Body Revolution: Is Lady Gaga's New Project Resisting Beauty Standards or Reinforcing Them?

Earlier today, Lady Gaga posted photos of herself in her underwear on her website with the caption: "Bulimia and anorexia since I was 15" and launched a new project encouraging fans to "make our flaws famous, and thus redefine the heinous."

Lady Gaga in a bra and underwear with her eyes closed.

Last week, Gaga made headlines with photos that showed her looking larger than usual. While the images were apparently distorted and not reflective of how she actually looks, Gaga told radio host Elvis Duran that she's gained 25 pounds recently. Because she's a human in addition to being a pop star, and humans tend to gain and lose weight over the course of, you know, life.

In response to the fat-shaming she received at the hands of the media, Lady Gaga's starting a new project on her site called Body Revolution, asking her Little Monsters to, "Be brave and celebrate with us your 'perceived flaws,' as society tells us. May we make our flaws famous, and thus redefine the heinous." She posted additional photos of herself, adding that, "Today, I join the BODY REVOLUTION. To Inspire Bravery. and BREED some m$therf*cking COMPASSION."

Anything that pushes back against body snarking and encourages body diversity and acceptance is a good thing, obviously, but is Body Revolution resisting beauty standards or reinforcing them?

A woman in a black bra looking in the mirror

In the five hours since the page launched, fans have uploaded photos of themselves that display skin conditions, scars, and disease. Accompanying them, however, are comments from Gaga like: "Emily Rose recovering from anorexia. We support your bravery and have compassion for your pain.(and huh gUUrl, you don't need to diet ur FINE AS HELL)," and "My assistant and best friend sonja. Stage 2 breast cancer. just had double partial mastectomy from DD TO C. Yesterday was first day of radiation. Looking good b*tch. She is so brave. Her boobs look even better!!"

It's wonderful that Lady Gaga has what I'm sure is real compassion and love for her friends and fans, but couldn't she leave her supportive comments at "She is so brave" and skip the "Her boobs look even better!!" part? Why does it matter if her boobs look great? What if they didn't? If her fan Emily was not "FINE AS HELL" would she need to diet until she was?

Fans are following suit. In a photo of a young girl with a skin condition, site member King Darius says, "This person has gorgeous features, let her live comfortably and free!!" Yes, she should live comfortably and free, but shouldn't she get that chance even without her "gorgeous features"? On a photo of Gaga with a disabled fan, commenter Sarah responds: "incredible. you both look amazing." Sarah probably means that they both appear happy in the photo (which is smiley and sweet), but again, for a project that is meant to destigmatize physical "flaws" like body size, shape, and ability, isn't focusing on appearance kind of missing the point? Instead of telling everyone how pretty they look or telling a woman with Lupus that she's "Still hot as fuck," why not work to shift the conversation away from looks entirely?

Lady Gaga is a very famous woman with a huge fan base and a lot of influence, and again, it's wonderful that this conversation is even happening at all. As Dodai Stewart points out,

It's awful this started with ugliness, that Gaga became the target of weight hate. But if an influential pop star with millions of followers can make compassion cool and make fat-shamers feel shame, it just might be worth it.

I know Gaga's sharing of her story and her photos has already inspired many people and will continue to do so, and that's excellent. The project just launched today, and there's lots of room here to do a lot of good. And besides, everyone likes to feel pretty! There's nothing wrong with that, and there's nothing wrong with telling your friends, fans, and anyone else that they look great despite what others might say. But can reminding people that they're beautiful be called a "body revolution"?

When we have these conversations about resisting narrow standards of beauty and not judging people based on weight, appearance, health, size, shape, or any other physical attribute, we might do well to stop telling them how pretty they are and shift the conversation away from looks entirely. Now that would be a revolution.

Comments

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Say Something Nice

I believe the responses are simply apart of our "say something nice" culture. If my hair fell out due to cancer. I believe my friends would compliment my wig, not to devalue my current state but just to "say something nice."

Everyone wants to feel

Everyone wants to feel attractive despite or in addition to their flaws. She's reassuring them that they are beautiful even when they don't hide their disability/conditions.

