If you’re a famous woman, no matter what size you are, your body is the subject of endless scrutiny from a public that can be less than cordial at times. In fact, people can be pretty terrible, lobbing insults at women who they have decided are fat — and fat, to them, is the worst thing in the world, synonymous with being disgusting, lazy, and weak-willed.
Fortunately, the kind of person that fat shames anyone is seldom taken seriously by others, reflecting only their narrow-mindedness. Also fortunately, many of the celebs that are subjected to this treatment have lobbed some pretty epic take-downs at the trolls who dish them out. Here are some of the best celeb responses to fat shaming.
When it comes to shutting down fat shamers, Tyra Banks is queen. If you were hip to current events in 2007, it was impossible to miss this incredible and brilliant rant that made television history. And although it was more than ten years ago that she did this, the message she sent still resonates today as women are continually pressured to diet until dangerously thin.
She started out with some context, stating, “I love my mama. She has helped me to be a strong woman so I can overcome these kind of attacks, but if I had lower self esteem, I would probably be starving myself right now.” And while she had the strength and fortitude to endure attacks on her body, she knew other women didn’t. She continued, “But, that’s exactly what is happening to other women all over this country.” Sick of the haters, she delivered the final blow. “So, I have something to say to all of you that have something nasty to say about me or other women who are built like me… women whose names you know, women whose names you don’t, women who’ve been picked on, women whose husbands put them down, women at work or girls in school — I have one thing to say to you: kiss my fat ass.”
It was fat shame take-down history, and it blew everyone’s minds. It still does today.
If anyone knows what it’s like to constantly have your body scrutinized by the public, the press, and the patriarchy, it’s Lady Gaga. For example, she dealt with it back in 2013; after a hater on Twitter fat shamed her, she responded with a selfie that featured her amazing thighs, captioned “curvy and proud,” followed by a pig emoji. And she dealt with it back in 2012, posting some amazing and bare photos of herself on her website (though you can’t access the content now), revealing that she has struggled with anorexia and bulimia.
The fat shamers struck again in 2017 after her Super Bowl performance with their usual criticism. And Gaga responded on Instagram, stating, “I heard my body is a topic of conversation so I wanted to say, I’m proud of my body and you should be proud of yours too. No matter who you are or what you do. I could give you a million reasons why you don’t need to cater to anyone or anything to succeed.” She then continued in her fierce way, telling women to, “Be you, and be relentlessly you. That’s the stuff of champions. thank you so much everyone for supporting me. I love you guys. Xoxo, gaga”
We’re all born to be who we are, and she’s showing us how to own it.
Some people will go to extreme measures to show women how being fat is a moral failing and the result of laziness compounded by an unquenchable love of bonbons and sandwiches. Katie Hopkins, an English television personality, is one of them. She even took it so far as to have her own television show in which she gains and loses about 40 pounds just to show how easy it is — in turn shaming everyone else who can’t. “Kelly Clarkson is now a chunky monkey, if we’re putting it kindly,” she told Entertainment Tonight. “She does look like she’s eaten her backup singers. My advice: she needs to get out there with her stroller and do some pushing and get some of that weight off.”
Clarkson’s response wasn’t biting or retaliatory — it was better. When Heat magazine told her about the tweets, she was puzzled. “I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. Someone tweeted something about me?” Clearly, she hadn’t heard about it, showing how little Hopkins’ comments mean. Once she was appraised of the situation, she said, “Oh, and she’s tweeted something nasty about me? That’s because she doesn’t know me. I’m awesome! It doesn’t bother me. It’s a free world. Say what you will.” Clearly, there’s no better way to shut it down than not giving a hoot.
It’s clear that 2016 was a dismal year in many ways. We lost everyone from Carrie Fisher to Prince, and some folks are still in mourning from the trauma. And the trolls were out in full force as well, as usual. However, one amazing thing that happened in 2016 was Iskra Lawrence’s hilarious response on Instagram to a commenter who tried to fat shame her. “I’m sorry I couldn’t help myself…This is for anyone who has ever been called FAT. Thanks for the inspirational words on a recent pic,” she wrote in a message, surrounded by potato chips and snacks, followed by a re-iteration of his comments. Talk about a shut-down.
That’s not all, either. After she posted the now-famous photo, she added a video shot in slow motion featuring her eating a chip, then flipping the bird. “And sorry I’m usually not rude or give anyone the finger but these online trolls smdh,” she noted at the end of the post, after re-stating that she was showing up for “anyone who has ever been called FAT.” Talk about the heroine we need!
Fewer women have been trolled more than actress and Academy Award and Golden Globe nomineeGabourey Sidibe in the most merciless and racist ways possible. Gaby’s trolls are the bottom of the barrel, but despite these lowlifes, her retorts are the highest, which only makes her look more amazing than usual. Take the trolls who couldn’t refrain from commenting about her look at the Golden Globes in 2014. But was she worried? Nope. “To people making mean comments about my GG pics, I mos def cried about it on that private jet on my way to my dream job last night. #JK,” she tweeted, clearly not concerned.
