Gaga, Body-Shaming, and Its Effects on Women

**Content Warning: This article contains discussion of body image.**

 

When Lady Gaga came on stage for the Super Bowl Halftime show, the first thing I did was turn to my best friend and say, “Oh my god, she looks amazing!” To me, she looked toned, fit, and gorgeous, everything I wanted to be. Most importantly, she looked healthy, and that was a happy medium that I had been struggling to find. So to see an insanely popular pop star on one of the biggest stages in the country confident and happy with her body was a huge inspiration to me. Unfortunately, not everyone saw it that way.

Yet, people made awful comments on Twitter about her body:

“Lady Gaga needs to do some crunches if she wants to show her flabby belly.”
“Tried to enjoy @ladygaga’s performance, was distracted by the flab on her stomach swinging around.”
“Was waiting for a surprise guest but just got Lady Gaga’s gut.”

Needless to say, the body-shaming that followed the show not only made me angry; it further damaged my own body image. If people thought those things about Lady Gaga’s body, what the hell would they think of mine…?

For seven years, I was an elite athlete in peak physical condition. Athletics were part of my identity, and my body was never something I had to worry about. Now, I am a former elite athlete who, ever since coming to college, has been in a constant war with her body. I look in the mirror and all I see is fat in places where society says fat shouldn’t be: my lack of a thigh gap, my less-than-flat stomach, that extra bit around my hips that my jeans just can’t quite contain. To me, a body like Lady Gaga’s is the ultimate goal, and yet that isn’t even good enough.

Logically, I know that there is nothing wrong with my body. I am a healthy weight for my height, I eat decently well (for a college student), and I work out when I can. But the message that I and a lot of other girls receive from the media is that tall, tan, and skinny is the one and only desirable body type, and when you don’t have that, it can be really discouraging.

Part of this story has a happy ending; Lady Gaga had an amazing response to the body-shamers. On her Instagram, she said:

“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. 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”

So, Lady Gaga is basically a badass who could care less what a few Twitter trolls with too much time on their hands have to say about her body, and she is most definitely an inspiration to girls struggling with their body image.​

However, the problem of unrealistic body standards for women still remains. Girls around the world are struggling with low-self esteem because what they see in the mirror does not match what they see on T.V. and in magazines. If there is not a drastic change to the way that women are portrayed in the media, girls are going to grow up with the constant nagging feeling that they are not good enough, and that is far from okay.

 

Image Credit: Feature, 1, 2