It’s not all about Lady Gaga

I mean that both in the sense that Lady Gaga is not the one who should be given the most attention when it comes to body issues, and that the fact that Lady Gaga getting so much attention isn’t really about or ultimately caused by Lady Gaga. This is expanding a bit on a post by Nudemuse, and is maybe a bit more 101-friendly than her post.

I really agree with this quote from Nudemuse:

My problem is that not one of these people is actually fat and when actual fat people say the same fucking things we are excoriated, bullied, hated and told to die.

It’s been said before many times, but I’ll say it again: behavior that would cause concern (actual concern, not concern-trolling) and even be labeled as an eating disorder in a thin person is encouraged and recommended for fat people. People who are thin are supposed to love their bodies, but people who are fat are encouraged to hate them. People go around with the intent of shaming fat people because they are under the delusion that A) this will somehow reduce the number of fat people and B) this would justify their actions. A) is factually wrong; B) is morally wrong*. (Normal-weight-but-not-thin people, and inbetweenies, may get the same treatment as thin people and fat people respectively, but not as reliably.)

After Nudemuse blogged about it, I figured I’d go over to Jezebel and Bitch and see what all the fuss was about. Lady Gaga gained weight, and the tabloids talked about it (of course), and now she’s got a site called Body Revolution where people post pictures showing their body “flaws” and are told that they’re still pretty. Yeah, it would be nice if she acknowledged that other people have been doing work for a long time on body acceptance, fat acceptance, body image, and related issues, and gave them a shout-out. But it’s not really about what Lady Gaga does or doesn’t do. Of course the media will pay a lot more attention when a celebrity does it, and that’s partly or mostly the fault of the audience. And of course more celebrities are thin and white than not, and that’s also the fault of both the media and the audience. Even if Lady Gaga said, “Haha, I invented Fat Acceptance!” and proceeded to lift blog posts from Nudemuse and Snarky’s Machine and Tasha Fierce**, the only reason she would be able to get away with it is if the media let her get away with it, and the only reason they would do that is if their audience lets them get away with that.

It has some things in common with the casting of Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone–it’s not about Zoe Saldana. It’s somewhat about the director of and expected audience of that particular movie, but it may be mostly about the fact that they wanted to cast a big-name actress, and there wasn’t a big-name actress who looked very much like Nina Simone. It’s about the fact that movies don’t cast actresses who look like Nina Simone in lead roles; they don’t cast many black actresses in lead roles, and the ones they do cast tend to be thin and light-skinned. Some of it is due to over-cautiousness and unexamined racism in the studios, and some of it is due to the audience, but it’s a lot bigger than any one celebrity or actress.

*I was going to write, “IMO, morally wrong”. But this is my blog; obviously it’s my opinion. And if you disagree… well, this blog isn’t quite that 101-friendly.

**Not that she would do that; without looking closely at her new page (it seems you have to register), she seems to pushing a watered-down sort of acceptance, much like the rest of the media, and I’d be surprised if she had any pictures there of anyone who had a BMI greater than 25. I’d be happy to be proven wrong, though, if anyone knows that she has posted such photos.

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