8During Super Bowl LI’s Halftime Show, it took all of about two minutes for people to take to Twitter to body shame Lady Gaga for her supposed “belly rolls.”
They spewed their hate, which was then met with backlash from fans, and in the ensuing aftermath, the conversation changed from, “What an amazing, athletic performance!” to “Lady Gaga got shamed for her belly!”
On the one hand, it was refreshing to see so many people denouncing the shamers and applauding Gaga’s (clearly fit) body, but on the other hand, it was infuriating to realize that peoples’ physical appearances are still deemed “more important” and worthy of conversation than their competencies and talents.
And finally, it was distressing to witness such a clear disconnect between peoples’ perceptions of idealized physical perfection, and what it actually looks like to be physically fit.
The truth is, being physically fit does not mean looking like a supermodel, and as clinical psychologist Dr. Yvonne Thomas points out, the “supermodel body” is often attained through decidedly unhealthy actions, including binging, purging, extreme restriction of calories, using laxatives, or exercising excessively. In other words, the pursuit of the “perfect body” is often entirely different than the pursuit of a healthy body.
And yet, a healthy body is what’s most important, and what that looks like, is different for everyone.