American pop star Ariana Grande released on Tuesday a TikTok video to voice her feelings about the comments she received about her body after recent paparazzi photos gained lots of attention on social media.
In the three-minute video, the musician said she wants to “talk a little bit about what it means to be a person with a body, and to be seen and to be paid such close attention to.”
She addresses body shaming and asks her fans to be more mindful when speaking about other people’s bodies, revealing that the body type that people are comparing her to now was when she was struggling the most.
“The body that you’ve been comparing my current body to was the unhealthiest version of my body. I was on a lot of antidepressants and drinking on them and eating poorly and at the lowest point of my life when I looked the way you consider my healthy, but that in fact wasn’t my healthy.
“I know I shouldn’t have to explain that. But I do feel like maybe having an openness and some sort of vulnerability here, good might come from it.”
The Grammy-winner added, “There are ways to compliment someone or to ignore something that you see that you don’t like, that I think we should help each other work towards. Just to aim towards being safer and keeping each other safer.”
She explained that people don’t know what others are going through, hence they should refrain from commenting on anyone’s body, even if it is coming from a loving or caring place.
“So be gentle with each other and with yourselves,” Grande said, ending her video with an empowering message to her followers, saying, “I think you’re beautiful no matter what you’re going through.”
This isn’t the first time she has addressed this issue. In 2015, the Thank U, Next singer shared a post on her Instagram account after seeing inappropriate commentary about herself and Modern Family star Ariel Winter.
“We live in a day and age where people make it impossible for women, men, anyone to embrace themselves exactly how they are,” she said in the post, concluding that “the things that make us different from one another make us beautiful.”
In a society where there is so much awareness about body shaming and the mental health issue it causes, there are still some people who feel the need to comment on others’ appearances and perpetuate toxic beauty standards. People are all beautiful no matter and no one should be judged or made to feel less because of what they look like.
When it comes to beauty standards, those often on the front line of receiving hate for not conforming to them are celebrities, especially women actors and singers. Many have opened up about the pressure and trauma that they go through while putting themselves out in the public and being criticised for their looks.
Unfortunately, this isn’t an issue limited to the West. There’s a long list of local artists who have faced this toxicity and some of them have addressed it. While talking to BBC Asian Network, actor Zara Noor Abbas opened up about how she has dealt with body shaming. “If you are going out and gymming, that’s fine. But if you are going to let them affect you and stop wearing what you wear, that’s when it’s concerning and negative,” she said.
The Badshah Begum actor shared her own experience where people advised her to “not wear jeans” or sleeveless because she was “so big” but that pushed her to do it more. “The negativity of body shaming has never stopped me from being who I am.”
Like Grande, Abbas said that criticism is always hurtful. Revealing that there have been people who have asked her to get liposuction, she said, “There was a point in time when I had to tell myself to stop and make it a point where I have to embrace myself and embrace my flaws — no matter what size I am.”
Actor Merub Ali has been trolled for being under-weight, which she revealed has caused her to eat less or nothing at all for days. Similarly, Ahmad Ali Butt has opened up about only getting certain roles because of his weight. “They’d be like, ‘oh this person is fat, he can be funny’.”
Last year, actor Sanam Jung spoke about the challenge she tackled with after the teaser of her show, Pyari Mona was released. “Playing Pyari Mona was quite challenging not only as an actor but also because our industry has very stringent standards of how a woman should look, especially when she’s the lead,” she had said.
Several other actors have been dealing with scrutiny focused on their bodies on a daily basis and have spoken about how the flawed beauty standards need to be relinquished, including actors Hareem Farooq, Hania Aamir and Qudsia Ali.
In a conversation with Fuchsia, Ali expressed that she’d always look up to the international standards and wondered why the beauty standards were so different here. “If we look at the international shows, which everyone follows now, they don’t have restrictions of colour, body, skin or weight. They evaluate your skills there. Then why is it like this here? I’d get very disappointed.”
In a digital world, it is easy for people to bully others while sitting behind a screen but body shaming can never be okay and nobody has the right to judge others for their appearance. We only hope that more celebrities talk about such issues and call out such people as that might bring more awareness to people with archaic mindsets who believe it’s alright to comment on others’ bodies.