Lady Gaga 2013

In reason #5,861 why the Internet is terrible, there are apparently a whole slew of comments floating around about a certain Superbowl Halftime performer’s ‘pooch.’

You mean that pooch? That tiny bit of skin barely visible on the body of a pop-star goddess who literally FLEW THROUGH THE SKY to begin her thirteen-minute, universally acclaimed halftime show amid piles of flames burning on what I assume to be THE EDGE OF GLORY?

Okay, first of all, shut up.

Second of all: SHUT. UP.

I just do not have the patience for this any longer. I do not and cannot understand why, at the height of her global success, a woman’s appearance is STILL up for criticism and debate! Do you think these people would ever make these comments to her face? Or to anyone’s face, especially someone who openly struggled with anorexia since her teens? No, they wouldn’t, unless they wanted to feel like a horrible person. But on the internet, well, apparently if you add a laughing-face emoji, anything goes.

Barring the small fact that Lady Gaga’s dance and performance training gives her a level of fitness most of us could never hope to acquire, why do we have to yet again remind everyone that, um, who the f*ck cares? Even if Gaga was overweight, why should that matter?! What is it about our culture that makes people feel like they can make jokes about the tiniest ‘flaw’ they can sniff out when her music is insane, her dance moves are incredible, and her artistic prowess has proven time and time again that she’s an incredibly skilled icon?!

The issue isn’t really about Lady Gaga. Do you really think she cares what us plebeians think of her dance-fortified, superstar body? Trust me, she doesn’t. The issue is what everyone else sees. These kinds of comments only serve to remind us all that women in our culture are still measured by their bodies. There is a very specific, cookie-cutter image that you had better fit, or you can forget it — no one cares about your Grammys, your philanthropic work, or your own emotional backstory if your tummy isn’t tucked the way we like it!

You think you’re making a funny joke about a pop star on a pedestal, someone out of reach and therefore safe to criticize. Maybe. Maybe Lady Gaga isn’t reading your tweet — but you know what? Someone out there is.

Maybe it’s your daughter, who’s learning how to value herself. Maybe it’s your brother, who’s learning how to value women. Maybe it’s your friend, who’s struggling with an eating disorder — and you’ve given her sound reasoning to continue hurting herself.

I know this might sound dramatic, but frankly, I don’t care. I’m so tired of the crazy standards we set for women, and I’m even more exhausted from how callously people treat social media. If you want a culture that values people, you have to value people. You — your posts, your tweets, your comments — build our culture. What you post actually does matter. People read it; that’s kind of the point. That’s how culture develops.

So stop posting like you’re immune. Stop posting like it doesn’t matter. Stop posting like your two-bit jokes won’t hurt anyone, and start building something valuable.

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