This article seems to be grasping at straws.

I agree with you here. We

I agree with you here. We need to resignify what beauty means. Why can't life stories marked on your body be 'counted' as beautiful?

Yes-this article is grasping

Yes-this article is grasping at straws. Come on Bitch, this was disappointing and frankly nitpicking. It's a sad sign when I would prefer to read Jezebel's commentary, and find it more relevant and insightful, than Bitch's.

Sort of...

I think, though, that the comments are saying the people are beautiful DESPITE their flaws, when what really needs to be said is "your flaws are beautiful."

Waiting for gaga to get compassionate

Sorry. I know it's not on topic to the message of your piece but I just cannot get past her "BREED some m$therf*cking COMPASSION" comment. This from the woman who proudly defends wearing fur (and dresses made of flesh, etc.,)? I'm waiting for the revolution where gaga actually practices what she preaches...

agreed!!

This woman knows nothing about compassion if she's calling herself a "yogi" and can't follow Ahimsa!!!

Do you eat meat?

Do you eat meat?

I second that question.

I second that question.

I'm not sure if this question

I'm not sure if this question was directed to me or the poster I replied to, but I am vegan.

Am I missing something?

Are we seriously questioning whether or not this is a good thing? ALL people are beautiful, and there is nothing wrong with telling someone that and making them feel good! The problem is not telling people they are "pretty" or not, the problem is American standards of what it beautiful. Lady Gaga is challenging that, and I commend her for it.

Sometimes, things aren't

Sometimes, things aren't black or white. Sometimes, things are messy and full of good intentions. Maybe this is both.

I view this project as an

I view this project as an expansion on the definition of visual beauty, not a way of eliminating defining it altogether. Obviously posting pictures (rather than say, implementing a "Little Monsters" IQ test or showcase of curricula vitae) is going to invite only efforts toward this goal.

I'm more concerned about my tangle of emotions that result from a former-bulimic (what I understand to be a disease of excess) wearing enough food to feed a starving family for a winter. Meat suit only makes me dislike Gaga and is one of the few things my definition of beauty can't expand to include.

Missing the point of the article.

The author of the article makes an intelligent, valid point. It is hypocritical to say you are re-defining beauty standards and then qualify a comments with another based on those exact beauty standards you are railing against.

That's because this post doesn't really have a cogent point, imo

The original poster concedes that "everyone likes to feel pretty! There's nothing wrong with that, and there's nothing wrong with telling your friends, fans, and anyone else that they look great despite what others might say" but then goes on to criticize Gaga's initiative for doing exactly this.

Later there are two goals that OP seems to charge Gaga with trying to accomplish: (1) resisting narrow standards of beauty and (2) not judging people based on weight, appearance, health, size, shape or any other physical attribute.

The nebulous idea of "inner beauty" notwithstanding, "resisting narrow standards of beauty" seems to involve stipulating (to whatever extent), um, standards of beauty. (I feel like it's implied that we are speaking of visually-determined beauty because a photograph is the featured entry for the Little Monsters.) This is the only goal can be addressed by the "Body Revolution." If it's okay that everyone likes to feel pretty (not "brave" or "smart"), and the commenters on the photographs are giving compliments extolling the beauty of those who exist outside typical beauty boundaries, then what exactly *is* the point?

This is ridiculous, it

This is ridiculous, it baiscally looks like a site so she can show off her (not fat at all!) body in a way to receive compliments. There isn't anything celebratory about putting MORE focus on good looks. Also, the ugliest thing about this woman isn't her body, of varying weight, it's the glamour that she portrays and uses to exploit animals by wearing their hides over her own!!! LAst I checked, rule #1 of yoga is ahimsa (non harming) and that applies to animals too!! This is clearly another "look-at-me!" campaign and it IS a shame! BOO to Gaga!

love my swingin' udders, love me.

when we take over the body complimenting, we take over the dialogue about our bodies. suppose you think most people are programmed to like big bouncin' unrealistically young pushed-up tits/breasts/boobies. enjoying your own flat chest is an empowering act. so is finding the aesthetically enjoyable and hot aspects of an older friend's swayin' mammaries and admiring them. and whatever the boobs look like, complimenting them as a non-leering woman encourages other women to enjoy how their boobs look.

