P!nk and Janelle Monáe Show Us How It’s Done

NO Negative Body TalkThis week two stars gave us glowing examples of how to deal with the bullshit that many people think they deserve for doing their jobs well.  Let’s start with P!nk.  She went to a benefit to raise money for literally curing cancer.  As usual people were not able to keep their eye on the ball and had a go at her for her weight.  P!nk was not having it, tweeting:

I can see that some of you are concerned about me from your comments about my weight,” You’re referring to the pictures of me from last night’s cancer benefit that I attended to support my dear friend Dr. Maggie DiNome. She was given the Duke Award for her tireless efforts and stellar contributions to the eradication of cancer. But unfortunately, my weight seems much more important to some of you. While I admit that the dress didn’t photograph as well as it did in my kitchen, I will also admit that I felt very pretty. In fact, I feel beautiful.

She went on to tweet

Willow said to me the other day whilst grabbing my belly-“mama-why r u so squishy?”And I said..”b/cuz I’m happy baby”


and my hubby says “it’s just more to love baby” (and then I smack his hand off my booty cause we’re in a supermarket)

A number of people in the comments went to the highly problematic She’s not fat defense“, but I appreciate that P!nk didn’t do that, but did point out how messed up this kind of body shaming is.

Janelle Monáe was even more succinct.  When some dude tweeted

“girl stop being so soulful and be sexy..tired of those dumbass suits..you fine but u too damn soulful man.”

Monáe shot back

sit down. I’m not for male consumption.

And that’s the truth of it. Can we please stop pretending that it’s perfectly acceptable to pick apart someone’s appearance just because of the job they happen to have, or that all women – and especially women in the public eye – have some obligation to be attractive to any man who happens to look at them, and that if they aren’t it warrants some kind of public comment? Could we all please consider taking a pass on contributing to a world where women are told early and often that our appearance, as judged by anyone who can manage to create a Twitter account, is more important than anything we could ever accomplish.

While we’re at it, consider this – it is never necessary to comment negatively on another person’s appearance.  Ever.  IT IS NEVER NECESSARY. Imagine a world where someone supporting the eradication of a deadly disease doesn’t get reported as “She gained weight!”  Imagine a world where nobody comments negative on anybody else’s appearance. That world starts with a life where we choose not to say anything negative about anyone else’s appearance. We can literally change the world just by changing the conversation, starting with our own talking and typing. What if you decided that you were done talking negatively about other people’s bodies and appearances? What if you started right now…

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23 thoughts on “P!nk and Janelle Monáe Show Us How It’s Done

  1. With all the body talk goin’ on, I get the feeling that folks honestly expect bodies to look exactly the same all the time. Talkin’ no weight changes, height changes, skin changes, hair changes, etc. Small minds, I guess. It would be highly spooky if someone looked exactly the same throughout their entire life.

  2. “What if you decided that you were done talking negative about other people’s bodies and appearances?”

    We can start with stopping talking negative — out loud or in thought — about our own body and appearance.

  3. I saw a post on facebook yesterday where someone posted that they were sick of people making comments about her body and was basically calling them on it.

    Because she used to be a personal trainer and works for a fitness company, (as the Managing Director, no less) someone told her that she had an obligation to be as slim as it was possible to be because otherwise nobody would believe that her company could help people be fit and healthy. Sounds pretty bad already, right?

    Turns out she is a size 12. That is a full 2 dress sizes smaller than the average woman here in the UK, but apparently that isn’t good enough.

    The pre-occupation with appearance and body size is beyond ridiculous in my opinion and it seems nobody is immune to it.

    1. But, if she starves herself enough to LOOK “fit and healthy,” would she still have the physical strength to actually BE fit? Or healthy? Would her bone density suffer, if she cuts out dairy or whatever to lose weight? How about other vital nutrients?

