Lizzo diet culture

Don’t get mad at Lizzo, get mad at the toxic diet industry

The problem is deeper than Lizzo sipping a green juice

Last night Lizzo posted a series of videos of what she was eating in a day. Her meal plan included green juices, alkaline water, detox supplements, vegan protein bars, apples and peanut butter and beauty water. At the end of the video she explained she had been following the same meal plan for 10 days and showed her “transformation” from day one to day 10. And then the internet exploded.

People were saying how disappointed and let down they felt. One Twitter user tweeted saying it was so damaging to young girls, they said: “Ugh, Lizzo is on a BS juice cleanse and posting before and after photos on Insta and this shit is so damaging to young girls. I am profoundly disappointed.”

Whereas others were defending her actions and said everyone should let her live her life. Someone on Twitter wrote that Lizzo is not trying to achieve a beauty standard, they wrote: “Bitch, just leave @lizzo be. She is trying to do something good for HER, not trying to achieve a beauty standard, but make herself comfortable with who she is so just stop.”

The sentiment is clearly echoed by Lizzo who posted a video last night responding to the backlash, saying she was “proud of herself” and felt like a “bad bitch”.

Whatever you think Lizzo is doing wrong or right with her body, the problem here isn’t Lizzo, it’s the toxic diet industry.

Lizzo has never wanted to be the leader of the body positivity movement, stop trying to make her it

Much of the critique thrown at Lizzo was that with her large social media following she should be more responsible with the content she posts. But this is precisely the problem, Lizzo never set out to become a spokesperson for body positivity movement and the problems of diet culture should not rest on her shoulders.

Last night she went on TikTok and Instagram to address the backlash. Lizzo said she was ashamed and afraid to share this 10 day detox plan. She said the reason she had decided to do the days of juicing was to “reset” her stomach and that she should be allowed to do whatever she wants with her own body.

She said: “I feel like as a big girl, people expect if you are doing something for health, you’re doing it for a dramatic weight loss, and that is not the case.

“In reality, November stressed me the fuck out. I drank a lot, I ate a lot of spicy things and things that fucked my stomach up. I wanted to reverse it and get back to where I was.

“I’m so proud of myself. I’m proud of my results. My sleep has improved, my hydration, my inner peace, my mental stability, my fucking body, my fucking skin, the whites of my eyes, I feel and look like a bad bitch and that’s it.”

Yes Lizzo has a big social media platform and so maybe should have considered the effect her post could have. However so do hundreds of other influencers and celebs who try to sell us products under the guise of health, who do not get anywhere near the same level of hate. It is maddening to think that after all this time, the person who is getting thrown so much hate for playing a teeny tiny part part in diet culture is a young black woman. And yet sadly it is not surprising.

She is just a person with her own thoughts, feelings and insecurities. Lizzo should not be held up as the leader of the body positivity movement or as a self love activist simply because of her size. In fact she has literally spoken out saying she does not want to be an activist because she’s “fat and black”, that instead she wants to be an activist because she’s “intelligent” and “cares about issues.”

The diet industry deserves your anger, not Lizzo

You may be disappointed that Lizzo has “let you down”, but imagine how exhausting it feels to constantly have your body up for debate and scrutiny. The body you simply exist in is held up as the example of self love. How draining must it feel to be seen as a beacon of hope for millions of people who have made you their icon when that was never your intention.

Our disappointment and anger towards Lizzo is misplaced. Rather than hating on a woman for existing and doing what she wants, be mad at the constant pressure she faces to be an example of self love. Most importantly be mad that in 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic, diet culture is still being shoved down our throats.

Be annoyed that every time you click on Instagram you’re likely to be bombarded with tummy teas and shakes. Be pissed off that phrases such as “beauty water” and “reset stomach” have become a normalised part of our vocabulary.  You cannot reset your stomach, it is not a computer to be switched on and off again.

Channel your frustration at the wellness industry who tell us whatever your size you could be happier if you just bought this one supplement. Question why we have all bought the myth that having clearer skin and a good night’s sleep, supported by a number of products, will make us better, happier and healthier individuals.

Be mad that toxic detox culture has us all believing a green juice and herbal teas are the solutions to our problems, when in reality these products are simply that, products designed to make people money. We need to move away from the idea that green juices, detox pills and vegan bars are the epitome of health. In fact it’s just the 90s diet culture hidden under the cloak of wellness.

Lizzo is receiving an unprecedented amount of backlash for the same thing so many other celebs do

Over the past year we have seen celebs such as Rebel Wilson and Adele lose weight. Rebel Wilson in particular documenting it all on her Instagram over the last few months. And yet where is the hate? Where is the disappointment? Where is the Twitter outrage?

Is she exempt from judgement because she lost weight in a “healthy way” i.e. working out with a personal trainer? Or is it because she’s white?

via Instagram @lizzobeeating

I’m not saying we should now all go pile on Rebel Wilson. No one deserves hate, particularly for just living their life and doing what feels good for them. But what has to be acknowledged is the difference in response to the two women’s “health journeys”.

Is it because Lizzo is a black woman who is held to a higher standard than the rest of us? Arguably so. Or is it because Lizzo is trying to become “healthy” using methods that are part of toxic diet culture? Quite possibly.

And if that is the case, then don’t get mad at Lizzo. Be mad at the toxic diet culture that has sold us all the promise that health and happiness can be achieved with a green juice.

Featured image credit via Instagram @lizzobeeating

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