J Reed, MFA is an adjunct English professor and writer from Chicago, who writes fiction, nonfiction and local and national news stories. Subscribe and share. Follow J Reed on Twitter @jreed913.
If you’ve been on social media, you’ve likely heard of Lizzo, the 34-year-old Minnesota rapper whose popularity has been growing. She’s actually a classically trained flutist as well. While some appreciate her music, others are turned off by the controversy she causes with her style of dress and behavior. Women have come to her defense when her critics made comments about her weight. While the heavyset Lizzo has come to represent the freedom women seek in body confidence, others say her behavior is shameful, but who’s right?
To Dress or Not to Dress
Even being plus-size, Lizzo is known for wearing revealing clothes that leave little to the imagination. Labia nearly exposed, Lizzo has performed in front large crowds in one-piece outfits without fear. Though she has a wave of support from her fans, others wonder why she has to dress so provocatively. Those who cringe when she pops up on television are offended seeing her dress in a way that inspires her young followers to do the same.
Her supporters note rappers before Lizzo like Lil Kim, Nicki Minaj, Cardi B and others use sex to sell albums. If no one complained about the other rappers before her, why should they complain about her? Actually, Lil Kim and Nicki Minaj as well as other female rappers face backlash for their overt sexuality and some of the clothing they wear.
One of the most prominent critiques of Lizzo’s provocative dress is, how Lizzo wears her clothes is the problem. For instance, in today’s pop culture, a thin guy wearing extremely baggy clothes may be mistaken for a bum. Skinny jeans – or at least jeans that fit well – are in. Lizzo wears clothes the wrong way. Instead of her clothes accentuating her curves, parts of her body spill out inappropriately through designer cuts in the fabric. Her critics are basically saying, wear what you want but be classy about it.
Others who disapprove of Lizzo are concerned about health risks associated with her weight. A couple years ago at the start of the pandemic, fitness expert Jillian Michaels asked, “Why are we celebrating [Lizzo’s] body?” Jillian followed up by saying, “… it isn’t going to be awesome if she catches diabetes.” None of Lizzo’s doctors have come forward to say Lizzo’s weight is killing her or putting her at a higher risk for disease. However, generally speaking, it’s well-known obesity can cause diabetes, heart disease and sudden death.
People came to Lizzo’s defense and claimed Jillian was “fatphobic”. Though Jillian issued a statement via Twitter acknowledging the beauty and worth of every person, she didn’t back down from her position that we shouldn’t be celebrating obesity, a deadly disease. Still, the wave of Lizzo fans accused Jillian of fat-shaming people. Jillian faced calls for her to be cancelled, and this brings up the issue of political correctness.
Jillian is a fitness expert who has worked on shows like The Biggest Loser in hopes of helping contestants lose weight. Her purpose in the public eye has always been to assist others in achieving healthier lifestyles through exercise and diet. Taken in context and considering who she is, her remarks matched with who she is and what she does. Even if her statements fell short of insulting or malicious, Jillian still dealt with the threat of being cancelled.
However, it seems those who defend Lizzo have given her an image immunity card and created a false reality in which being obese isn’t a potentially deadly medical issue; it’s promoted as her living her best life. It seems that she and her fans prefer living as if obesity doesn’t kill instead of addressing it. Her fans drag any person who says anything about Lizzo’s obesity.
Behind clothes doors, you can only wonder what’s happening in Lizzo’s personal life. Those who really care about her – those who know her personally – are likely concerned about her health and her image. It’s fine for Lizzo to live her best life. A person’s best life shouldn’t come before their health. Fans rarely see the signs which is why when singers such as Amy Winehouse made songs about refusing to go to rehab, fans didn’t know how serious her alcohol addiction was until it killed her. Until then, fans simply thought Amy was “living her best life.”
Lizzo is a rising star with so much more to accomplish, and she doesn’t have to overexpose her body to get there. How she dresses is up to her, and no woman should be judged solely by what she wears. Still, there’s a classy way to wear any article of clothing. With heart disease and other ailments arising from obesity, Lizzo must take her health seriously. Fans who encourage adverse health conditions don’t help. If you love Lizzo, you want her to live as long as possible. Lizzo has to dress better and take care of her health.