I know a woman who, despite having never met her, takes to social media as though she has a personal gripe to settle with Lizzo on a regular basis. She is relentless and damn-near obsessive when it comes to her criticism of the “Truth Hurts” singer and on several occasions, I’ve wanted to personally reach out to sis and ask, “What’s really the problem?” However, after reading through the Lizzo vs. Jill Scott debate, which began trending following Jill’s Verzuz battle with Erykah Badu, I suspect that she has the same problem a lot of people have with Lizzo: she makes them uncomfortable. And it’s due to no fault of her own, but’s it’s reality.
Society hates fat people and despite the fact that Black people have the highest reported rates of obesity in the country, we are just as hateful and intolerant as any other group. The reason Jill Scott doesn’t even come close to receiving the same amount of hate as Lizzo can be attributed to a handful of factors; however, the most glaring reason is that Lizzo refuses to stay in the box that people love to keep plus-sized women confined to.
In people’s minds, when you have the nerve to be a fat Black woman, you better be low-key and soft-spoken. You can’t be too opinionated. And despite the fact that we live in an oversexed society in which twerking on the ‘gram is guaranteed to get you more likes and followers — and if you play your cards right, instant stardom — you had better not show too much skin, less you will be crucified for it.
Lizzo is unapologetic about her size and people hate her for it. She doesn’t allow her weight to dictate what she will wear and she refuses to cover up to appease others. Her high visibility and success make her a target for people who dislike themselves.
Imagine being so enraged by something that another person wears (or doesn’t wear) that you feel the need to craft Facebook statuses about it, Tweet insults, and leave nasty comments underneath their pictures on Instagram. Whether you’re interested in seeing her plus-sized ass or not, it’s never that serious. Honestly, what adult who is content with themselves and the way that their life is going even cares about when the next person is wearing?
As Dr. Seth Meyers points out in his essay for Psychology Today, when a person is particularly hard on one group of people, it’s likely due to the fact that they’re highly insecure themselves and are simply distracting themselves from their own shortcomings.
“They’re taking a mental break — almost like releasing a valve with too much pressure — from judging themselves,” Dr. Meyers explained. “When it comes to fat people, the obese are easy targets. Their flaw (or medical problem) is out there for the world to see and judge.”
No shade to Jill. I stan for Jill. She’s just as beautiful as she is talented. However, the truth of the matter is that her style of dress is more conservative. She doesn’t trigger people in the manner that Lizzo does.