You've probably heard about the "scandal" that is Lizzo making a choice for her own health and wellness that droves of internet commenters, the majority of whom are white women, are upset about. And if you didn't — here's what happened. Lizzo chose to follow JJ Smith's 10-day smoothie cleanse after drinking and eating foods that "f*cked my stomach up in Mexico," causing her to experience gastrointestinal issues and decided to document her experience on TikTok. Then all hell broke loose.
People flocked to her social media platforms, leaving her comments on why her choice to do a cleanse was wrong, and began writing Twitter think pieces to further defend their comments. Media companies, POPSUGAR included, used this as an opportunity to cover Lizzo's choice and remind people that detoxes aren't necessary, reinforce diet culture, and can trigger those who have a history of disordered eating. All of these things are true but what I believe was left out of most of this commentary is that Lizzo is a grown-ass woman who can do whatever she wants, and we need to stop policing the Black body, Black women's bodies, and the bodies of Black women who identify as fat.
Policing of the Black woman's body didn't start with Lizzo and, sadly, it won't end with her either. It's happened to Serena Williams, Misty Copeland, Caster Semenya, Gabourey Sidibe, and countless other Black women. If a Black woman's appearance doesn't meet European beauty standards, they're bound to be subjected to racist commentary about how they look and on the receiving end of unsolicited "advice" as to how they can meet those standards.
If you disagree with Lizzo's choice, ask yourself this: are you mad about the cleanse or are you mad because she's a Black woman who loves herself in every stage of life and does what she wants with her body regardless of what others think she should or shouldn't be doing?
In a recent Instagram post in support of Lizzo, Danielle Brooks captioned, "Just like Lizzo, and so many other 'fat' girls we should be allowed to make healthy choices publicly without being made to feel like frauds for trying to be healthy." Brooks continued, sharing that she too is doing diets and cleanses and "making all kinds [of] healthy choices" after giving birth in 2019.
And for all the self-proclaimed Twitter and Instagram health experts who are fixing their lips (in the words of my granny) and fingers to give their unwarranted advice and opinions, stop. Although Brooks, Lizzo, and other people who live in bigger bodies don't owe anyone an explanation behind their choices, Brooks said she's doing these things, "Not because I don't love myself now but because I DO love myself, my body and my mind. [Because] I want to continue to feel strong and sexy without catching 'the sugars' or any other disease."
Lizzo also went on to defend her choice in the Instagram post above, stating, "I detoxed my body and I'm still fat. I love my body and I'm still fat. I'm beautiful and I'm still fat. These things are not mutually exclusive." She also asked people who look to her to not starve themselves, further explaining, "I fed myself greens and water and fruit and protein and sunlight."
I hate that Lizzo had to deal with this criticism, once again, and defend her choices, and I can't help but wonder if a white woman who lives in a bigger body would have been ridiculed, scrutinized, and held to the same standards as Lizzo has been over the past few days and since coming into the public spotlight. Society has a lot to learn when it comes to accepting bodies that don't meet their size expectations and the health choices of people who identify as fat, especially those who are Black women, and I hope this discourse is a starting point.