When Ariana Grande posted a photo promoting her r.e.m beauty line to Instagram on Tuesday harsh judgement came fast. “Are you suffering from an ed [eating disorder]?” one person commented bluntly. “You look so thin,” added another. “What happened?” questioned thousands more. Soon an “Ariana Grande weight loss” Reddit thread had been created. “Ariana Grande before and after” and “Ariana grande body” were both trending on Google. The interest was out of control.
“I don’t do this often. I don’t like it. I’m not good at it,” said Ariana as she recorded a message directed at everyone speculating about her body on TikTok. “There are many different ways to look healthy,” she explained. “Personally for me, the body that you’ve been comparing my current body to was the unhealthiest version of my body. I was on a lot of anti depressants and drinking on them and eating poorly and at the lowest point of my life when I looked the way you consider my ‘healthy’ but it wasn’t my healthy,” she continued. “Healthy can look different.”
Ariana Grande is a singer. Her voice – not her body – is her business. Yet, she felt the need to film a video explaining her weight to thousands of strangers because intrusive comments had been so severe. This isn’t the first time this has happened to a pop star. In February, Selena Gomez was forced to tell the world her Lupus medication was making her gain weight after speculation about changes to her appearance gained unstoppable momentum.
In both instances, comments about Selena and Ariana’s weight were disguised as concern. Fans have claimed they just want the stars they love to be “health and happy”. But thousands of backhanded comments, “before and after” Google searches and Reddit discussion forums don’t come from concern— they come from nosiness. Many people have a desire so fervent to be involved in a celebrity’s life the pressure won’t be satiated until a statement is made. That’s not fair.
Because, weight is never just about weight. Dieting is never just about vanity. The food we consume, and how much of it, are almost always intrinsically linked to our emotional circumstances, our beliefs about ourselves, or the health struggles we might be facing. In forcing Ariana to explain her body, commenters have forced her to divulge details of her relationship with alcohol, anti-depressants and mental health, too. Details she should of been allowed to keep private, as she wished.
Additionally, even if a star is suffering with disordered eating, weight gain, substance abuse, or whichever other struggle comment sections and tabloids want to pin on them that week, thousands of messages from strangers are never going to coax or pressure a person into change. Fat, thin, manic, sad, whatever the situation— we need to start leaving people alone.
As Ariana specified in her TikTok: “You never know what someone is going through so even if you are coming from a loving and caring place that person probably is working on it or has a support system they’re working on it with. So, be gentle with each other.”
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