Lizzo and More: News or Opinion?

Let me preface this by saying that finding news articles on the relationship between musicians and body image was a pretty simple task – but finding opinion or analysis pieces was a little more of a struggle. You see, everyone wants to SEE these celebrities gaining weight, losing weight, coming to terms with their weight, etc. Yet having an opinion on it, the media must tread lightly. When it comes to opinion on body image, there’s only one “right” opinion – love yourself the way you are. As you will see, that’s the only light that members of the media want to personally shed on the topic unless they are willing to risk some scrutiny.

You may have heard of a singer named Lizzo. She is known for her songs “Truth Hurts” and “Good As Hell”. Besides her undeniable talent and vocal range, she has been in the spotlight lately because she is plus-size. Her music is often about having confidence in herself and owning her curves. This article in Life & Style magazine talks about how Lizzo has “come to terms with body dysmorphia and evolved”. Life & Style magazine can be lumped into the same category as any other celebrity gossip magazine. However, throughout the article, Copelton draws from interviews with Lizzo from sources like Rolling Stones and Elle, both of which are credible sources. While this dips it’s toes in news and opinion, I would say it leans closer to an news article. The point of this article was to report on Lizzo’s views of her body image, not to take a stance on the image.

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The next article is news in the same aspect: interviews, body image, a musical celebrity. US Weekly interviews singer Jessie James Decker about her post-birth body. Jessie talks about her weight gain, then explains that on her South Beach Diet (of whom she partners with) she was able to get fit again, along with limiting her food intake in general. If you read the article or watch the video, the interviewer is not voicing her opinion, it is primarily Jessie speaking about her journey. US Weekly can be quick to the trigger on celebrity gossip, whether it’s true or not. Many articles can be found that are “alleged” information. The only reason I trust this article is because they are directly interviewing the artist.

The first opinion piece I’d like to present is one written by Grace Dent for The Guardian. And who shows up again? Lizzo! See, I told you she’s been a hot topic. Dent talks about growing up in the 80’s when there wasn’t such a movement towards body positivity. She describes herself as “not terrifically big right now”, or in other terms she uses “half a Lizzo”. I generally trust The Guardian for news. A further search into the author and it turns out she has her own weekend column, so she’s had a lot of background writing for this news source.

Finally, I wanted to find an article written by a male on the topic of body image. It’s a little more difficult for men to have an opinion on a woman’s body image because well… he’s not a woman. That is why I found particular interest in this article by Nick Messitte in Forbes. Messitte focuses on a singer named Meghan Trainor who has the same “body positive” message as Lizzo. Trainor came out with a song called “All About That Bass”, referring to her behind and praises herself for having curves. She even refers to another group of girls as “skinny bitches”. While I personally have jammed out to this song more times than I’d like to admit, Messitte points out that she is monetizing on the body image trend and claims there is a “force-fed nature” to it all. He addresses the fact that this might not be popular opinion, “I suspect this claim will draw arrows from the bows of body-positive activists, some of whom will quickly damn me without reading this article all the way through, so let me lay something on the line right here…”, then continues to describe himself as a balding insecure man. I do trust Forbes as a resource, however he is marked as a contributor, so I’m not sure he has as much reliability as Forbes itself.