*This blog post was originally published on The Daily Adventures of Paige in 2017.
I made a small post about this on Facebook a few days ago but I felt like it deserves more, especially since I have such strong feelings about this topic.
Some people (read: ignorant idiots) are shaming Lady Gaga for her "pooch" that was visible during the Super Bowl Halftime show. I'm sorry, were we watching the same show? I saw no pooch, what I say instead was an incredibly talented dancer and performer doing things in sky-high heels that I couldn't never hope to do in bare feet. She ran and danced and sang for 13 minutes, something that would leave most of us a huffing, puffing, sweaty mess. But some people think her stomach is what we should focus on. Those people can f*** off.
Body shaming is not okay. It's not okay to make fun of stars that will never hear (or even care about your opinions), it's not okay to hide behind the internet and make comments you would never say to someones face. It doesn't matter if Lady Gaga will never read your insults because you know what there are other people listening to and reading the thoughtless comments you make.
Let me tell you a real story. One day several years ago my two little sisters and I were watching CMT and Lady Antebellum was on the TV. The lead singer, Hillary Scott, had recently gained some weight (I actually think she was pregnant but that is besides the point). My two sisters spent several minutes commenting on how she looked and how much weight she'd gained and how fat she looked. I sat there nearly in tears. If they thought this beautiful woman on the TV in front of me was fat, what on earth did they think about me? So I asked them. "If she's fat, what does that make me?" They back pedaled so fast I actually find it funny now. "You're not fat Paige." "That's not what we meant." "You look great!" Yeah okay, like I was going to believe any of that after what I'd heard them say three seconds ago.
See it didn't matter that those comments weren't directed at me, they still hurt, because I can guarantee you I was fatter than Hillary Scott but if she wasn't pretty enough, then I definitely wasn't. It didn't matter that she had a killer voice and a successful music career, all that they were talking about was her weight.
The point of this story is not to make my sisters feel bad, but so everyone can see how these seemingly innocent comments and discussion can have an impact on people you know and love. I know there are people out there that will say we should be less sensitive and not take everything so personally, those people can go to hell. Why don't you try telling a third grader that is bullied because of her looks not to be so sensitive?
I want to cry for all the girls growing up in this age of social media. When I was a little girl I only had to deal with the mean things people were willing to say to my face, now people hide behind the internet and hurl insults at people they don't know and it is so sad. When all we do is critique a woman's appearance, regardless of what other amazing talents she may have, we send the message that looks are all that matter, that unless you look a certain way nothing else matters. A message little girls are getting loud and clear. Is that the message you want to send to your daughters? Your sisters? Your friends?
I don't have a daughter but I can guarantee you if I did those are not the things I would want her to learn about self-worth and body image. I would want her to know that she's beautiful no matter what, that beauty goes deeper than the surface, that there are more important things than thigh gaps and the size of jeans you wear, that her successes and failures in life do not hinge on her looks, that she is worth more than the opinions of ignorant people, that the number of likes on Instagram or Facebook don't equal happiness, and that is she loved and cherished whether she's a size 2 or a size 22.
The world is full of enough hate and discontent without tearing each other apart over nonsense like a belly pooch. Let's stop tearing each other down for things that don't matter and start celebrating each other for our difference's and unique talents because that's what makes this world a beautiful place.