Demi-lition Derby

Read this article about Demi Lovato the other day, and thought, “Well…that escalated quickly.”

The rundown: an Instagram artist drew a picture of Lovato several months ago as a topless mermaid. Lovato herself commented on the photo recently and said it was a “gorgeous” drawing, but that it wasn’t representative of her actual body. The internet being the internet freaked out, screenshotting Lovato’s response and praising her for once again being a champion of a “real woman’s body image.” The artist reposted the photo, telling Lovato that he hadn’t intended to suggest she or any woman should look like a mermaid and that she’d made him no longer proud of his work. Then another male artist on Twitter, in an attempt to embarrass Lovato, altered the drawing of Mermaid Demi to make her appear obese with drooping breasts, accompanying the drawing with the caption “Here b*tch.”

About a week later, the internet – the same internet that loved Lovato the previous week – lit her up over criticizing Taylor Swift’s squad for not projecting an attainable body type.

Then, hours after the Swift-squad interview was released, Lovato said she’s taking a break from the music business because she’s “not meant for this business and the media.”

Then Buzzfeed published a story the same day about Swift & Co. hinting around at releasing a secret album.

Do I think this is all a publicity stunt that someone is orchestrating behind the scenes to drum up Lovato’s and Swift’s popularity? When it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and sounds like a duck…

Regardless, if Lovato is being used to elevate Swift – even if they’re both aware that the put-down is all a show – that doesn’t sit well with me. It also doesn’t sit well with me that Lovato complimented an artist’s rendering of her, while clarifying that she doesn’t look like that in real life, then a man calls her a nasty name and tries to make her appear what he considers to be disgusting and unattractive.

So much wrong going on here.

In the interest of full disclosure, I don’t listen to Lovato’s music (not as a conscious choice or anything, I just listen to classic rock, mostly), nor do I listen to Swift’s music (by malicious, conscious choice). But Lovato has been open about her struggles with an eating disorder, and she has dedicated a lot of time in her career to vocalizing the importance of not giving in to pressure to be a certain size/weight/look. I can only imagine how I would feel if someone took it upon him/herself to give others the impression that I have a perfect Photoshopped body, which is most likely affecting how the viewers see their own bodies, while I’m out there trying to prevent that very thing.

Even worse, though, would be the crushing humiliation stemming from someone else exploiting my insecurities by portraying me as the very thing I had been terrified of becoming, all the while knowing that there’s nothing wrong with that body type. Not only would that send a hurtful message to me, it would send the same hurtful message to people who are afraid of being overweight and people who are overweight and worry about others’ opinions of their body. All it does is perpetuate the false belief that someone can’t be “too big” or “too skinny” to be awesome.

In Lovato’s case, it was a man coming to another man’s aid by degrading a woman, just so we’re all clear and didn’t miss that little tidbit.

Furthermore, one woman’s rise in popularity should not mean another woman must fall. For the record, this was Lovato’s comment:

“This will probably get me in trouble, [but] I don’t see anybody in any sort of squad that has a normal body. It’s kind of this false image of what people should look like.”

I can see how Lovato’s comment could be taken as harsh, but when you look at Swift’s squad or other celebrities’ squads, they all do look kind of…clone-ish. Swift’s squad, for example, with a couple exceptions – I’m thinking Lena Dunham, for one – is comprised mostly of tall, thin women who meet society’s standards of beauty. So was Lovato’s observation really that out of line?

We live in a world where anyone’s words can be misunderstood, twisted, manipulated and misinterpreted faster than ever before. There may be some of you reading this right now who get mad at me for the way I’ve worded something or for a view you think I’ve expressed. But with everything else that is going on in America and the rest of the world, do we really need to jump down some girl’s throat because she’s trying to claw her way through the muck of beauty standards?

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12 Replies to “Demi-lition Derby”

      1. Oh man, I can’t stand the political stands they have. Especially when they do it at the Oscar’s or some other huge platform. I remember when Patricia Arquette got up at her speech and politicked for women’s salaries on movies, etc. Not women’s salaries in all jobs, just movies. I thought, wow, okay that is a great platform for something like that.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I had to kind of chuckle at Ricky Gervais’ comment about Jennifer Lawrence speaking out about it earlier that year. Something like, “And women in various other jobs across the country are saying, ‘Exactly! How can a 24-year-old survive on only $20 million?'”

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      3. I understand everyone has their particular crosses to bear, but the last thing celebs should be complaining about is money. Lack of privacy or safety of their kids in the public, maybe, but money never.

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    1. The opinion of “attractiveness” changes so much over time. It’s refreshing to see celebrities challenging Photoshopped images of themselves on magazines and such so others don’t have to feel down on themselves for not looking like the totally fake image that’s just the designer’s idea of what’s beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I don’t think you worded anything badly, and I don’t think she did anything wrong by stating how the art made her feel.

    The problem lies in her quote about the squads.

    “I don’t see anybody in any sort of squad that has a normal body.”

    That is a horrible thing for someone against body shaming to say. Just because something is not your body doesn’t mean it’s not normal. That’s where the anti-shame crusaders lose my respect. The message should be to accept your body for its many different sizes and stages throughout your life.

    My sister is 7 years younger than me and has a completely different body. I was already a size 10 in high school, and am now an 18. She just hit into size 2 clothing in her freshman year of college.

    I can tell you the only ones who have ever said a thing about my body are my mom, my husband, and me. She has someone commenting on how she’s too skinny every few days. She eats unhealthy food and lots of it, then goes outside and sweats it all off. I think she’s beautiful, and she is always telling me I am not fat. 😛

    Everyone’s body is normal to their body. You don’t tell people they aren’t normal. She could damage the squad girls self esteem the same way the edited picture might damage hers. I don’t respect her. I think it’s a smart idea for her to take a break until she learns how to communicate more intelligently.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can definitely see that perspective. I don’t think anyone should be made to feel bad about how they look, especially if they can’t help what size their body wants them to be. I think the issue I have with a “squad” is that they often look alike. And that’s not normal. It seems that in Hollywood, people who society deems as “beautiful” stick together (Taylor Swift’s squad, even George Clooney’s buddies, for example), and that’s not healthy for people’s body image, either. If Demi Lovato shares more of that stance, you’re right, she should have clarified.

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      1. I don’t see anything wrong with the “squad” being similar to eachother. For marketing purposes, having some sort of similarity is good for creating a team element. It’s why girl groups in Korea give them shoes according to height. Tall girls get flats, short girls get pumps, everyone looks the same height.

        From a personal view, it’s none of our business who they surround themselves with. The conflict here isn’t who spends time with who. It’s saying that some people are normal but not others.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I guess I just don’t believe that some of these celebrities necessarily “choose” to call some of those people friends. I figure it’s all orchestrated to put tall, thin, attractive people together. I guess I’m just looking at a different issue in the whole situation.

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