Being a celebrity means living in the spotlight, but it also comes with its share of criticism and scrutiny. And while not all comments deserve attention, some are met with courage and poise. Recently, pop sensation Ariana Grande took to TikTok to respond to comments about her body, and it was nothing short of admirable.
In a world where body shaming and negative comments are unfortunately common, Grande chose to rise above the noise. In the video, she addressed comments that had been made about her appearance with a thoughtful and gentle response. Instead of lashing out or ignoring the comments, the former Nickelodeon star tackled the issue with grace and candour.
“I just wanted to address your concerns about my body and talk a little bit about what it means to be a person with a body and to be seen and to be paid such close attention to,” said Grande after making it clear that she wishes she didn’t have to address these sentiments at all. The singer went on to emphasise that commentary on body and health isn’t helpful, as even seemingly positive takes are unwarranted and potentially harmful.
As per expert opinions, making comments about someone’s weight, regardless of intention, puts excessive emphasis on appearance as a measure of self-worth and value. Therefore, refraining from expressing thoughts and assumptions about others‘ bodies is often considered the most appropriate approach.
“There are many different ways to look healthy and beautiful,” she added.. “I know personally, for me, the body you’ve been comparing my current body to was the unhealthiest version of my body.” The pop star said the body that fans are assuming to be her “natural state” was actually a result of an unhealthy diet, taking antidepressants, and going through a difficult period in her life.
Grande concluded her statement with a heartfelt expression of love and a plea for others not to criticise her for the absence of her signature lashes and liner. She also highlighted an important lesson: “You never know, so be gentle with each other.”
The bottom line?
Mind your own dang business, people! Body shaming has become an unfortunate and prevalent issue faced by celebrities, as they often become easy targets for such criticism. Despite being in the public eye, does that make it acceptable? Absolutely not.
Many of us have felt a sinking feeling in our hearts when witnessing a friend or acquaintance fat-shaming a celebrity. It’s a stark reminder that the unrealistic standards imposed on public figures can directly impact our own mental well-being and self-worth. If someone deems a celebrity as “fat,” what does that mean for the rest of us?
It’s not just about fat-shaming either. Public figures can also face criticism for appearing too skinny or too muscular, leaving them caught in a constant cycle of scrutiny. If even A-listers are subjected to body shaming, it raises the question: what hope is there for the rest of us?
Thankfully, more and more celebrities are taking a stand against body shaming. Bridgerton star Nicola Coughlan took to Instagram in January 2022 to ask her followers to stop commenting on her weight, saying, “So just a thing – if you have an opinion about my body please, please don’t share it with me.”
Nicola’s post came just days after Clueless star Alicia Silverstone went viral on TikTok after calling out a paparazzi photo that referred to her as “fat.“ She posted an instantly-iconic clapback of her giving the camera a middle finger, with the caption, “Damn. I think I look good.” Most recently, Megan Fox brilliantly used sarcasm against an Instagram troll who shamed her after mistakenly confusing her tattoo for body hair. Facepalm.
Another celebrity who has never been afraid to call out body shamers is Lizzo. The ‘Rumours‘ singer appeared on The Zane Lowe Show in 2021, saying, “I feel like [being] fat is the worst thing people can say about me at this point,” she shared. “This is the biggest insecurity. It’s like, ’How dare a pop star be fat?‘ I had to own that.”
Despite being one of the most prominent faces in fashion today, Gigi Hadid has faced body shaming early in her career. As a former volleyball player who had a muscular and athletic physique, Hadid has spoken openly about being told she didn’t have a “runway body.” She shared in an interview in February 2020, “At the time, I was still starting out in my career, I was coming out of high school, I still had my volleyball body.” She also revealed that she missed her curves and muscles, and how people were hard on her and tried to criticise her body.
In 2015, Hadid took to Instagram to address body shamers, stating, “I represent a body image that wasn’t accepted in high-fashion before, and I’m very lucky to be supported by the designers, stylists, and editors that I am: ones that know this is fashion, it’s art; it can never stay the same.” She further added, “But if you’re not one of those people, don’t take your anger out on me.”
Another example is Jennifer Aniston, who is no stranger to facing tabloid scrutiny and pregnancy rumours throughout her career. In 2016, she wrote an essay titled ‘For The Record’ in The Huffington Post, where she expressed her frustration with the media’s treatment of women. She stated, “For the record, I am not pregnant. What I am is fed up.” Aniston further criticised the objectification of women, stating, “The way I am portrayed by the media is simply a reflection of how we see and portray women in general, measured against some warped standard of beauty.”
Also one to have slammed body shaming on multiple occasions, one of Adele’s most notable shutdowns called out the sexism that’s inherently involved in commenting on or asking about women’s bodies and weight. “I’ve always been asked questions about my body and my weight and my size and my style and stuff like that,” she shared in 2015.
“It’s a little bit annoying that men don’t get asked that question as much. But other than that it seemed to astound people that I was plus size and being successful, that was how I felt.”
Mindy Kaling is another actress who has revealed she experienced body-shaming behind the scenes. While appearing on Good Morning America, she revealed that a co-star on The Office advised that her character, Kelly Kapoor, should lose 15 pounds. “This is my greatest insecurity and someone just called it out,” she said. “It’s really devastating.”
She added how it only made her want to see all kinds of body types on-screen. “On TV, if you were really thin, then you could be the lead. Otherwise, you had to be like 250 pounds, and you had to be the slapstick comic relief,” she said.
Despite being only 20-years-old, Billie Eilish has long used her platform to hit back at body shamers. The singer opened her 2021 ‘Where Do We Go’ world tour with the following powerful statement:
“If what I wear is comfortable, I am not a woman. If I shed the layers, I am a slut. Some people hate what I wear, some people praise it. Some people use it to shame others, some people use it to shame me. While I feel your stares, your disapproval or your sighs of relief, if I lived by them, I’d never be able to move.
“The body I was born with, is it not what you wanted? If what I wear is comfortable, I am not a woman. If I shed the layers, I am a slut. Though you’ve never seen my body, you still judge it and judge me for it. Why?”
To conclude, the scrutiny (both external and internal) can be unrelenting, and if you are a celebrity who is constantly in the public eye—with paparazzi following your every move and criticisms being brutally flung at you from all directions—it’s arguably more so.
That said, there are a number of strong, badass A-listers who’ve spoken out and stood up for themselves (and all women) in the face of body shaming, and we commend them for doing so.