By Calvin Van Paris
When it comes to shifts in the collective consciousness, change to the language is often a strong starting point. For October Vogue cover star Lizzo, “body positivity” is a phrase that has accompanied her along her entire career path—along with Blackness and queerness and feminism, the pop star’s commitment to not only owning her physique but unabashedly celebrating it has offered a revolution in confidence felt by anyone that her celebrity has reached. But after years of identifying with the notion, Lizzo is ready to take it a step further.
“I think it’s lazy for me to just say I’m body positive at this point,” Lizzo tells Vogue. “It’s easy. I would like to be body-normative. I want to normalize my body.” She argues that “body positivity” has been commercialized and appropriated to the point where it’s simply cool, even complacent, which is not a space that promotes transformation. “Now, you look at the hashtag ‘body positive,’ and you see smaller-framed girls, curvier girls. Lotta white girls. And I feel no ways about that, because inclusivity is what my message is always about. I’m glad that this conversation is being included in the mainstream narrative,” says Lizzo. “What I don’t like is how the people that this term was created for are not benefiting from it. Girls with back fat, girls with bellies that hang, girls with thighs that aren’t separated, that overlap. Girls with stretch marks. You know, girls who are in the 18-plus club.” In sum? Now that the phrase is a sexy one—thanks, in large part, to Lizzo’s efforts—it’s no longer as honest or inclusive as its origins.
“Body-normative” may not have the same glitter to it—”Her positivity—putting the word body before it is just another part of her positivity, and that’s what’s really contagious,” says Marc Jacobs—but perhaps that’s the point, Lizzo adds. “I think now, I owe it to the people who started this to not just stop here. We have to make people uncomfortable again, so that we can continue to change. Change is always uncomfortable, right?”