Two photos side by side, one of Lizzo performing and one of Trump in golf clothes.

Critics of Lizzo and Trump Have Something Awful in Common

Now, you may be asking yourself, “Why are Lizzo and Trump even mentioned together?” I’ll admit, it seems odd! But both of these very famous people have been in the news recently and both have seen critics turning to a cheap source of mockery: their bodies.

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I am the last person on earth to want to defend someone like Donald Trump, but something must be said for the quickness by which critics weaponize body descriptions when they are angry and seeking to condemn someone, celebrities or not. As if there aren’t countless genuine criticisms, complaints, and insults to be thrown at people like him, far too many people will turn to lazy jokes about his body type which—newsflash!—does not correlate in any way to his character.

As for Lizzo, a group of former employees recently filed a lawsuit alleging a number of horrible things from sexual harassment to body shaming. A lot of fans found themselves surprised and concerned by the allegations included in the suit. But perusing the social media commentary on the subject, interspersed between those concerns were an infuriating number of posts about the singer’s weight—either directly or indirectly. I saw people talk about how this lawsuit must be weighing heavily on her. People have also expressed incredulity at the idea that a fat woman could body-shame someone else, as if internalized biases aren’t as prevalent as they are harmful, even among people whose public image is built on body positivity.

There are many real critiques of Lizzo and her colleague’s alleged conduct throughout this lawsuit, that can and should be discussed without the mean comments about her body. In fact, those sorts of comments only serve to undermine and distract from legitimate criticisms. Which leads me to Trump.

I will start by saying that I love tearing down Trump. I think he is one of the most vile, nasty, and corrupt people to ever enter the political arena. I can’t say I like anything about him. However, as he was arraigned, (again) people took to social media to make fun of his appearance.

As I scrolled through Twitter, Facebook, and Threads, there was post after post remarking on his wild and messy hair as he stepped off his plane, his tie blowing too much in the wind, and—the most common subject of mockery—his weight. Yes, a lot was said about the historic indictment itself, but why do so many people feel the need to lump (alleged) criminal behavior in with jabs at a person’s weight as if they are both equally condemnable?

I can’t say I haven’t ever made fun of Trump’s appearance, I have. And I am not saying it is right. It probably made me feel better at the time, as easy jokes tend to do. Admittedly, it can be hard to avoid cheap, lazy jokes when that’s Trump’s default. He himself has mocked people’s appearances time and time again. He has a way of bringing everyone down to his level.

Directly speaking, look at how many people have been imprisoned or pending jail time because of him. More broadly, he has made our political discourse so childish, egoistic, and bully-ish. This, of course, only benefits him. Encouraging people to engage in cheap, superficial, prejudiced discourse distracts from what he really is: racist, sexist, xenophobic, incompetent, etc.

Not every single thing we utter has to add bold and positive commentary to the world; sometimes, we just want to drag people and go off about them because well, it may be what they deserve! But we have to be aware of what prejudices we may be perpetuating when we use cheap jokes about physical attributes shared by millions of people as a way to condemn an individual’s egregious actions.

(featured image: Don Arnold/WireImage, Mike Stobe/Getty Images)


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