Fitness guru Jillian Michaels, former host of the Biggest Loser, was dragged on social media over the last two days because she failed to board the “fat acceptance” train and make positive comments about the (obviously extremely obese) R&B and Hip Hop artist Lizzo’s body. During an Buzzfeed AM2DM interview that aired on January 8, ostensibly focused on Michaels’ new diet app, Michaels said:
“Why are we celebrating her body? Why aren’t we celebrating her music? It isn’t going to be awesome if she gets diabetes… but there’s never a moment when I’m like, ‘And I’m so glad that she’s overweight.'”
Oh no! Michaels noted the scientifically proven (which is a *thing* when it relates to climate change, but not when it relates to romantic relationships or obesity-related diseases) links between obesity and diabetes. In other portions of the interview, Michaels cites the between obesity and bankruptcy. According to the latest intersectionality flow chart, those statements mean that Michaels has completely dismissed Lizzo’s worth as a human being, shamed fat people the world over, and created thousands of new bulimics. Therefore, she must be canceled!
In case you don’t know who Lizzo is, she was named as Time Magazine’s 2019 Entertainer of the Year. From the Time profile:
Surely, in the year of our lord 2019, you know who Lizzo is. I mean, even if you don’t think you know, girl—you know. Her song is in that Walmart commercial with the dancing cart people, and another one is in an ad for GrubHub, and I swear I was watching a football pregame show and heard strains of the piano riff from her song “Good as Hell” twinkling in the background.
Here she is performing her biggest hit to date, “Truth Hurts.”
It’s clear that Lizzo, to put it nicely, is a full-figured gal. (Disclaimer: this is coming from another full-figured gal.) As Michaels noted at various points in the interview, overweight people have a higher incidence of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and diseases. Michaels also emphasizes multiple times that being overweight and a fabulous entertainer aren’t mutually exclusive and that anyone, regardless of what their body looks like, can love themselves and have a healthy self-image. Indeed, many fitness and diet coaches would say that their clients who have a decent amount of self-respect or self-image are more successful than those who don’t.
Were the critics capable of appreciating those nuances? Of course not.
One critic essentially called Michaels a rapist (because, of course, in the current version of popular feminism everything is rape).
It's way past time we talk about Jillian Michaels' disturbing kink for nonconsensually abusing fat people and the bodies of fat people. (This is a thread.)
— Lesley Kinzel (@lesleykinzel) January 10, 2020
Another seemed to think that Jillian just felt like chiming in on Lizzo’s body although she was not the person who introduced Lizzo’s name into the conversation.
Really confused as to why Jillian Michaels feels like she has to chime in on Lizzo’s body when she was making people gain weight to make the results more dramatic and giving people weight loss pills laced with ADDERALL to make them lose weight faster on the Biggest Loser?? https://t.co/XhUm9mQw70
— Majima Gras 𖤐 (@EMOTIONALBLKGRL) January 9, 2020
Anyone who watched the Biggest Loser knows that Jillian Michaels doesn’t take excuses from her clients. She pushes them out of their comfort zone, and for Millennials who don’t want to be forced to do anything in which they are at risk of failure, that’s bullying, bashing, and a very bad trait.
It’s 2020. Let’s stop pretending that Jillian Michaels is invested in the health and well-being of fat people. Her obsession with bashing fat people who love themselves is both sickening and on brand.
— Kimmie Singh, MS, RD (@bodypositive_rd) January 9, 2020
Even in the teaser clip put out by BuzzFeed News, it’s clear that Michaels’ intent wasn’t to “bash fat people.” What’s clear that Michaels is a fan of Lizzo. What’s clear is that when Michaels is listening to a Lizzo tune she’s not thinking, “I despise fat people.” She’s simply listening to a song and enjoying what the artist is delivering. What’s clear is that Michaels is focused on Lizzo’s health, not some subjective measure of “embracing [one’s] body.”
Michaels’ comments are also not racist, as one commenter suggested:
Jillian Michaels needs to stfu and leave BW’s bodies alone. Fat =/= unhealthy. And thin doesn’t mean healthy.
People wanna talk body positivity until a BW actually embraces her body shamelessly. https://t.co/dvp9iC7RkK
— 1 of 42 Million Vicious, Horrible People (@4WheelWorkOut) January 8, 2020
By listening to the entire interview (below), it’s also clear that Michaels believes that people shouldn’t dismiss talent just because the artist doesn’t fit a certain body archetype. It’s clear that Michaels encourages people, including Lizzo, to have a positive self-worth regardless of what the scale says.