Gaga's effort and "you go, gurl" comments have issues, as you mention, but they have transformative and everyday-useful potential. it's a bit third-wave feminism versus second-wave, and i always struggle with that sort of stuff. still: *given the reality of our world,* which is not an amazonian wonderland, i think Gaga's approach is OK.

I am sorry, but everyone

I am sorry, but everyone wants to be told they are beautiful, that they are desirable and there is nothing wrong with that. I love Gaga and think this is such a beautiful idea.

Do you hear the words?

I think this is a wonderful use of engaging communication to effect change. As much as we may tell people they are beautiful and need only be themselves (whether that beauty is physical, mental or whatever), one really only begins to hear such a message if it uses language you understand.

Take the "make our flaws famous" portion. Automatically I thought of the things about myself that I am uncomfortable with b/c I'm not a famous model. The language directs you to focus on what it is we need to change in society in a very quick and easy way. To me it says "hey, remember how you don't your body because of X stereotype? Well X stereotype needs to be forgotten, cause you're beautiful". So on and so forth for the rest of the comments.

Beauty may be the same or different for different people and truly evolving our beauty identity requires different language for different perspectives. I fully support the multitude of methods that this requires to reach all involved and the campaigns that help engage other perspectives with appropriate language.

reminds me of my favorite

reminds me of my favorite Audre Lorde quote: You cannot dismantle the masters house using the masters tools...

(are we EVER gonna get this????)

Hear, hear! As a different

Hear, hear!

As a different commenter said above: I think this is "OK". There are elements of Gaga's project that seem really empowering to me - I'm all for the sharing of scars and other living realities of our bodies that we don't commonly get to see reflected or represented and are instead encouraged to hide.

But the critique of her project is important to me and I'm glad to see such a well-written article about this. I think that if we are going to truly redefine beauty, we need to define it outside of the aesthetic body. Personally, I'm less interested in talking about beauty and more interested in bettering the lives of those who are marginalized by their physical appearance.

Talking about how "everyone is beautiful" seems to me to be a tired strategy that hasn't worked in the past and I don't expect will magically work in the future.

Amen! This piece reminds me

Amen!

This piece reminds me of an essay by Nomi Lamb in which she talks about how often when people talk about body image, the automatic assumption is that they're talking about thin women who think they're fat, and the lament is "if we could only get them to see the truth...," which of course does nothing for people who are actually fat (as well as being kind of patronizing). The problems with this project/the comments mentioned seem to be along the same lines. The fact of the matter is, not everyone who struggles with negative body image has body dysmorphia: some of us actually are more attractive than others. I'd like to live in a world where it was okay to acknowledge that because it wasn't akin to calling the folks in question bad unlovable failures.

Stylistically, Gaga's

Stylistically, Gaga's self-portrait and commentary looks straight up like the typical entry in a pro-ana website, not to mention that her comment to Emily Rose very much reinforces the thin ideal, just not the pathology of Anorexia. I'm really not impressed with this project, because I feel that her videos have always actively glamorized thinness, and this project basically is her refusal to take responsibility for that.

Are you really saying this

Are you really saying this about a woman who has been totally scrutinized for her weight and who also has struggled with anorexia and bulemia?

And, thin women get a lot of flack for their weight too. It's comments like yours that are triggering for women and men who suffer from those diseases. Don't sit there and criticize her body for what it is. So what do you expect her to do? Cover herself up because she's petite and by showing off her body she's "glamorizing" thinness? Come on, that's just being overly ridiculous and it's a totally unnecessary comment.

Just because Gaga had her own

Just because Gaga had her own struggles doesn't mean that she can't be criticized for responses relating to the issue. That one comment that the first woman posted on Gaga's picture? The one where she met Gaga in Australia and Gaga said, "omg, you're so skinny!" is a prime example of something that I find horrendous - ESPECIALLY since she had/has an eating disorder herself. I get that she wants to buck the current system but maybe some self-reflection is necessary in this case.

