By the time Britney Spears returned to the stage on April 15, 2015 to kick off another round of her Vegas show, “Britney: Piece of Me,” the show had already earned $45 million in just a little over a year.
These figures prove Spears is practicing what she preaches and goes to "Work, Bitch," as does her personal figure.
To put on the best show on the strip, the pop star attends lengthy, physically demanding rehearsals in addition to her yoga practice and gym time.
The 33-year-old mother of two graced the January/February 2015 cover of Women’s Health in the “hottest shape of her life.”
Given all this, it’s no wonder the Internet went ablaze at reports of an audience member body shaming the reigning Queen of Pop by yelling, “Fat bitch,” at Spears mid-concert.
In response to the outrageous comment, Brit skipped the drama and without missing a beat, delivered the perfect response: “F*cking assh*les.”
No stranger to profane mic-slips, Spears’ response is captured on a video circling the Internet.
While the video of the incident doesn’t capture the heckler, it does capture the strength of a woman who can shut down body shaming and not let it affect her performance.
And, thus, the highest-rated show in Vegas history went on.
The lingering question remains: What the hell would possess a person to spend that much money on a premium ticket, only to body-shame Miss Spears?
Kill the Lights
The Britney Spears example unquestionably puts a spotlight on the alarming and growing trend of body shaming.
With increasing and constant “anonymous” access to the Internet has come a pseudo sense of security for people to “say” whatever they damn well please, regardless of the consequences.
After all, when the consequences are so far removed, why does it even matter?
What was once reserved for the playground or high school hallways is now readily available at our fingertips.
People run their mouths (fingers) off on the Internet, not caring that what they are saying is read and heard by real people.
Perhaps, it is this technologically-supported sense of detachment that made Spears’ heckler feel confident in taking the old-school approach to body shaming and yelling at her in person.
You Know You’re Toxic
Spears isn’t the only woman in the spotlight having her body picked apart.
Inspirational online fitness sensation Cassey Ho took to the Internet on April 17, 2015 (just two days after the Spears incident) to publicly address body shaming.
Ho is famed for bringing pilates, health and nutrition to the masses via every possible social media outlet, namely YouTube.
As the fitness instructor took off on tour to officially launch her already-sold-out book, “Hot Body Year Round,” she unexpectedly became the victim of mass cyber bullying.
With a big heart and dedication to her cause, Ho is known for reading all the comments on her material, no matter the online forum.
Even the strongest person with the thickest of skin could not withstand the maelstrom of hate directed at her, more over her body.
After trying to keep her chin up and focusing on the positive task at hand of helping others, Ho finally decided to open up publicly about the issue.
Not just on her own behalf, but on the behalf of everyone who has been affected by body shaming.
Ho posted not one, but two videos to YouTube (which she shared via her website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), taking two very different approaches.
One video has no spoken words, but rather, shows Cassey’s reaction to a flurry of body-shaming comments streaming through her phone. Without speaking a word, Ho delivers a very strong message: Words can hurt.
Ho shot the second video from her book tour hotel room while on tour addressing the issue. In it, she brings to light what a person truly feels when their weight, abs and booty come under attack.
Think hard about how a woman who has helped millions, been recognized by the Bill Clinton Foundation as a health master and put fitness into every media outlet there is, could have her ability as a trainer questioned because she doesn’t have visible ab definition or a “big enough” booty.
Hold It Against Me
Another example? Look back to November of 2014 when Kim Kardashian attempted to shut down the Internet with well-oiled-bubble-butt nude photos in Paper Magazine.
As with all things Kim, the photos drew the attention of millions and the forked tongues of many.
While the intention of the photos was clearly for Kim K to show her body in exchange for attention, there is no connection between the reality star’s naked body and her ability to be a mother.
Yet, thousands felt comfortable not only shaming her physique, but also drawing a connection between the shape of her body and mothering skills.
Fact is, everyone, including your mama, is naked underneath their clothes and the size of a woman’s butt has nothing to do with her ability to provide love, food, shelter and education to her child.
Love her or hate her, the fact that Kim is comfortable showing her naked body to the world doesn’t make her a “bad” person. It also doesn’t make it okay for anyone to pass judgment on her or anyone else.
There sure as hell isn’t one perfect body, nor a body type that comes with better “morals.”
Not That Innocent
Three beautiful, successful women confident in their own bodies being subjected to body shaming can most likely be attributed to jealousy. The majority of all body shaming stems from jealousy. Why? Dig deeper, Drizzy Drake style: “Jealousy is just love and hate at the same time.”
While body shaming is directed at others, it often stems from a disliking of one’s own body or life, or a feeling of perceived inadequacy.
Taylor Swift, body shamed repeatedly for being “too thin,” is right that a “hater’s gonna hate, hate, hate.” But, unfortunately, this issue has grown far past the point of "shaking it off."
Regardless of the impetus behind body shaming, it is clear this is a real issue and the negative effects are true, lasting and lingering.
In the long run, the judgment of others’ bodies leads to messed-up perceptions of what the human body should look like, which, in turn, causes changes in behavior and lifestyle.
Long story short, this nasty form of sh*t talking has serious and sometimes fatal consequences.
What It’s Like to Be Me
As a nutritionist, I see what many don’t. I see the long-standing effects of these damning remarks.
There are women who have survived the hell of eating disorders, only to end up battling infertility. There are cases of heartbreaking isolation from the shame of friends or family seeing weight gain. There are tears of regret for opting out of family photos as a result of body shame.
Day after day, I listen to clients speak behind barriers and by hanging their hat on the day when their body is “good enough” to enjoy life. I see the ugly truth that body shaming not only robs people of happiness, but can also be fatal.
When faced with the effects of this malarkey, it’s hard for healthcare professionals not to want to fight back a la Rambo style.
We’re over here battling an obesity epidemic and the quality of our care and education is being compromised by these loused ideals of body perfection and subsequent verbal body bashing.
While we’re attending educational seminars on tactfully approaching obesity with patients, people are calling incredibly healthy individuals “fat bitches.”
Do you all feel this? Body shaming is an escalating trend and no one is safe. Words can hurt, and for some, it can hurt badly enough to irreversibly affect their health and life.
Between an obesity epidemic and constant distorted media imagery, no one has any idea what the hell the human body is supposed to look like.
In a time when the majority are maxed out, overworked, underpaid and emotionally spent, it’s no wonder we’ve reverted to childish bullying.
First place to start: Don’t body shame. Don’t be a “f*cking assh*le.” Fairly sound advice all around. Thanks, B!
If you are guilty of body shaming, apologize. If apologizing isn’t possible or would cause more harm than good, do a good deed toward the cause.
Educate yourself on health, wellbeing, the natural human form or the art of not being reactive. You can also do some karma cleansing and donate to the National Eating Disorder Association. You’ll find there are more ways to make the world a better place than there are ways to be a dick.
Don’t feed the monster. While it may seem like a noble deed to engage with body shamers, don’t. Rarely, if ever, will this have a positive effect.
If Britney Spears took the time to address all the haters, the woman wouldn’t have time to sell out shows, design lingerie or produce a perfume line. The world needs Britney, and you, to keep making positive contributions.
Negativity is like anything else: It needs to be fed to thrive. Let it starve and opt to feed your soul, instead. Invest your energy into something positive and move on.
Cassey Ho recommends sharing her powerful video, “Perfect Body,” as a means of positively addressing the issue.