Even people who couldn’t care less about football (can someone please remind me which teams were playing again?) tuned into watch Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl halftime performance. And it didn’t disappoint. In addition to belting out a medley of hit songs including “Born This Way,” “Poker Face,” and “Bad Romance,” she included subtle but powerful political messages of inclusion and activism. But the most jaw-dropping aspect of Gaga’s performance was her amazing stunts, which ranged from bungee jumping to aerial and trapeze tricks that were worthy of a Cirque de Soleil show.
Nevertheless, Lady Gaga was body-shamed for her Super Bowl performance by social media users who criticized her “tummy rolls” by telling her to get a bigger-sized outfit.
One person even posted a photo of Pillsbury biscuits gushing out of their package with a caption claiming it was a photo of Gaga’s stomach.
First of all, let’s state the obvious — it’s physically impossible to perform superhero-level stunts without your stomach moving. It’s pretty depressing and disheartening that some people chose to focus on this so-called “problem area” instead of, you know, Gaga’s amazing performance. Luckily, her fans came to her defense and schooled the haters.
These are just a few examples of people who were quick to point out that body-shaming is ridiculously problematic and damaging.
A number of fans described Gaga’s body as “normal,” “perfect,” or “real.” Although the sentiment absolutely comes from the right place, it’s important to remember that all bodies fit this description.
Body-shaming a person like Gaga (who is, by most people’s standards, in great shape) is no worse than criticizing a plus-size man or woman because weight is not an accurate indicator of overall health and all bodies are beautiful.
It’s similar to the statement “real women have curves.” Plenty of women do, and their curves are beautiful and should be celebrated — but some women are naturally “ruler-shaped.” Their bodies are also very real, normal, and gorgeous.This isn’t the first time social media trolls have taken aim at Lady Gaga’s body — in September 2014, she posted an Instagram photo of herself clad in a bathing suit for a midnight swim and received a barrage of comments from people who criticized her “weight gain.”
She responded on Twitter in the perfect manner — by pointing out that shallowness is the truly ugly quality, and we should focus on actual problems, like the people starving in the world, rather than a celebrity who may or may not have gained a few pounds.
Then, she took to Instagram again with a photo captioned, “Proud at any size, because the inside is what really counts.”
Gaga undoubtedly knew that her body would inevitably be criticized by at least a few body-shamers due to her Super Bowl outfit. I give her major credit for not letting that stop her from wearing a revealing costume that she felt comfortable in. It is especially powerful considering her openness about her own eating disorder recovery, having struggled with bulimia and anorexia in the past.
Like the singer and millions of other women and men, I’m in recovery from an eating disorder — and in 2012, Gaga addressed eating disorders at “It’s Our Turn,” a conference held at the Brentwood School in Los Angeles.
Nearly five years later, it’s inspiring to see that she’s embraced her body and encourages other women to do the same. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like body-shamers are going away anytime soon — but the best thing we can do is stand up to them. We must never let anyone make us feel inadequate simply because we don’t perfectly fit society’s cookie-cutter image of “the perfect body.”
And if you somehow missed it, definitely watch Gaga’s incredible performance ASAP.