So you're going to blame Gaga

So you're going to blame Gaga for something another person said to her? Seems a little harsh. Because, she can totally control what people say to her and think about her and say about her. What do you suggest she do? Not be thin?

Great Message, Poorly Executed

Yes, we should try to create an environment with more positivity. Saying, "her boobs look even better!" just seems exceedingly forced (if I say all things are beautiful, then even this tragic occurrence is beautiful :D). If you were to be so bold to make a comment about a double partial mastectomy something like this would get your point across while being tactful, "your chest shows how you're able to fight such a hard battle, and that is beautiful to me!.

I have personally never liked Gaga, but if she makes certain people happy good for both parties.

There is a real tension

There is a real tension between wanting people to see themselves as beautiful and appreciate it and wanting to take the focus off of beauty all together. A lot of commenters have said that there is nothing wrong with wanting to feel beautiful, and I think that I disagree. There is nothing unusual about it. There is nothing inherently wrong with us as individuals for wanting to hear that we are beautiful in a society that places a ridiculous value on it. But there is something wrong with having a focus on beauty as something that matters.

As for where that leaves Gaga's project, I don't know. So long as people are hurting themselves in order to meet some ridiculous beauty standard, it makes sense to try to make them feel pretty as they are (whether this sort of validation works is another questions). It can't possibly work to tell someone that their looks don't matter, when we all know that they do. But it doesn't do anything to shift emphasis away from beauty, and I wonder if it is actually counter-productive.

But I guess calling it a Body Reform just doesn't have the same ring to it.

I appreciate the thoughts

I appreciate the thoughts here, but as someone who is both fat, with stretch marks, and a scar across my neck due to thyroid cancer, I get self-conscious.

Seeing these from Gaga made me cry in such a way that I did feel a lot better about myself and my scar. How can she be reinforcing beauty standards if she tells people that they look gorgeous if they don't necessarily adhere to them, and are self-conscious about their looks?

Why do we need to shift away from looks entirely? I understand it's always good to talk about attributes other than looks, but we live in our bodies every day, we see ourselves every day, we can't avoid our looks. Period. And some people are self-conscious about them and having someone else say that they don't need to be self-conscious can do so much for someone's self-esteem.

The weird thing is, when I do open up about my scar and talk about it, when people say they don't notice it, it makes me feel better and less like a former cancer patient.

It's quite sickening that those pictures were manipulated to make her look like that, and to someone who has struggled with anorexia and bulemia for years, it can be very triggering. And devastating. Her point is that we shouldn't criticize other peoples' bodies but to celebrate them and their "flaws". That is a body revolution to me.

other thoughts....

So if we shift the conversation away from looks entirely, how do you propose that we (or she) do that to people we (or she) doesn't know? What would that look like?

Personally, I don't need someone to tell me I'm smart, because I know I am. I don't need someone to tell me that I'm funny, because I know I am. I don't need people to tell me that they like my personality, because I have friends that do that every day. And for some people (I'm guessing you're in this group) you don't need someone to compliment your looks because you simply don't need it. It doesn't matter to you, it seems.

I think it's incredibly judgmental to tell people that they don't need to be told that they're "pretty" and to focus the conversation on something else other than physical looks. Who are you to tell me that essentially, I shouldn't need to be told that I'm beautiful because we shouldn't be focusing on beauty and on other things? Yeah, I do need that, and yeah, it does help me feel a LOT better about myself.

But can reminding people that they're beautiful be called a "body revolution"?

For someone who needs reminding, yes. Especially considering how cruel and disgusting people can be. How people are teased endlessly about their looks, especially if they don't have conventionally good looks or some sort of flaw or scar or disease.

One thing I will never, ever forget: I was walking down the street with my much thinner friend, and we walked past a group of college-aged guys, and one of them mooed as I walked by. Now, most of the time, I'm pretty much OK with my body, but at that moment, it crushed me. I felt awful about it and I still do. Having a stranger and a group of strangers band together to say the opposite would have such a positive impact on me, and seeing the comments on her website make me have hope for humanity that we're not all pieces of crap.

