Lady Gaga's body may or may not look slightly different lately. That's her business. Who cares? Oh, wait: The tabloid papers and gossip sites do. Reports claim that she's "piled on 30 pounds" and has a "fuller figure." But what's piling on is the bullshit: Body scrutiny like this is cruel and pointless.
First of all, when the artist stepped on to the scene in 2008, no one noticed her body. The buzz was about her outrageous style and catchy songs; her physique wasn't worth mentioning. Slender, sure, but not what the tabloids call "scary skinny"; a dancer, not one of those ladies in the Hollywood bones show. As she became more and more famous, she slimmed down, as one would expect, since she was touring, making videos, constantly on the go. She began to be questioned about her body… and also began volunteering personal information about her physique. In 2010, Gaga was dating Luc Carl, who wrote a book called The Drunk Diet; the same year, she told New York magazine that "pop stars should not eat." In 2011 she explained:
"I am on the drunk diet," Gaga said. "I live my life as I want to, creatively. I like to drink whiskey and stuff while I am working. But the deal is I've got to work out every day, and I work out hung over if I am hung over. And it's about the cross-training and keeping yourself inspired. I have to say, I do a ton of yoga."
In February of this year, she spoke openly about her bulimic teenage days:
"I used to throw up all the time in high school. So I'm not that confident," said Gaga. "I wanted to be a skinny little ballerina but I was a voluptuous little Italian girl whose dad had meatballs on the table every night."
She also admitted:
"Weight is still a struggle," she said. "Every video I'm in, every magazine cover, they stretch you — they make you perfect. It's not real life ... I'm gonna say this about girls: The dieting wars have got to stop. Everyone just knock it off. Because at the end of the day, it's affecting kids your age. And it's making girls sick."
Still, in April of this year she Tweeted:
If she is looking just a little bit fleshier lately, it's no excuse for the cruel, finger-pointing headlines like "Looking Meaty!". Tittering about her weight is absurd. She may smoke pot and drink whiskey, but the woman is ridiculously active: In addition to working out all the time, she is on an exhaustive tour schedule that — combined with rehearsals — has her dancing for hours every day. (No, seriously, have you seen her nonstop tour dates? Intense.)
Just a couple of months ago, in June, in an interview with The Guardian Weekend magazine, Elton John worried about Gaga being "frail."
"I look at Gaga and I think, 'How does she do it?'" John told the magazine, commenting on Gaga's recent weight loss. "I talk to her mum and dad about it. They worry," he added. "She is frail, and she doesn't eat when she should do, and she's a girl, and it's tougher for a girl," Elton continued, noting the pressures on female entertainers to maintain an impossibly slim figure.
"She works really hard," Elton continued. "She will be in Denmark one night and Saudi Arabia the next. I know how tiny she is and I do worry about her, yes."
Now it is September, and writers are cackling that Gaga appears decidedly not frail; the headlines are scolding and mocking. This comes mere weeks after the singer appeared on the cover of Vogue the only way a woman can be seen on the cover of Vogue: Thin thin thin, even if the editors have to resort to Photoshop to make her that way. Elton John was worried that she wasn't eating, and that was a headline, then she fucking ate something, and that is a headline. Just a reminder: Women can never win. And these headlines, about her weight gain? They do not stem from concern for her well-being. We all know what this is: Rampant fat phobia. Fat intolerance. It's become quite common and acceptable to point a finger and declare someone "fat" or award them the "worst beach body" as if some stranger's flesh is personally affecting you, impacting the quality of your life, WHICH IT IS NOT. Folks can't claim it's about her health, because she is healthy. The only gripe anyone can possibly have about Gaga's body is that they don't like the way it looks, that somehow because it's fuller, it is no longer hot, and therefore no longer fuckable, and as we all know, that's what a pop star — nay, a woman — has to be in this culture to be relevant. The thin, zero body fat, narrow-hipped, long-legged, cellulite-free body type that we see in commercials, on huge billboard ad campaigns and in glossy magazines is the ideal, and anyone who deviates from the ideal is fair game. Of course, that ideal is not only unattainable and unhealthy for most of the female population to attempt to achieve, it's emotionally unhealthy, because its relentless ubiquity cements in the minds of the public one narrow standard of beauty. We all learn that thin = beautiful while internalizing that not thin = not beautiful. Which is toro caca. Every body is gorgeous and amazing in its own way, and hers is lithe, strong, functioning and able to dance for hours in platform heels.