Since 2010, Instagram has been helping the novice iPhotographers and selfie-takers imagine themselves as virtual Leibovitzes, using ready-made filters all for the fleeting praise of a “like.”
Then there’s Lizzo. Thank God(dess) for Lizzo. If you haven’t heard of Lizzo yet, consider yourself recruited.
Lizzo, as her devoted fans already know, is one of music’s most distinct voices in decades. Equally important, she is a powerful spokeswoman for body positivity and self-love. And her humor, sexiness—and dance moves that would make your grandmother blush —have helped her build a steadily growing following on Instagram @lizzobeeating. On this social media platform, she elevates self-love to an art form through a combination of unfiltered short videos, photos, and clever captioning.
One sample of Lizzo on Instagram is a raw video she shot of herself on her iPhone in her bathroom mirror. In it, she wears only a cropped tee and underwear, and grooves to her own song “Truth Hurts.” In the official music video, Lizzo marries herself after a break up, but on Instagram, she smiles at herself, admiring her own body in the mirror. While many Instagram users crop out parts of themselves that are deemed “unattractive,” whether it’s their stomachs, or their stretch marks, Lizzo embraces self-love.
In April, Allure featured Lizzo in the magazine’s “Disruptors” issue. In conjunction with this publication, Lizzo posted a picture from the magazine shoot with the caption:
FAT DOES NOT = UGLY. When someone calls themselves fat, please do not respond with ‘no you’re not, you’re pretty’ as if being fat and beautiful are mutually exclusive... Next time someone calls you fat, remember… having fat is beautiful…
FAT DOES NOT = UGLY. When someone calls themselves fat, please do not respond with “no you’re not, you’re pretty” as if being fat and beautiful are mutually exclusive. I’m here to shake the table, to dispel the false narrative that being ‘big’ is “bad” or more ‘unhealthy’ than being “small”—because it’s simply NOT TRUE. I’m not a Dr. and neither are you, so let’s not act like it. Love Yourself. Eat like you love yourself. Drink water like you love yourself. Dance and move your body like you love yourself. Next time someone calls you fat, remember you’ve got fat in your body, just like them. And having fat is beautiful. Thanks to @allure for recognizing my space in the beauty paradigm. *link in bio*
Lizzo’s uniqueness resides in her fearlessness as a musician and the far reach of her posts to devoted admirers. Her presence, both onstage and on social media, not only helps to recognize female musicians of size and color, but also validates and legitimizes self-love for all those daring to find it.
top photo: "Scuse Me" music video
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Joanna McNaney Stein is a queer mama, writer, and lecturer of English at CUNY Kingsborough Community College. Her previous work appears in Brooklyn Rail, Bitch Magazine, and Short Takes: Brief Encounters with Contemporary Nonfiction. Visit her website at www.joanna-stein.com or follow her on Instagram @joannafolk.