Because she's a human in addition to being a pop star, and humans tend to gain and lose weight over the course of, you know, life.

Of course, but most humans aren't in the world spotlight and have millions and millions of people scrutinize their every move, their every flaw, and their ever ounce of weight gained. Most humans don't have websites photoshop photos of them to appear heavier (and yes, even thinner. Have you seen those photoshopped pictures of those models so that they appear to be skeletal?) than they usually are and that's fucking hurtful. It obviously is to her.

I dunno, or maybe I'm missing your point. *shrugs*

Props! I'm once fell into the

Props! I'm once fell into the category of skinny people who don't believe they're skinny and have since grown into acceptance of my own beauty, but I feel like so many commenters forget that its a long rocky path we take towards truly appreciating our inner beauty and letting go of our outer beauty. In the long hard years in between, we don't need the more "wiser" in the crowd to preach about how we don't get the big picture - we need their compassionate wisdom and understanding that we all stand on different points along our journey.

Sure, telling someone (like

Sure, telling someone (like you, and like most of us) who is insecure about their appearance, that they're pretty does makes them feel better. ...But it is really a sticking plaster of a solution to the ACTUAL problem which is that you/I/we feel insecure int he first place. And the reason we feel insecure in the first place is because people like to focus on and comment on other's looks. We need to break this vicious cycle.

Well....

"And the reason we feel insecure in the first place is because people like to focus on and comment on other's looks"

If we start talking making *positive* comments rather than *negative* comments regarding body image, I would argue that that would help break the cycle.

The reason why people (like me) are insecure in their looks are not because of the positive comments I receive (and others) but the negative things. People saying what's ugly, gross, etc. that's what needs to change. It's the negativity.

I don't know if you saw the controversy about that blogger calling Kate Upton fat, but her whole blog is about glorifying thinness and making just absolutely wretchedly negative comments about celebrities who have gained weight (or not) and just is so cruel, saying that "So and so could stand to lose 10 lbs! She' be so much prettier!" and her justification in saying such negative things about others is that she receives comments saying that she should eat something because she's too thin.

that's what perpetuates the negativity. I do agree that defocusing on looks would help, but if people always spoke positively about them, there would be a lot less body image issues that people would have, which is what Gaga is trying to do.

Be beautiful!

You're suggesting that women should not value thee, "you're beautiful" comment. That women should net feel good when someone says that to them. This is a big ask. How do you propose to re-program them to value... uh, what comment should they value, anyway? You're smart? What about dumb people? Do you have room for them?

Women have been programmed from birth by their parents saying their beautiful for the first 15 years of their lives (there is that ugly rebellious stage just before leaving the nest). This is said with love and affection in their voice and the expression on their faces. This is why women crave this response from others.

Now you want everyone to stop raising their children to feel special in some way? Where should everyone get their confidence from? Should girls be raised as boys so they are more competitive and get all of their confidence from winning? What about the looser's? Should we stop winning so the looser's don't feel so bad? Should we all join the mantra, "Everyone should be equal and slightly below average."?

Have you seen what happens to women (and men, too) when there is no pressure to look beautiful? Oh my God, have you seen the obesity problem that's going on? I'm telling you right now, with no competition we will turn into the East Germans of old. Is that what you want this world to look like?! Is that so you can be lazy, sleep in, slug it over to the buffet and then get sexed up by someone who's thinking, "Well, I'm horny now and there's nothing better to do so I might as well do you... since you're here."? I'm guessing not.

EVERYONE SHOULD STRIVE TO BE A BETTER PERSON! We should also strive to make the people around us better people, too. We should strive to make society as a whole better, as well. Doesn't everyone know the meaning of life by now? Love, laughter and looking forward to a better tomorrow. How? Sports! You feel better about yourself every time you make an improvement. You gain confidence and status among your peers. You are judged by your effort and your personal improvement all while celebrating those you strive to be like. Sports keeps us healthy, happy and moving foreword. Light competition is fun and breeds laughter. It brings people together. And it makes your sex drive a lot stronger. And I don't care what you say, we all want sex. Good sex. No! Great sex.

