Get the Gloss isn’t going to be commenting every time a celebrity appears to lose or gain a few pounds. But the story of how Lady Gaga responded to unflattering pictures of her on stage this week is a potential game-changer.
The artist has been working some of her trademark tiny leotards on her world tour, The Born This Way Ball, but isn’t looking quite as skinny in them as she used to, and admits she has gained a stone and a half. When pictures of her looking chubby in red meat (it is hard to lose weight when you are wearing your base protein) and saggy in fishnet tights were published, she hit back on her Little Monsters website.
Posting her own pictures of herself wearing yellow underwear with captions including “anorexia and bulimia since I was 15”, the star asked her fans to join her in a “body revolution” and overcome their insecurities by adding their own photos.
This was instantly picked up by news outlets around the world – it doesn’t hurt that she looks great in the underwear – under headlines reporting that she is responding to “criticism” of her weight gain. But it isn’t clear who is criticising the singer – maybe she didn’t find this Buzzfeed piece, Lady Gaga Shows Us the Real Danger of Weed , funny? Or has she taken the self-destructive step of reading comments on the Daily Mail website (massive thumbs down to those who say she should be thinner at 26)?
Even if her enemies are largely imaginary, Gaga’s shtick – standing up for yourself against trolls, bullies and hurtful negativity – is one that makes her a great idol for young girls who may be, as she was, susceptible to eating disorders.
But it’s unlikely that even her extraordinary influence will stop pictures of fat, thin, fatter or thinner celebrities from selling magazines and newspapers, or getting masses of hits online. When the rich and famous are so often seen looking perfect – thanks to calorie-controlled meal delivery, personal training, stylists and if all else fails, airbrushing – these “circle of shame” images make us feel better about ourselves.
If Gaga really wants to enact a Body Revolution, she should come off the diet she told a radio station that she was on, add another couple of sirloins to let that leotard out and show that, like Adele, she can be hugely successful without starving herself.