Someone being visible online is not an invitation to talk about their body
Ariana Grande went on TikTok to discuss speculations about her body. “I just want to address your concerns about my body and talk about what it means to be a person with a body and to be seen and be paid such close attention to,” she said.
Netizens had been noticing and commenting on the singer’s weight loss, making countless Reddit threads and social media posts on their observations and speculations about the changes in her body. Just searching “Ariana Grande weight loss” online yields thread after thread of people trying to guess why and using the change as proof of many different things: that she had an eating disorder, that her management was forcing her to lose weight, or that her marriage was on the rocks.
This came to a head last Tuesday when her cosmetics brand Rem Beauty uploaded promotional photos featuring the star.
So many fans took it upon themselves to comment on her appearance and call it unhealthy that it made headlines.
“I think be gentler and less comfortable commenting on people’s bodies,” the star said in her TikTok. “No matter what. If you think you’re saying something good or well-intentioned, whatever it is… We just shouldn’t.”
This is especially pertinent because many of the people commenting on her body said they did so to voice their concerns on her well-being and they were worried that she was unhealthy.
As The Tab points out, people may say that when they’re commenting on celebrities’ changing appearance it’s coming from a place of concern, but it’s more likely to come from nosiness. “Many people have a desire so fervent to be involved in a celebrity’s life the pressure won’t be satiated until a statement is made. That’s not fair.”
The truth is that as many strides have been made on body positivity, the pastime of criticizing famous female bodies hasn’t been eradicated. It’s just that instead of outright mockery and derision, these criticisms are framed as loving concerns. Now that it’s gauche to laugh at their bodies, the new de rigueur isn’t to stop talking about them but to be vocally worried about their weight loss or gain because “that must mean they’re not doing well :(”
The same thing happened recently to Selena Gomez, who famously suffers from lupus, whose weight gain was also heavily commented on by fans and the media. Like Grande, she too felt compelled to discuss the criticism and explain the changes in her body.
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Grande pointed out that despite people saying they were worried about her health, the appearance they said she should go back to was when she was at her unhealthiest. “The body that you’ve been comparing my current body to was the unhealthiest version of my body,” she said.
The singer and actress also stressed that one reason why you shouldn’t comment on someone’s appearance is that you don’t know what they’re going through. They most likely already know what they look like. If the change in their body is caused by them facing a tough situation, what good would it do to remark on it? And if the change wasn’t caused by a tough situation, what good would it do either? In both scenarios, you’re just putting unnecessary stress on a person. And, let’s be real, you’re doing that to a woman or femme-presenting person.
“There are many different kinds of beautiful. There are many different ways to look healthy and beautiful,” Grande noted in her TikTok. We should stop trying to put each other down, even if we think it’s for a good reason.
Photo from Ariana Grande and Rem Beauty’s Instagram
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