Apparently Lady Gaga has been looking fat lately. The media has a pretty broad definition of fat, ranging anywhere from “not a size 0” to medically obese. Lady Gaga earned her fat label after some recent concert photos seemed to suggest she’d gained weight. The photos have most likely been stretched or distorted somehow because in the video footage from the exact same evening, Lady Gaga looks significantly slimmer. It doesn`t really matter though. Even if the photos aren’t misleading, I don’t find her weight gain newsworthy.
However, multiple tabloids thought differently and the headlines ranged from” Looking meaty!” (Daily Mail) to “The Fat Lady Gaga Sings” (Examiner). The articles don’t stop at simply reporting her weight gain; they criticize and ridicule her for it. Tom Rose from The Daily Mail says that her weight gain “puts a different spin on the recent rumor that Lady G is recording her new album in the nude. Those engineers seem to have gotten a lot more than they bargained for” while Vicki Salemi from the Examiner suggests that “as long as Gaga throws herself into losing weight the same way she perseveres with music, something tells us she’ll trim down in no time flat!” Lady Gaga writes, records and performs music. That is her career and that is how she makes money. To suggest that she should spend an equal amount of time worrying about her weight as she does on her music in order to keep complete strangers happy is ridiculous. If someone wants to criticize her, they should critique her music or her performances. Being a music critic is a real job. Policing women’s bodies is not a real job, and if that’s what you do for a living I suggest you find a new profession.
When I first saw these articles I felt sad for Lady Gaga. The articles were cruel, and no human being deserves to be treated that way, celebrity or not. My next reaction was one of anger and frustration because our society continues to waste so much cultural energy tearing women down based on how they look. Lady Gaga is an incredibly successful musician, but our culture still insists on reducing her to her body, regardless of how powerful or talented she is.
However, it appears that Lady Gaga doesn’t need my sympathy, instead she deserves my applause. She’s started a project called “Body Revolution” on her social networking site littlemonsters.com. Last week, Gaga posted pictures of herself on the site, in nothing but her bra and panties with the captions “Bulimia and anorexia since I was 15” and “But today I join the BODY REVOLUTION. To Inspire Bravery. And BREED some m$therf*cking COMPASSION.” She then urged her fans to be brave and post a photo of them that celebrates their triumph over insecurities. I am impressed. She could have easily just claimed the images were photoshopped and trashed the tabloids (rightfully so). But she didn’t; she took a stand, for both herself and her fans.
I’ve seen a lot of misguided body image campaigns. To combat the pressure in our society to be thin we’ve come up with the “real women have curves” motto. Multiple images claiming that Marilyn Monroe should be the beauty ideal, and not size 0 models, have circulated my Facebook newsfeed. While this may invert current beauty ideals, it still upholds the idea that there is an ideal or a standard in the first place. It’s well-intentioned but doesn’t actually help women out at all.
Lady Gaga’s Body Revolution is something I can get behind. Instead of telling her fans to “love their curves” or be “real women,” Gaga is saying “screw beauty standards altogether and just accept and love yourself the way you are.” So far the project seems to be a success. Little Monsters of all sizes, some bald, some disabled, some with scars, are all posting their pictures. We can all be a part of this revolution, whether that means rushing onto her website to post half-naked pictures of ourselves or simply refusing to buy tabloids that think a woman gaining weight is front page news. And before you comment on another woman’s body, remember: We could all use some m$therf*cking COMPASSION.