She killed it again when responding to haters who had comments about her love scene in Empire. She wrote on Entertainment Weekly, “I, a plus sized, dark-skinned woman, had a love scene on primetime television. I had the most fun ever filming that scene even though I was nervous. But I felt sexy and beautiful and I felt like I was doing a good job,” she said. “I’m very proud of the work we all did to make that scene a great opening for the episode.”
And when she heard there were haters? She continued, “I keep hearing that people are ‘hating’ on it. I’m not sure how anyone could hate on love but that’s okay.” And the kicker? She finished, saying, “You may have your memes. Honestly, I’m at work too busy to check Twitter anyway. #Booked. Hope you enjoy next week’s show!”
Jennifer Lawrence is one of the highest-paid actresses in the world, as well as one of the most famous. She’s been super busy for years now, having catapulted her way to fame as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games films. And with worldwide fame, unfortunately, comes worldwide scrutiny of your body if you’re a woman.
But she was fat shamed before she was a household name, too. She told Harper’s Bazaar that it began when she was young, at the beginning of her career. “It was just the kind of s*** that actresses have to go through. Somebody told me I was fat, that I was going to get fired if I didn’t lose a certain amount of weight. They brought in pictures of me where I was basically naked, and told me to use them as motivation for my diet. It was just that.”
And even though it hurt then as it stings now, she didn’t let it break her. She continued, “I know it’ll never happen to me again. If anybody even tries to whisper the word ‘diet’, I’m like, “You can go f*** yourself.” Talk about a girl on fire!
Ashley Graham is a complete and utter bombshell. She was the first ever plus sized model to appear on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue back in 2016. She’s also been the subject of a whole bucket of fat shaming from people who think that featuring her body is somehow glorifying bad health. One such hater was Cheryl Tiegs, a former American supermodel, who told E! that featuring plus sized models on the cover of magazines promotes an unhealthy lifestyle. And Graham, class act that she is, had the perfect response.
She told E! that, “Cheryl Tiegs may have said what she said and it may have hurt a lot of peoples feelings, but my skin is so thick. I kind of rolled my eyes, I was like, ‘Oh whatever, another one of these ladies.'” Clearly she can handle it, as well as call it out for what it is: bigoted.
Graham continued, “But what’s great is that — the fact that she said it — it means that other women think like her. And what that means is that we really need to change the industry.” Thankfully the industry already is, and Graham’s success is proof of that.
Melissa McCarthy just keeps getting better. From the all-female, totally hilarious Ghostbusters movie to some of the best political comedy of our time on Saturday Night Live, McCarthy is killing it on all fronts. But since she’s plus sized, and since she’s a woman, of course people say terrible things about her.
One especially terrible reviewer called her “tractor-sized” and “a gimmick comedian who has devoted her short career to being obese and obnoxious with equal success.” Obviously he’s wrong, as she was the second highest-paid actress in the world in 2016.
Still, she responded to the comments, telling the The New York Times, “I felt really bad for someone who is swimming in so much hate. I just thought, that’s someone who’s in a really bad spot, and I am in such a happy spot. I laugh my head off every day with my husband and my kids who are mooning me and singing me songs.” Nothing like taking the high road to shut your shamers down.
You would think that folks would learn to leave women’s bodies alone, especially when they proclaim to be all about that bass. But even Meghan Trainor dealt with body-shaming when, upon the release of her video “Me Too” in May of 2016, she learned that they had photoshopped her to make her waist look smaller.
At first, she was confused. She told Good Morning America, “When it was up, I saw my fans posting clips of this dance scene and I was like, ‘Why are the fans messing with my waist?’ and then I looked at my video and I was like, ‘It’s my own video.'” And even though she was involved in the editing process, this was done anyway. And she was surprised, continuing, “I don’t know how you would shave my waist off. Like me, as the ‘All About That Bass’ girl.”
Fortunately, Trainor quickly took action. “I love the director and I love this video and we’re so proud of this, but I had to call up the head of Vevo and say, ‘Take it down, that’s not me. I need to fix this now as soon as I can.'” It’s nice to see someone so proud of her body the way it is that she wouldn’t let the shame stand.
Shamers gonna shame
Beauty standards are changing, albeit slowly, allowing women with all kinds of bodies to work, act, sing, model, and perform. But the battle against fat shaming and body stigma is still extremely real, showing that simply being a women means your body is under the microscope of the public eye.
Thankfully shamers can be shut down and put in their place both by the victims of their trolling and those of us on the sidelines. And thankfully behavior that used to be acceptable, like policing what women eat, has become unacceptable. And that’s good both for women today and girls who will grow up to be women tomorrow.