You know, I like a lot of the articles in Bitch magazine but some of you have lost the plot. It's a feminist column. Feminism is meant to empower women not bring down everyone else. Women, no, everyone feels empowered when the people around them like what they see. And yes, EVERYONE can be beautiful. And EVERYONE can be confident. So some have to try harder then others. So what. Bitch magazine should be giving them what they need to GET OFF THEIR ASS and go get what they want. Because THAT is an empowered person. Give everyone the strength to make up their own mind what they like, what they want, and to declare it out loud.

BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT MAKES A WOMAN SEXY AND BEAUTIFUL. AND WE SHOULD TELL THEM SO.

One more thing that bugs me about the standard of beauty. The media doesn't DECIDE what is beautiful and cram it down women's throats. There are billions of dollars spent on research to find out what PEOPLE think is beautiful, then they use that to sell magazines and pretty much everything else. There has been a hundred years of trial and error to figure out what to put on the cover of a magazine. Lust is a powerful motivator (as are all the 7 deadly sins). You will notice that the women in beauty magazines are very different to the women in the Sports Illustrated Swim Suit magazine. Women should look to fitness models for inspiration. In fact, YOU (Bitch Magazine) should be promoting sports fitness most of all. Healthy eating and healthy exercises do more to promote a healthy mind than anything else. And if YOU want to empower women, YOU should be leading them to the Holy Grail of confidence and self worth.

Where are your articles on chemical free products like Aarbonne and Forever Living? Where are your articles on artisan foods and where they're from? Where are your articles on what makes YOU happy in bed? Where are your articles on climbing the Corp. ladder? Where are your articles on what YOU chose in a partner and why? Where are your articles on staying fit and eating the right foods? Come on! Get with your own Program!

*sigh* Excuse me?

This whole comment is kinda icky. You make some good points, but you lost those points the further you went on. Your answer is that "sports" is the solution to attaining love, laughter, and looking better to a better tomorrow might work for you, but it's not for everyone. Hardly.

And it makes your sex drive a lot stronger. And I don't care what you say, we all want sex. Good sex. No! Great sex.

See, the thing is, some people aren't sexual at all. Some people have no sex drives, for some people, sex is painful physically, emotionally, and mentally. Some people are asexual. And I find this comment to be insensitive.

You will notice that the women in beauty magazines are very different to the women in the Sports Illustrated Swim Suit magazine.

Um yeah, except that they're the same women.

Women should look to fitness models for inspiration. In fact, YOU (Bitch Magazine) should be promoting sports fitness most of all.

Sports fitness? I hate sports. I'm not coordinated at all. I hate playing sports. I like watching football, but playing it? No thanks. Who are you to say that's the ideal? That might be your thing, but it isn't mine, and I'm not alone. If other women like that aesthetic, then they should go for it. But don't sit there and say to me and others that they should strive for an ideal that isn't their thing.

What you're doing here is promoting one standard of beauty as superior to others (the athletic look). I like having curves. I like having a big fat butt (and so does my husband).

Where are your articles on chemical free products like Aarbonne and Forever Living? Where are your articles on artisan foods and where they're from? Where are your articles on what makes YOU happy in bed? Where are your articles on climbing the Corp. ladder? Where are your articles on what YOU chose in a partner and why? Where are your articles on staying fit and eating the right foods? Come on! Get with your own Program!

There are some articles like this, but this isn't that kind of magazine. This isn't a "self-improvement" magazine. It's an intellectual-angled magazine. It's a criticism of pop culture. And we don't have articles on what makes people "happy in bed" because this isn't a magazine that gives sex advice for reasons I outlined above. And when there are articles on sex, it's in the context of pop culture. Not how to have a better sex life. If I wanted that, I'd read Cosmo (which is actually quite full of shit).

Like i said, this isn't that kind of magazine. It's not a fitness magazine, it's not an advice magazine. You're barking up the wrong tree.

Geez Louise! What a

Geez Louise! What a manspanation.

