Celebrities

Lizzo just shut down harmful stereotypes about plus-size women in the best way

Lizzo is no stranger to speaking out about the issues that matter, and in a new interview, the trailblazing singer perfectly summed up the problem with stereotypes surrounding plus-size women.

If there’s one person who can always be relied upon to liven up a drab day, it’s definitely Lizzo. From her infectious pop songs and razor-sharp sense of humour to her inspiring messages of radical body acceptance on social media, the pop superstar has become a byword for joy.

Next month, the Grammy-winning musician is combining all of her pitch-perfect talents when she returns to the spotlight in Amazon Prime’s new series Watch Out For The Big Grrrls. Premiering on 25 March, the reality competition show follows Lizzo’s search for “confident, bad-ass women” to join the ranks of her backing dancer team for an upcoming world tour.

Discussing the show in a new interview with Variety, the singer shared an important message about the stereotypes surrounding plus-sized women and their performance abilities.

“I don’t think they’re doing it maliciously,” she said when asked what she makes of fans who tell her that they get tired watching her perform.  “I definitely think they’re conditioned to believe that bigger bodies don’t have enough stamina to perform at the level that I do.”

The singer then reflected on the historic lack of inclusivity in TV and film, and the deep-rooted stereotypes that see bigger bodies associated with laziness, passivity and inherent unhealthiness. 

“For decades, we have been depicted on television and in movies as ‘lazy’, and huffing and puffing while the other thinner characters are jogging. It’s fine. It’s a stereotype. I ain’t new to stereotypes.”

The singer also emphasised that she is determined to use her platform to shine a light on the toxicity of these stereotypes and give the body positivity movement another push in the right direction – simply by being visible and authentic in the public space.

“What I’m trying to do is dismantle every stereotype that I have the power to do,” she continued. “I’m destroying them by just living and being incredible all the time.”

Despite being a beacon of positivity, Lizzo also opened up about the corrosive effects of online abuse on her mental health. Speaking about a moment in the third episode of the new series in which she cries on Instagram Live, the singer revealed that she made a point of addressing her fans about a “very fucking racist and very, very harmful” comment that attacked “who I am as an artist and what I represent”.

Shirlene Quigley (Big Grrrl dancer) and Lizzo in the new Prime Video series.

“I went on Instagram Live,” she recalled. “I wanted to address the internet. I started talking about it — say you don’t like my music, cool. Say you don’t like my video, cool. But when you talk about me and my character and who I am, I’m coming for your ass.

“I used to hold in my emotions so much it was like a ticking time bomb,” she continued. “I said what I had to say, and I honestly felt better.”

The singer found catharsis, though, when she was able to return to rehearsals for the show and be surrounded by her “Big Grrrls”, the plus-size backing dancers who even have their own Instagram account.

“I got to walk into this room of women who looked like me and who would understand exactly what I’m going through, and I got to play the song [Rumors] and be in that moment with them,” she continued. “It genuinely moved me to tears. It was one of those things that happened in my life that was a blessing.”

Lizzo is on the hunt for women to join the elite ranks of the Big Grrrls and join her world tour in Prime Video’s new series.

The singer also reiterated her desire to improve representation of different body types in the music industry, adding that if another season of her show was to get the green light, it would be “out of necessity”.

“If I need more dancers, this is the only way I know how to get dancers,” she explained. “I’ve been watching the industry change slowly since I’ve been in the game. I’ve watched it change, which is encouraging. I see lots of size inclusion in commercials. I’ll be looking and see a big Black girl dancing in the front. Sometimes I’ll watch that shit and be like, ‘Did I do that?’

Lizzo, we have little doubt that you did absolutely do that.

Images: Getty; Amazon Prime

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