— AM2DM by BuzzFeed News (@AM2DM) January 8, 2020
Those who raced to condemn Michaels as not woke failed to report on the host’s lead-up to the questions about Lizzo. As mentioned previously, Michaels didn’t bring Lizzo into the conversation. The Buzzfeed host referred Michaels to comments she’d made to Wendy Williams about not “glorifying obesity” in an earlier interview then asked Michaels what she meant by saying that “political correctness has gone too far in the health and fitness world.”
“Political correctness has just come so — it’s insane. It’s like the pendulum, as far as it swings in one direction, it swings in another.
“You’ve got these crazy extremes, whereas — you know, ‘She’s too fat to be a pop star.’ Well, you say things like that and there’s gonna be…and you should never say things like that. But for years people were. They could fat shame and they could exclude people, and they could make people feel less than in all forms of media. And we should always be inclusive, but you cannot glorify obesity. It’s dangerous. It kills people, and it’s the number one cause of bankruptcy in our country. So there’s a middle ground here….
“…It shouldn’t be one way or the other. It’s really no one’s business to comment. It’s not something you should judge. It’s not something you should celebrate. That woman’s health is up to her. But, I mean, 250 pounds, I would say, 999 times out of 1,000 is going to mean heart disease, cancer, diabetes, autoimmune issues, an early death.”
Hmm, sounds like an extremely inclusive live-and-let-live comment to me. In 2020, though, that’s not enough. The host interrupted Michaels to say she “love[s] celebrities like Lizzo or Ashley Graham who are really preaching self-acceptance…”
“I love her music, 100 percent. And I don’t know anything about her. I’m sure she’s a cool, awesome chick…”
But wait, Jillian, the host says. Artists like Lizzo and Graham show us “images that we don’t normally get to see, of bodies that we don’t normally get to see celebrated.” Michaels’ response was simple and logical. I would emphasize the important parts, but they’re all important.
“But why are we celebrating her body? Why does it matter? That’s what I’m saying. Like, why aren’t we celebrating her music?”
After which the host interrupted again, seemingly attempting to redirect Michaels, who simply continued:
“I’m just being honest. I love her music. My kid loves her music…why do I even care? Why is it my job to care about her weight?
What this entire episode is really about is intersectionality and people feeling good about themselves. All of those overweight women and girls out there need their unhealthy habits validated, and anyone in the public eye had better do some validating if they want to remain in the Cool Kids Club. It’s not enough to enjoy someone’s art (whether it’s music, television, film, the written word, etc.); if that artist is gay or female or fat or transgendered or any other superlative ranking high on the SJW Values Chart™, one must acknowledge and affirm that characteristic. Consumers are not allowed to simply enjoy art for its intrinsic worth; they must publicly acknowledge and celebrate every social justice box the artist checks.
Michaels clarified her point – that music fans should concentrate on Lizzo’s music and not her body – multiple times in the interview.
“I’m not saying, and never have I said, that we shouldn’t be inclusive and accepting. I’m saying that I don’t love Lizzo because she’s overweight; I like her because of her music….
Isn’t paying attention to a woman’s work and not her body the high and lofty goal of the left? From the response to Michaels, apparently not. Michaels continued:
“It’s not about saying that I don’t respect her, I don’t think she’s awesome. I absolutely do. But I also would hate to see her get sick.”
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that Buzzfeed, the outlet which conducted and aired the initial interview, attempted to capitalize on the controversy they started. In a story entitled “Lizzo’s First Instagram Post After Jillian Michaels Commented On Her Health Needs To Be Plastered On A Billboard” they report on an Instagram post Lizzo made after the Michaels comments broke.
Today’s mantra is: This is my life. I have done nothing wrong. I forgive myself for thinking I was wrong in the first place. I deserve to be happy.
Yes, that is exactly what Jillian Michaels said! Speaking of Michaels, she stood by her words (thank goodness! Never bend a knee to the rage mob…) Thursday morning. TMZ reports:
Jillian told us she’s always preached, “Your weight and your size have no bearing or merit on your value, your beauty, your worth, your ability.”
Third wave feminism is so exhausting. I’m a woman, and I don’t even understand. Are we supposed to notice a woman’s body or a woman’s work? Or, is the controlling factor whether the woman herself is a conservative or a statist progressive? Does it matter if the commenter is a woman or a man, a progressive or a conservative?
Inquiring minds want to know.