Super Bowl Gaga may be Apogee Gaga. Will she literally ever reach such heights again? (30 stories! Yes, it was pre-recorded. Still.) She shamed other Super Bowl performers—Whitney Houston, Madonna, maybe even Bey—by singing live and hitting every note while flying, dancing, and keytar-ing in sparkly high-heeled boots.
True to judgy troll form, basement-dwelling blobs decided to ignore the absolute wonder and focus on the alternative fact of Gaga’s belly fat.
Let’s clear this up right now. This woman is in ridiculously good shape; her body is tight and her abs are solid. She has the tiniest bit of a belly when she’s belting out hits she wrote and performing complex choreography in sequinned hot pants? SO? Gaga isn’t a 22-year-old lingerie model paid to have 4% body fat and pose staticly in a thong. She’s a world-class singer, songwriter and entertainer who always busts ass. And Photoshop doesn’t work IRL. If it did, you’d see a lot more of me in a lot less clothing.
I’ll admit something, though. My eyes immediately lasered in on her soft-for-a-female-popstar stomach. Ten years ago, I probably would have been part of the bitchy chorus sniping about how floppy and gross it was. Because ten years ago, I couldn’t forgive myself for having any extra fat around my midsection. I certainly couldn’t be forgiving of a famous multimillionaire singer who has trainers, nutritionists, personal chefs and plastic surgeons at her disposal.
What a difference a decade and two babies make.
As a mother, I think often about the misogyny that snakes through every layer of our culture. The inordinate beauty pressure we place on girls and women and which I still subject myself to. How hateful we are to ourselves and each other because we’ve internalized this fear and loathing of women. Gaga has admitted to having eating disorders and once tweeted, “Popstars don’t eat” during a period when she was Taylor Swift-thin. At this moment when we should be hailing Lady Gaga’s artistry and fearlessness, when she looks stronger and sounds better than ever, we’re debating whether she should be allowed to show off a “normal” woman’s body. Btw, her body is far from normal, unless you’re from some mythical tribe of Amazonian warriors.
I adore Gaga’s belly and her decision to not go with high-waisted shorts (those Versaces were custom-made) just to present an “acceptable” form of the female performer’s body. Somehow, that counts as a bigger act of courage than leaping from the top of a stadium because trust she knew exactly how she looked in every costume from every angle. That’s the kind of scrutiny women—especially women who’ve been in the public eye as long as she has—endure. But I’m heartened by all the people who clapped back at the body shamers.
I am still, always unhappy with my stomach. After two pregnancies where I gained and lost a total of 44 kilos (christ, I just converted that—97 lbs!), all the Whole30 and BBG in the world won’t make it look like Gaga’s, much less Gisele’s. (Thus, my lackadaisical obsession with researching Cool Sculpt.) But I’m 50% of the way to accepting my doughy pooch with some grace, which is 50% more than it was years ago. I’m also much more loving and appreciative of other women and the entire range of beauty and bodies we come in. I know how hard we all work and we should praise, not police, each other.
So… Time to rethink crop tops? Gaga, oh la la.