This story originally appeared on ELLE AUSTRALIA
There’s no denying it: women and girls are socially conditioned from a very young age to feel that most of their value comes from their looks and bodies.
The scrutiny (both external and internal) can be unrelenting, and if you are a celebrity who is constantly in the public eye—with paparazzi following your every move and criticisms being brutally levelled at you from all directions—it’s arguably more so.
That said, there are a number of strong, badass A-listers who’ve spoken out and stood up for themselves (and all women) in the face of body shaming.
A voice for body positivity since the dawn of her career, Lizzo has taken calling out body shaming to a whole new—and stunning—level. Sharing an unedited naked selfie to her Instagram, the “Good As Hell” singer wrote of how she typically edits photos of herself, but this time, she wanted to show the real her.
“WELCOME TO TAURUS SEASON,” Lizzo wrote in the caption. “To celebrate I wanna give y’all this unedited selfie… now normally I would fix my belly and smooth my skin but baby I wanted show u how I do it au natural.” Also sharing the unedited image to celebrate the Dove Self Esteem Project, her hope is that her honesty will “change the conversation about beauty standards.”
You can check out Lizzo’s stunning selfie below.
On February 28, Bridgerton star Nicola Coughlan attended the 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards, wearing a stunning canary-yellow tulle gown by London-based designer Molly Goddard and a black cardigan.
In response to her outfit, Amanda Richards, host of The Big Calf Podcast, tweeted about Coughlan’s look, saying: “The fat girl from Bridgerton is wearing a black cardigan at the Golden Globes, bc no matter how hot and stylish you are, if you’re a fat girl there will always be a black cardigan you think about wearing, then decide against, but ultimately wear bc you feel like you have to.”
Of course, Coughlan wasn’t going to take the distasteful comment lightly. Only hours later, Coughlan responded to Richards’ tweet, saying, “I thought the cardigan looked ace, Molly Goddard used them on her runway with the dresses that’s where the idea came from, also I have a name.”
On May 14, 2020, the reality star and POOSH founder kindly clapped back against an Instagram user who commented “SHE’S PREGENANT 🎉🎉” on a photo of her reclining in a bikini.
“This is me when I have a few extra pounds on, and I actually love it. I have given birth three amazing times and this is the shape of my body,” she commented in response.
Kardashian elaborated on the incident in a POOSH YouTube video a week later, saying that “we’re all shaped differently” and that she tries not to let such comments get to her.
“I commented back and said, ‘This is the shape of my body. I gained a few pounds over this quarantine time and I love my body and I’m proud of my shape and I’m obviously posting it and this is the shape of my body.’ I don’t think I look pregnant at all,” she said.
“We’re all shaped differently and that’s my body and I’m proud of it so that’s how I respond to the negative comments. It’s not always easy.”
“Sometimes I can be more sarcastic but I think kill them with kindness is my motto and try not to let those comments affect you and if they do and you know that, then don’t look at comments. I know it’s easier said than done, but really try to keep the positivity for your mental health.”
Famous for her messages of self-love and body positivity, Lizzo has never been one to shy away from speaking out for what she believes in. And on June 10, 2020, the “Good As Hell” singer dropped a TikTok video showing off her workout routine while specifically slamming “fat shamers”.
“Hey, so I’ve been working out consistently for the last five years and it may come as a surprise to some of y’all that I’m not working out to have your ideal body type. I’m working out to have my ideal body type,” she said in the video
“And you know what type that is? None of your fucking business because I am beautiful, I am strong, I do my job and I stay on my job.”
She continued: “So next time you want to come to somebody and judge them whether they drink kale smoothies or eat McDonald’s, or work out or not work out, how about you look at your own fucking self and worry about your own goddamn body because health is not just determined on what you look like on the outside. Health is also what happens on the inside—and a lot of y’all need to do a fucking cleanse for your insides.”
“Namaste, have a great day,” she finished in the clip, which was captioned “if you’re not a fat shamer… keep scrolling… ok now that all the fat shamers are here”.
You can watch Lizzo’s brilliant clap back in the video below.
if you’re not a fat shamer… keep scrolling… ok now that all the fat shamers are here 🧚🏾♀️✨
Rumours claiming that the Riverdale star was pregnant began circulating online in 2018 after a photo of her and her co-star boyfriend Cole Sprouse surfaced on social media. And while she certainly owed nobody an explanation, Reinhart decided to pen an inspiring response on Instagram to shut things down.
“It’s unfortunate that one unflattering photo of my stomach circulating the internet causes hundreds of people to think that I’m pregnant,” she wrote in her Stories.
“Nope. Not pregnant,” she continued.
“My body is something that I will NEVER apologize for. My body will constantly go through change. And so will yours. And that’s fine. So let’s not put so much time and effort into caring about a stranger’s figure.”
Rihanna deftly silenced body shamers on Twitter who criticized her physique and said the star had to have been “pregnant” (sensing a theme here?) following her 2018 Grammy Award performance.
