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?