Janet Jackson had “nipplegate.” I think Lady Gaga now has “flabgate.” You know, after her flawless Super Bowl performance.
You’ve heard the drama. The “f” word has been mentioned – “fat.” As disgusting as that is to think about, this goes beyond a bunch of men body shaming a beautiful woman. Gaga is so very obviously slim, and if you think she’s “too fat,” what kind of message does that send everyone who is larger than a size 2? What message does that send your wife or daughter? Your mother or sister? These women do not deserve to feel shitty about themselves just because you feel it necessary to fat shame a skinny human. But, that’s not my main issue here. We all already know this problem exists. We know celebrities, females in particular, are held to godlike, unrealistic standards. We know these things and we’re already trying to combat them. No, “flabgate” raises another issue beyond immature males thinking they can critique a body that isn’t theirs. They noticed Gaga’s (totally normal) flab. But did you?
I noticed it. Right away, actually. But why? Why did my eyes fixate on Lady’s Gaga bare stomach after her quick costume change at Super Bowl LI?
Snagged from @ladygaga on Instagram
Now, don’t get me wrong – I loved her outfit. She rocked it. She rocked her body. I thought she looked amazing, as per usual. But – I immediately noticed the “flab” everyone has been discussing. And while I loved her even more for being comfortable and proud, parading her body around . . . why did I even notice it? Why did it matter so much? Why is loving our own bodies so rare that I am proud of a woman for confidently strutting her stuff? Why isn’t that just the norm?
I have been a huge fan of Gaga since her “Just Dance” days. You’ll (often) catch me bragging about how I once saw her for dirt cheap at a little club in Ybor, where she had a small but cute set, few costume changes, and fishnets ripped to hell. I also happen to own a lock of her wig hair. I guess you can say that I am a “little monster,” as she so affectionately refers to her fans.
“Little Monster” that I am, over the years I have learned a lot about her personal life through her interviews and social media. I know that she has suffered from depression, had a cocaine habit, and battled both bulimia and anorexia. Her ability to overcome all of this is part of the reason why I love her so much. It is also because of this that I am so proud of her for being able to flaunt her totally AMAZING body around on stage. She was oozing confidence while dancing, singing, and putting on a near perfect performance – living her childhood dream, might I add. Yet, we all noticed the totally normal, tiny bit of “flab” on her stomach.
Do I blame this on “diet culture?” Do I blame the photoshopped models on magazine covers? Why are my eyes so trained to focus on someone else’s body, before I recognize how freaking cute she looked in this outfit? Before I realized how much fucking WORK she put into this on-point performance? Why did her little bit of flab stick out to me, and why did it fill me with such PRIDE for Gaga? Flab and fat and chub are so natural and normal that they shouldn’t ever be something that “sticks out” (pun not intended!) and catches our eyes! We shouldn’t even give it a second thought. Everyone has it, and Gaga is a human being, not an exception.
The one thing I will say for myself is that at least I didn’t look at Gaga’s body and think, “I wish I looked like that.” I have been in that position in my past and I am proud that I am not only comfortable in my own body, but I am also no longer comparing myself to others. It took a long time for me to reach that point, and I know not everyone is at that point yet. One of the biggest issues I hope to tackle via No Diets, No Masters is to convey to our youth (and those adults still struggling) that comparison truly is the thief of joy; that every body is unique and that you should always love the skin you’re in.
Gaga tactfully addressed “flabgate” via her Instagram:
“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. 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. thank you so much everyone for supporting me. I love you guys. Xoxo, gaga”
Thank you, Lady Gaga, for pushing the mission of No Diets, No Masters without even knowing we exist. Thank you for being a true role model. THIS is what we stand for, “no matter who you are or what you do.” YOU DESERVE TO LOVE YOUR BODY.
Additionally, no one’s body, other than our own, is of any concern to us.
– Justine 🙂