How did she do it? With a single, well-timed meme on Instagram featuring rapper Gucci Mane at different sizes, including the words: “If you can’t handle me at my 2007 Gucci Mane, you don’t deserve me at my 2017 Gucci Mane” (see below).
“When it suddenly hits you that your lady doesn’t have any ASS,” the meme read, accompanied by a paparazzi photo of a swimsuit-clad Teigen holding her daughter Luna at a side profile, while her husband, John Legend, looked on.
In response, Teigen tweeted: “It’s been 13 years, and he knew the first night we met :).”
“Everyone so used to ass shots and photoshopped instagrams. I’ve had no ass forever—is this new news to some of you?”
Can we just hand her the crown for Queen of Clap Backs? In late April 2020, Teigen justifiably put Twitter trolls in their place for shaming her for her “square” shape and “sagging” breasts after she posted a jokey, self-confessed “thirst trap” video to her social media.
“Everyone used to….surgically enhanced curves. I’ve been a square my whole life and let me tell you, it’s paid off nicely in many ways!” she responded via Twitter.
“Imagine if one day I showed up with hips and an ass. Ooooo you guys would be pissed then too!
“I’m happy, John’s happy, we all happy and doing a-okay!”
Body neutrality advocate and actress Jameela Jamil shared support for Teigen at the time, tweeting: “I loved the video. Didn’t see a shape. Just saw fire.”
Teigen responded to The Good Place actress, saying “Thank u 😦 I’ve gotten used to my right angle bod, you’d think people have seen it enough that it doesn’t shock them anymore but nope lol ❤️.”
What do you do if you are Queen Bey and getting body shamed? Write a smash hit song to remind women that there’s nothing wrong with their bodies, of course. Enter: “Bootylicious”.
As it turns out, the former Destiny’s Child lead co-penned the track following backlash she’d been receiving for her fluctuating weight at the time (she was just 18).
“I wrote that because, at the time, I’d gained some weight and the pressure that people put you under, the pressure to be thin, is unbelievable. I was just 18 and you shouldn’t be thinking about that,” she said in an interview with Shape magazine.
“You should be thinking about building up your character and having fun, and the song was just telling everyone to forget what people are saying, you’re bootylicious. It’s a celebration of curves and a celebration of women’s bodies.”
The Silver Linings Playbook star has never been one to mince her words, so when body shaming producers told her she was “fat” and that she’d “get fired” if she didn’t lose weight, her response was classic J-Law:
“If anybody even tries to whisper the word ‘diet,’ I’m like, ‘You can go fuck yourself’,” she told Harper’s BAZAAR U.K. (quote via The Guardian)
If their horrific ‘suggestion’ wasn’t enough, the actress also revealed the brutal way in which the producers tried to convince her to go on a diet.
“They brought in pictures of me where I was basically naked, and told me to use them as motivation for my diet. They thought that because of the way my career had gone, it wouldn’t still hurt me,” she said.
While she might be one of fashion’s biggest faces today, Gigi Hadid did not have the easiest start thanks to body shaming early in her career. A former volleyball player (who qualified for America in the Junior Olympics), Hadid has opened up on multiple occasions about being told she didn’t have a “runway body” because she looked too athletic.
“[Jean Paul Gaultier] was the first designer that let me walk on a runway in Paris, it was in his last ready-to-wear show,” told i-D magazine in February 2020.
“At the time, I was still starting out in my career, I was coming out of high school, I still had my volleyball body.”
“I knew how hard I worked to have those muscles, to be curved in those places—I kind of miss it now,” she added. “At the time, people were hard on me and tried to say that I didn’t have a runway body.”
The model, who in 2016 revealed she suffers from Hashimoto’s disease (a debilitating thyroid disease that impacts metabolism) also slammed body shamers in 2015 via a lengthy Instagram post, writing:
“No, I don’t have the same body type as the other models in shows… I represent a body image that wasn’t accepted in high-fashion before, and I’m very lucky to be supported by the designers, stylists, and editors that I am: ones that know this is fashion, it’s art; it can never stay the same. It’s 2015. But if you’re not one of those people, don’t take your anger out on me.”
You can see Hadid’s complete response below.
Jennifer Aniston knows a thing or two about tabloid scrutiny, having been the subject of pregnancy rumours on more than one occasion throughout her extensive career.
In 2016, the Friends star wrote an eloquent essay in The Huffington Post titled “For The Record” to shut down rumours and defend women everywhere who’ve experienced shaming.
“For the record, I am not pregnant. What I am is fed up. I’m fed up with the sport-like scrutiny and body shaming that occurs daily under the guise of ‘journalism,’ the ‘First Amendment’ and ‘celebrity news,’” Aniston wrote.
She continued: “If I am some kind of symbol to some people out there, then clearly I am an example of the lens through which we, as a society, view our mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, female friends and colleagues.
“The objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing. The way I am portrayed by the media is simply a reflection of how we see and portray women in general, measured against some warped standard of beauty.”
It’s hard to believe that anyone would shame someone for having scars after a kidney transplant, but that’s exactly what one hater did to Selena Gomez on a bikini photo she posted in March 2018.
