but they also pop out the stronger they get.
Your stomach can be flat, sure, but it can also be bloated, full of food, or popped with muscles.
None of this matters, what matters is that I'm actually having to explain to people how bodies work because our look-obsessed culture is so messed up that people genuinely don't understand how bodies function or the fact that they are designed to do tasks, not to exist in a vacuum subscribing to our society's warped standards of what beauty is.
The way we view bodies is so warped that other people took to Twitter to PRAISE LADY GAGA FOR BEING SUCH A POSITIVE EXAMPLE OF WHAT A NORMAL BODY LOOKS LIKE.
There is no such thing as a normal body.
And to praise a woman who presumably spent months training like a goddamn Olympian to don sequined hot pants and dance in front of millions as "normal" or "average" is nearly as insulting as comparing her body to a tube of exploded biscuits.
It doesn't matter how thin or fat you are:
When you bend over, shift, move, dance, your skin folds.
It moves around.
Because you are not a doll nor are you living inside of Photoshop.
I want you right now to stop everything you're doing and get up and start dancing, now start singing.
Keep it up for two minutes. Five. Eight. THIRTEEN MINUTES.
Even if you are a person who works out regularly, combining singing and dancing isn't easy.
It's a learned skill, one that Lady Gaga knocks out of the freaking park.
When we are critical of celebrities for not having the one type of body that is acceptable in Hollywood we are perpetuating the myth that skinny or fat matters, that tall or short matters, that big boobs or little boobs matter, when the truth of it is that none of this shit really matters.
Say that out loud "none of it matters."
I know, it's easy to say, far harder to believe and live by.
And why is that?
Because we all still judge ourselves and others based on appearances.
This isn't something I can magic out of being by pointing out all of the reasons that someone like Lady Gaga is healthy and beautiful.
If a woman like Lady Gaga can be assessed, evaluated, mocked, and found wanting, sweet Jesus, what hope remains for those of us who aren't famous? Who aren't dancing in crop tops?
It's hard when stuff like this happens because it reinforces what a problem we as a culture have with body image.
Sometimes, especially in the face of Lady Gaga's fat-shaming, I think the most effective way to change the way we talk about bodies is to focus not on ideas like "fat acceptance" or "big is beautiful," but to focus on the fact that we all have DIFFERENT bodies.
Bodies should not be identical because WE are not identical.
Until the robotic uprising comes, none of us are made in a factory. We are not widgets. There is no mold.
We're human beings whose genetic makeup, family history, passions, illness, strengths, and weaknesses all add up to create bodies that are completely their own.
And that's wonderful.
Instead of comparing our bodies to celebrities and saying things like "I could NEVER wear that," we need to change the way we speak and think and start saying things like "I can reach the tallest shelf in any room" or "I can swim a mile" or "going for a walk at the end of the day with my husband makes me feel happy and good".
What our bodies can and cannot do, what they look like — none of that is "good" or "bad." It's just our personal reality.
When we start respecting that, we start to change the conversation.
I for one, can't wait for the day where little girls see a celebrity dancing and don't think "my tummy isn't skinny like hers" but instead think "I bet I can do that dance move" or "I wonder if she can do a handstand like me?"
It might be naive, but I truly think we can get there.
I think we deserve to get there for our daughters, our nieces and for the future.
The world is already impossibly hard on women.
We've got to stop being so hard on ourselves and on each other, and I know we have that in us.