This time, Lizzo made headlines because she revealed that she had done a smoothie detox. Although Lizzo said it was for health reasons, critics still found crafty ways to express their disdain.
In the video “The Anatomy of Stan Culture”, author Elexus Jionde talks about celebrity worship culture in depth. Quoting Susan J. Douglass and Andrea McDowell, Jionde said, “When we judge celebrities and find fault in their actions, we have the opportunity to affirm our own moral codes.”
The high worship category is described as “overidentifying with a celebrity,” and this is where stans reside. The word Stan originates from rapper Eminem’s song about an obsessive fan who drives himself and his pregnant girlfriend off a bridge because Eminem won’t respond to him. In its colloquial usage, the word Stan elucidates the toxicity of celebrity worship culture.
With so much visibility into other people’s lives, we are able to live vicariously through celebrities in a way past generations have not. However, in living vicariously through celebrities, we subscribe our own ideals onto them and get upset when they do not fit the image we have created in our heads.
This is what happened with Lizzo.
Yet, society “pushed her to be the poster child of self-love and confidence” and Lizzo never asked to take on that role. Although there is more visibility for fat bodies, Sydney stated, this does not automatically make someone an activist or a fat activist. “We have to be more conscious of who we label as fat activists,” she advised.
She added that people have taken Lizzo’s journey as their own. “They made her this poster child for this mainstream body pos movement” and “she never asked to be that,” Sydney said. Because Lizzo has become this symbol, she faces a double-edged sword: she will be criticized by fatphobes when she chooses to embrace her weight, and she will be criticized by certain members of the fat community when she does something they perceive as promoting “toxic diet culture.”
When it comes to Lizzo, she has been the subject of heavy scrutiny for what she wears and what she does with her body. Sydney confessed that she was “sad” when she found out Lizzo was doing a detox but noted that, “Every fat Black person has been there,” or had moments when they might not like their body.
Really, Lizzo is damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t. Yet, beyond the scrutiny, one thing is very important to remember: Lizzo does not owe us anything. ~ℝ
Javanna Plummer, rwebel in chief
Javanna is the editor of “Rwebel Magazine,” the architect behind “Rwebel Radio,” and the pioneering force of “Xscape.” Through her words, Javanna hopes to inspire creativity, passion and forward-thinking.
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