Gomez, however, responded with kindness, sharing a post with the caption:
“The beauty myth- an obsession with physical perfection that traps modern woman in an endless cycle of hopelessness, self consciousness, and self-hatred as she tries to fulfill society’s impossible definition of flawless beauty. I chose to take care of myself because I want to, not to prove anything to anyone. Wind in her sails. 🌈💜”
Also one to have slammed body shaming on multiple occasions, one of Adele’s most notable shutdowns called out the sexism that’s inherently involved in commenting on or asking about women’s bodies and weight.
“I’ve always been asked questions about my body and my weight and my size and my style and stuff like that,” she told 60 Minutes Australia in 2015.
“It’s a little bit annoying that men don’t get asked that question as much. But other than that it seemed to astound people that I was plus size and being successful, that was how I felt.”
Even though she’s widely regarded as one of the fittest women in Hollywood (Jennifer Lopez’s diet and exercise routine is no joke), the Hustlers star was told early in her career that she had to lose weight if she wanted to work.
“They kept telling me to lose weight,” Lopez told E! in 2016.
“And I was a dancer, and I was athletic and even my manager at the time, who I no longer work with, um, was telling me, ‘You need to lose weight. You need to be thinner’.”
Lopez, however, was not having it and pushed back: “I was like, ‘No I don’t. If I lose any more weight it won’t be me.’ You know what I mean?”
Oscar-nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe clapped back at ‘critics’ who slammed her appearance at the 2014 Golden Globes. In response, the Precious star tweeted:
“To people making mean comments about my GG pics, I mos def cried about it on that private jet on my way to my dream job last night. #JK.”
A body positive icon and embracer of stretch marks, supermodel Ashley Graham has no time for people’s unnecessary words about her physique.
In late 2017, the model shut down commenters who came for Graham after she posted a video of herself exercising at the gym, with one user cruelly saying she was “still fat tho”.
“Every time after I post a workout video I get comments like, ‘You’ll never be skinny, so stop trying,’ ‘Don’t workout too hard, you’ll get skinny,’ ‘Why would you want to lose what made you famous?’” she responded in a second post.
“Just for the record, I work out to: stay healthy, feel good, get rid of jet lag, clear my head, show big girls we can move like the rest of ’em, stay flexible and strong, have more energy.
“I don’t workout to lose weight or my curves, because I love the skin I’m in.”
After Instagram users began telling Ruby Rose she needed to “eat a burger” in response to a photo she shared of herself to her page, the Orange Is The New Black star took to her Instagram Stories to address the concern trolling head on.
“Body shaming SHITS ME. It’s so frustrating,” she wrote.
“Not because I care about what someone thinks of my body. I love my body when I don’t work out and I am soft, and I love it when I train hard and feel strong. I hate it because it worries fans or shames them. I hate it because it uses no logic and basically is just someone projecting their experience and expectations on others.”
“I eat so much amazing food (I can’t believe I even have to write that sentence) I just don’t drink alcohol or eat processed food, or meat or dairy and I train every day. I’m plant based and stupidly healthy. I trained my ass off for 3 action films, I used to be a boxer. My body is just my body. It fluctuates and it changes depending on how hard I train.”
When tabloids published paparazzi photos of Tyra Banks in a swimsuit with the cover lines “Thigh-ra Banks” and “America’s Next Top Waddle” in 2007, she had some words for them.
“Kiss my fat ass,” she said on her now-defunct talk show.
In the same monologue, Banks explained how such media scrutiny was not only awful for her, but harmful to all women:
“I love my mama. She has helped me to be a strong woman so I can overcome these kind of attacks, but if I had lower self esteem, I would probably be starving myself right now. But, that’s exactly what is happening to other women all over this country.”
Kim Kardashian West
The reality star and makeup mogul is arguably one of the most photographed (and scrutinized) women in the world. And in 2016, Kardashian West penned an essay to tackle the unfair backlash she’d received over posting nude photos of herself to social media.
“I am empowered by my body. I am empowered by my sexuality. I am empowered by feeling comfortable in my skin,” she wrote on her website on International Women’s Day in 2016 (quote via Entertainment Weekly).
“It’s 2016. The body-shaming and slut-shaming—it’s like, enough is enough. I will not live my life dictated by the issues you have with my sexuality. You be you and let me be me.”
After she performed at the Super Bowl halftime show in 2017, Lady Gaga faced an onslaught of backlash over her weight. In response, the “Born This Way” songstress shared a photo on Instagram with a simple yet poignant message:
“I heard my body is a topic of conversation, so I wanted to say, I’m proud of my body and you should be proud of yours too,” she wrote in the caption.
“No matter who you are or what you do. I could give you a million reasons why you don’t need to cater to anyone or anything to succeed. Be you, and be relentlessly you. That’s the stuff of champions.”
After experiencing post-pregnancy weight shaming in 2013, The Good Place actress served up some wise words in response:
“I am not a woman whose self-worth comes from her dress size… Comparison is one long, agonising death and does not interest me at all,” she said in an interview.
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