Wait, did you also roll your eyes at the headline? Cool, me too. But here we are again, having a public discussion about a woman’s weight. But before we wade into the bullshit, let’s sit back and admire a look:
Rihanna turned heads at Coachella this weekend wearing this stunning rhinestone-encrusted Gucci bodysuit, which according to Vogue comes from the Alessandro Michele Fall 2017 collection. Rih-Rih paired the body suit with a Gucci tank top (with “common sense is not that common” scrawled on it in Sharpie), denim shorts and a pair of her own Fenty x Puma shoes. Insert cartoon heart eyes emoji here.
Okay, one more time before the bullshit because seriously WOW:
Sigh. Okay. Of course anytime a successful, talented and happy woman is living her best life, the opinions no one asked for starting taking the internet by storm. This time around? Rihanna is “too thick” and needs to lose weight. (I won’t even dignify these tweets by giving them any spotlight here but a quick Twitter search will fill you in if you’re really curious.)
Body shaming celebrities is nothing new; pick up any gossip weekly from the supermarket and you can find plenty of snark commenting on whether a female celebrity has a body worth of the beach, often condemning a pinch of fat or ripple of cellulite. Pair this with Hollywood’s affinity for thin (always explained away with the excuse of aesthetic) and you’ve got a potent cocktail of body image issues for any woman who might not fit the mold. (I sure as hell can’t squeeze my 41 inch hips into it, Bruno Mars be damned)
Now, Rihanna sure as hell doesn’t seem like one to be bothered by keyboard warriors commenting on her body. But the very fact that men feel entitled to comment on it, to decide when a woman is “just right” or “too thick” doesn’t just speak to the objectification of women, but also to the core of our very ugly and vapid celebrity culture itself. We’ve placed women on an unsteady pedestal, one that will tip over and crash the minute our hips begin to fill out or our stomachs begin to soften, and no amount of talent or intelligence can set it right again.
But in a generation viewing life through Instagram filters, maybe some strength lies in being honest about what we as women feel we must hide and exposing it - and in turn, a fuller and truer view of who we are - to the world.