On the heels of an amazing Super Bowl performance with Shakira, Jennifer Lopez broke the Internet, again. This time posting up a photo of herself on social media in a white bikini that showed off her amazing physique consisting of perfectly crafted abs and toned biceps.
“Relaxed and recharged,” the 50-year-old Hustlers actress wrote on February 16.
Of course, hundreds of thousands of people celebrated Jenny from the block and her ability to maintain the body after all these years and two children. Soon after, controversial fitness instructor, Maria Kang, founder of No Excuse Moms and the Belly Ball Co., encouraged mothers around the world to “own your story. Create your own accountability.”
Since Kang’s call to action, hundreds of mothers of all ages and sizes have shared their photos in the name of body positivity. While the moms may not have the body J-Lo has, they participated anyway, feeling that they are just as accountable and accepting of their bodies as they are in this moment.
Now look, as a mother, I know the struggle attached to remaining responsible for yourself while being responsible for your children. While some women rise to the occasion with ease, others have the luxury of help and then there are women like me who lose themselves in motherhood. So anything that encourages women, especially those struggling in the mirror post-pregnancy, is important and necessary.
While I know others don’t feel this is body positivity, I still applaud the #JLoChallenge, but even I can admit it still bothers me a bit. Even if this challenge includes everyone, why did it take a body that meets society’s standard’s to spark it?
Earlier this month, Lizzo posted these pics of her thick and luscious thighs enjoying the sun on vacation in Brazil and Mexico. Yet, where were the hashtags and the praise? Where was all this same energy? Instead, the Internet, including celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels, dragged the three-time Grammy winner for filth.
If they aren’t bothered by her twerks sessions, they are side-eyeing her loving her body enough to flaunt it. Oh and, God forbid she uses her voice to celebrate and support women who look like her or to talk her s#!t.
Why can’t Lizzo be aspirational? Why isn’t seeing a brown-skinned Black woman I can relate to and be affirmed by, enough? Yes, JLo is body goals for many, but Lizzo’s body is my reality and I get my life each time she decides to pop out. Life doesn’t begin when you lose weight and achieve a Jlo body. Right now, Lizzo is living her best life, so why should I and women like me be forced to chase a dream when our reality is right here, paving the way for us?
Listen, plus-size women are not and have never been the “fat and frumpy girls” society has told us we have been. While the world and narrative are changing, it’s not because society has adjusted its lenses. It’s because countless women like Lizzo, Gabi Gregg and even myself, have pushed back and demanded to be seen and heard. Not just as underdogs, or victims or some fat superwomen who are “brave” and “courageous,” but as beautiful, accountable and aspirational role models.
“Being body positive should be everyone’s truth,” but that isn’t quite our reality…yet. Truth is that body positivity makes room for all body types, ages, and ethnicities which is why both women are important to the movement. However, with over sixty percent of the female population is plus size, so celebrating bodies like Lizzo’s are especially important. Plus-size women deserve inclusion, they deserve to see themselves but that doesn’t happen when we make Lizzo’s presence problematic while praising JLo.
As a woman who is fat, Black and over 40, I understand responsibility, and I appreciate both women’s willingness to lead their tribe. Body acceptance is personal, it isn’t specific to one body type, but it is easier to love your body when you don’t have the masses standing against you telling you that one body has more value than yours.
So the next time that Lizzo posts another bikini pic, let’s rally around her too like y’all did with J-Lo, sparking a new challenge not just celebrating her body, but all of ours, whether that frame is thick and luscious, thin and sculpted or anything in-between.