      Some people are naturally thin, and they may have fantastic health, and be able to bench press a locomotive, but if you’re NOT naturally thin, then forcing yourself to be thin will make you neither fit nor healthy. These are the people who “look” healthy, but are losing their hair, and their menstrual cycles, in the quest for “health,” which only means thinness.

      A fitness instructor who focused on ACTUAL fitness would be the one I’d hire, for sure.

  4. “…it is never necessary to comment negatively on another person’s appearance. Ever. IT IS NEVER NECESSARY.”

    So much this. :~)

  5. Janelle Monea is my new hero.

    And go, P!nk!

    I’ve been living the dream of no negative body talk for several years now, and it’s an amazing place to be in.

  6. I agree with you totally, but I still find my mind going there. I notice appearance. I’m trying not to comment, but I think things based on appearance that I should never be thinking. How do I get out of that rut?

    1. For me, I started looking at why I had that thought in the first place. I had watched “Some Like it Hot” a couple of years ago and for a second thought that Marilyn Monroe looked a little plump. Then immediately thought, “What the hell?!? She’s considered one of the most beautiful women ever.” But she was round and soft, not the hardbody that is touted these days. I could see the effect of social conditioning and what the media keeps showing me. I just try and analyze any negative thoughts I have about myself or others. I can’t control everything my brain thinks but I can look at why it thinks that way.

    2. I started by – every time I found myself noticing someone’s appearance in a negative way – immediately looking for at least two positive things to think about their appearance. And to imagine them looking in the mirror and liking the way they look specifically because they love the thing I felt judgey about.

      It’s helped a lot. Although it does make it intolerable for me to sit through my step-MIL’s repeated attempts to “bond” with me by body-shaming other women from afar.

      No, SMIL, I don’t think the curvy woman in the tight, short, cleavagey animal print dress looks “desperate” or “a mess”. I think she looks confident, and she’s totally rocking a look that she is clearly very fond of. Also I am envious of her amazing posture.

    3. Think positive. Go ahead and look, and then say, “Well, she was just glowing!” or “I like that hairstyle,” or “She wears that outfit really well,” or “That color really suits her,” or anything of that nature.

      Another thing to help you is to go to an art museum. Not modern art, but the classical art, through the ages. Notice the models, and notice how the artist makes them all look so beautiful, and yet they are all so different. Titian had a thing for red-heads. Ruben liked fat women. Other artists liked other types. Look at them all, and see the beauty that the artists saw. After you collect the various “beauties” from around the world and throughout history, you’ll be able to see a whole lot more beauty in the people around you today.

  7. I loved P!nk’s pushback!

    Carol C, my favorite trick is to find something positive to think about the person next. (An oldie but a goodie 🙂 You don’t have deny the negative thought, or get all self-critical about it, but gently remind yourself that there’s nothing wrong with their appearance and redirect your mind to “I love that skirt” or “and she works so hard” or my favorite “wow, she looks so happy.”

    I find that the positive stuff comes a lot more naturally now; the negative hasn’t entirely gone away, but I can usually see it for the culturally-imposed BS that it is now!

  8. “it is never necessary to comment negatively on another person’s appearance. Ever.”

    I agree with this so much. Let people dress how they want. Just because you might not personally like it or think it looks “good” doesn’t mean you should negatively comment on another person’s clothing/style choice.

  9. I am still working on this task. I caught myself doing it (in my head) while watching Lip Sinc Battle with The Rock Johnson performing a disco hit. He had several back up dancers (all women) in white pants and vests (70’s style). I immediately thought “Dang! Look at the thighs on those dancers in back!”… but then I realized, So what! Those girls are dancing and moving in ways I only remember. Plus I then realized that the fashion itself wasn’t helping anybody’s figure.. LOL. Sometimes, the cut and line of a garment makes things look much different than we realize. Moral of the story…. I have a long way to go to stop thinking negative things about clothing and appearance and how some things accentuate body shape and size.

    Tomorrow is another day… I can try again.

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