I'm a die-hard Demi Lovato fan, but I can't defend her Taylor Swift body-shaming comments
I am not afraid to say that I love Demi Lovato. Her music, along with her willingness to be open about her darkest issues, has gotten me through some really difficult personal times. But my admiration spans further than just that: I respect Lovato for lobbying for mental health care, and I'm constantly inspired by her displays of body confidence and DGAF, speak-your-mind attitude, like her recent selfie in which she pinched her belly and admitted she wasn't perfect.
Lovato could personally call me and tell me she hated me. Or announce she and her tour mate — and my future husband — Nick Jonas are dating. Or diss my family or friends. Even so, I'd probably still defend her (sorry, mom). But her comments about Taylor Swift and her squad's bodies? That I cannot genuinely defend without feeling like I am going against everything I stand for.
From her breakup with Wilmer Valderrama to her past drug abuse, Lovato touched upon just about everything in her November Glamour cover interview. When asked about Swift, she did not hold back.
"I think in certain situations, certain people could be doing more if they're going to claim that as part of their brand," she said when asked about a previous comment she made in reference to Swift, in which she said, "Don't brand yourself a feminist if you don't do the work."
She then, seemingly out of nowhere, decided to comment on Swift's and her squad's bodies, which to Lovato's gaze appear not "normal."
"To be honest, and this will probably get me in trouble, I don't see anybody in any sort of squad that has a normal body," she told Glamour. "It's kind of this false image of what people should look like. And what they should be like, and it's not real."
"It's not realistic," she continued. "And I think that having a song and a video about tearing Katy Perry down, that's not women's empowerment."
From a journalistic perspective, Lovato could've been directly asked about Swift's squad and bodies, as this interview, or at least the questions, could've been parsed together for dramatic effect. After all, she later tweeted, "Don't forget that words can be taken out of context when doing interviews," and, "My words were misunderstood."
But Lovato also emphasized on Twitter that she was not going to apologize for "saying what everyone wants to say," which would lead one to believe she stands by the admission.
From her raw, unretouched photo shoots to her no-makeup Instagram selfies, Lovato has made body positivity one of her platforms. After all, she has recovered from an eating disorder, and consequently inspired others to speak out or get help for the issues they deal with.
Negatively commenting on anyone's body — whether it be Swift, Selena Gomez, Cara Delevingne or one of the many models in this friendship squad — does not fall under the body-positivity umbrella. In fact, it begins to derail the power of her previous self-love sentiments.
It has been shown time and time again that the images that women view in the media are linked to their feelings about body confidence and self-image. Seeing "thin" celebrities and "flawless" supermodels glorified across magazines and social media, often deemed to be the ultimate "squad goals," helps perpetuate unrealistic beauty standards for many women. But this is a larger societal issue, and not something that Swift can take the blame for.
Further, straight-sized women, too, deal with their own body shaming from the public. Take Gigi Hadid, who wrote an open letter on Instagram after receiving critiques for being a bit more curvy than most models.
It might be easy to trivialize the plight of thin, white celebrities, but it isn't adding to the body positivity movement — a movement that centers itself on the inclusivity of all sizes, which, yes, includes the women in Swift's squad.
As one Twitter user wrote, "So Taylor has to find new friends based on size so she 'represents' all female body types?" No, she doesn't. Maybe the fault would rest a bit more on her shoulders if she was out promoting body positivity as her, and her squad's, brand. But she doesn't.
Swift simply has a heck of a lot of friends. That does not justify unwarranted comments about her body, especially when they are coming from someone attempting to teach young girls the importance of confidence and someone who has been on the receiving end of so much body criticism.
Let me be clear: I still love Demi Lovato. One interview that might possibly have been semi-misconstrued or taken out of context doesn't change the encouragement she has unknowingly bestowed upon me for the past few years. But in a society where there is an influx of mixed messages in regard to body image and beauty standards, celebrities with a significant amount of clout, like Lovato, need to be extra careful with their words.
Regardless of whether or not she was misunderstood, she just wasn't vigilant here.
Mic has reached out to Glamour for comment.