Lady Gaga’s Body Revolution a step forward for society-perpetuating body image issues
Look, I’ve never really liked Lady Gaga — her constant need to prove she’s different always came off as obnoxious to me. And I’m not a fan of celebrity journalism — I practically cried when New York Magazine put Kim Kardashian on the cover this year. But I am a woman who once went through a special kind of hell known as anorexia, and today I feel the need to do two things I never thought I would do: Write a story about a celebrity announcement and openly state that Lady Gaga has earned my respect. If you’ve ever struggled to look in the mirror and actually like the image staring back at you, you may find yourself giving the singer some well-deserved credit too.
After tabloids had a field day last week with deceptive photos of the singer looking significantly heavier, Lady Gaga responded by creating a subsection on her website, LittleMonsters.com, and posting four half-naked photos of herself with captions reading: “Bulimia and anorexia since I was 15. But today I join the BODY REVOLUTION. To inspire Bravery. And BREED some m$therf*cking COMPASSION.”
The subsection, called Body Revolution, encourages others to “be brave and celebrate with us your ‘perceived flaws,’ as society tells us. May we make our flaws famous, and thus redefine the heinous.” Users have already posted photos and comments about their own body-image problems associated with not only eating disorders, but also cancer, lupus, having only “one and a half legs,” surgery scars, hypothyroidism and rare skin conditions.
To anyone who says this is all just unnecessary or insignificant: You’re wrong. Every little bit counts when it comes to changing our society’s incredibly narrow concept of beauty. Whether you do or not, many people look up to celebrities like Lady Gaga — Forbes actually ranked her 14th in its 2012 list of “The World’s Most Powerful Women.” Her candidness, confidence and effort to change the way we view ourselves will inevitably influence others as they deal with their own insecurities — and hopefully contribute to the transformation we need to see in the way media outlets portray beauty.
According to the National Eating Disorders Association:
- About 10 million females and 1 million males in the United States struggle with an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia.
- For females between the ages of 15 and 24 who suffer from anorexia, the mortality rate associated with the illness is 12 times higher than the death rate of ALL other causes of death.
- There’s been a rise in incidence of anorexia in young women 15 to 19 years old in every decade since 1930.
- More than one-half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors, such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting and taking laxatives.
- A 1991 study found that 42% of first- to third-grade girls want to be thinner.
- Another 1991 study found that 81% of 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat.
- The average American woman is 5’4″ tall and weighs 140 pounds. The average American model is 5’11″ tall and weighs 117 pounds.Most fashion models are thinner than 98% of American women.
- A 1995 study found that 91% of women surveyed on a college campus had attempted to control their weight through dieting; 22% dieted “often” or “always.”