Being in the public eye may have its perks, but it also comes with a dark side. Nowadays, body shaming is part and parcel of a life in the limelight, with anonymous (and not-so-anonymous) trolls taking aim at celebrity social media accounts around the clock. And while our favorite actors, models, singers, and entertainers may have followers in the hundreds of thousands—or even millions—many have been subjected to online abuse along with the messages of support from fans, and have spoken frankly about how it impacts their mental health.
Here, some notable celebrity quotes about body shaming.
“I just wanted 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 to be paid such close attention to,” Ariana Grande explained in a recent TikTok video, after she was papped while out and about in London. “I think we should be gentler and less comfortable talking about people’s bodies, no matter what. If you think you’re saying something good or well-intentioned, whatever it is—healthy or unhealthy, big, small, this, that, sexy, not sexy… We should really work towards not doing that as much.” With so many different kinds of beautiful in this world, her message was to check yourself before commenting on the way someone else looks – even if you think it’s a positive remark.
Did you know that Destiny’s Child’s smash hit, Bootylicious, was written by Beyoncé after she heard people criticizing her for putting on weight? “I was feeling a bit insecure from hearing some of the comments, and I woke up one day and refused to feel sorry for myself, so I wrote [it],” she has said. “It was the beginning of me using whatever life handed me and turning it into something empowering to other women and men who were struggling with the same thing.”
When Paulina Porizkova, a major ’90s model, posted a screengrab of a cruel, age-related comment made on Instagram by a male follower—stating that “at [her] age, [she] should be bathing in the love of [her] kids and grandkids, instead of… parading around half naked and acting like a 16-year-old”—she had the perfect response. “This comment is the reason why I do what I do,” she said, referencing the images she posts of herself, living life to the fullest at 58. She has since celebrated her svelte form wearing a lingerie set and cardigan, using the pointed hashtag: #sexyhasnoexpirationdate.
Selena Gomez has spoken out against body shaming many times, particularly with regard to comments about her weight. “Not a model, never will be,” she said in a TikTok video. “I tend to hold a lot of water weight, and that happens very normally, and then when I’m off [my medication] I tend to kind of lose weight… I just wanted to say and encourage anyone out there who feels any sort of shame for exactly what [you’re] going through, [when] nobody knows the real story… you’re beautiful, and you’re wonderful.” She has also celebrated her stomach rolls, as you can see above.
In between photos of her rather fabulous outfits on Instagram, Nicola Coughlan shared a poignant post with a simple request: “If you have an opinion about my body, please, please, don’t share it with me,” she wrote. “I am just one real-life human being, and it’s really hard to take the weight of thousands of opinions on how you look being sent directly to you every day.”
If you cast your mind back to 2021, you’ll remember that Adele graced the cover of British Vogue after a long hiatus spent out of the public eye, a period during which she lost a lot of weight. In the interview, she called out the intense scrutiny of her body by the media and fans. “People have been talking about my body for 12 years,” she said at the time. “They used to talk about it before I lost weight. But yeah, whatever, I don’t care… You don’t need to be overweight to be body positive, you can be any shape or size.”
Lizzo is unapologetically herself, which is just one of the reasons why the world loves her. But when trolls spread vicious false rumors that she had killed someone by stage diving, she addressed it. “I’ve seen a lot of annoying things about me on the internet, but the thing that bothers me the most is this rumor that I stage-dived at a concert and killed somebody,” she said. “That rumor is a lie, first of all. I’ve never stage-dived in my life and b*tch, how, killed somebody? Y’all really gonna put that on my name?”
When press attention focused on Madonna’s face after she made a speech at the Grammys earlier in the year, she lamented a “world that refuses to celebrate women past the age of 45, and feels the need to punish her [when] she continues to be strong-willed, hard-working and adventurous”. Madonna said: “Once again, I am caught in the glare of ageism and misogyny that permeates the world we live in… I have never apologized for any of the creative choices I have made, nor the way that I look or dress, and I’m not going to start. I have been degraded by the media since the beginning of my career… I am happy to do the trailblazing so that all the women behind me can have an easier time in the years to come.” Amen to that.
This article was originally published on British Vogue.
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