I feel like you're setting up this whole false set of assumptions. You have the option of telling daughters they are beautiful vs. they won't feel special. You have the idea that people (women) must feel pressure to be beautiful or there will be a decline in productivity and everyone will become lazy slobs who aren't good for anything other than a pity physical encounter. Furthermore, I don't think there are many (any?) Americans that aren't under the pressure to be beautiful. I don't think most obese people (whom you seem to be conflating with lazy slobs) have escaped the pressure of society telling them they should be beautiful. I've never heard the mantra "everyone should be equal and everyone should be slightly below average" so I'm really not sure where you're getting that from.

The reality is that there are more options that the ones you're presenting. You can still make a child feel like they are special and have intrinsic self worth without that relying on their adherence to current beauty standards. You can remove the emphasis of physical beauty and people will still do healthy and productive things for their health and happiness.

I think it's also a joke to think that the media doesn't shove a beauty ideal down everyone's throats. Look at the women that were considered the most beautiful from different time periods - even different decades in the 20th-21st century. Do people's attractions change that quickly on their own? Doubtful. The fashion and cosmetic industries exist to SELL PEOPLE THINGS so sometimes they have to make up a new problem in order to sell a solution.

Also... Who the HELL are you to tell me who I should look to as an inspiration in any regards? Step off, bud.

And Miriam does a great job explaining what this magazine is/is not. It isn't a ladies fitness journal (and I'm glad because if it was, I wouldn't read it).

I agree with the OP on this

I agree with the OP on this one. Yes I think Gaga's intention s are good but I'd much rather the message was 'it's OK not to be beautiful/fuckable' or perhaps 'Being beautiful/fuckable isn't everything, so lets focus on something else'. I completely agree that for a campaign based on revolutionising perceptions of beauty and image it sure is focusing a LOT on beauty and image. In fact, asking people to send in their pictures at all makes this campaign way off the mark for me... the aim of campaigns like this shouldn't be to make everyone feel beautiful/fuckable in their own way (not that everyone shouldn't) because that implies that it is very important to feel like an attractive 'thing'. We need to teach girls/women/people that it really doesn't matter... I know it's natural an' all to wanna look good but a lot of things are natural that we don't condone just because they're natural. Now all this isn't to say I don't see the good in the campaign and I do actually commend Gaga for her efforts, but these things are EXTREMELY complex so I'm glad the OP pointed out the flaws which (for me) are painfully obvious.

Yes! Also, what I don't like

Yes!

Also, what I don't like about the request for pictures is that the other side of the coin is that people who 'still' don't want to send in pictures implicitly are not 'brave' enough.

Sure, it might be empowering to those who do (although the effect of people you don't know commenting that you look beautiful no matter what might fade after a day, a week or a month as well). But to those who don't, I don't think its that empowering at all. They'll just have another thing to feel bad about. Not only do they have a bad body image, they are also not brave enough to work on it.

The effort of Gaga is appreciated, but I'm not sure how much this will do in the end.

Also, in a way it glamorizes eating disorders a wee bit. Not the disorder itself, but overcoming it. As if one always has to come out stronger, prettier, better, etc. An eating disorder is complex and sucks sometimes also after having overcome it.

For sure people like Gaga an be an inspiration, no doubt. But let's not simplify the situation here.

Amen to the author of this

Amen to the author of this piece!

When we're still talking in terms of beautiful/not beautiful—no matter how affirmative we mean to be—we're still taking part in a discourse that privileges 'beauty' over all else.

Fuck beautiful, let's own UGLY. Let's own a new narrative of how we relate to our bodies and the world. And when we do, then and only then can we fully get down to the business of being human—regardless of how we look—and the work of making this world a better place.

Let's own beautiful AND ugly.

We can make our own "beautiful" and "ugly" without being wildly unrealistic about it. If you look at Gaga, she's kinda odd-looking by Barbie-doll-model-pop-star standards. She has a larger, more impressive nose (like moi!) that's inspired its own blogs and Tumblrs. Her teeth kinda stick out. Blah blah blah. I will get excoriated by someone for pointing out "flaws" in a woman, but what I'm saying here is:

she OWNS all her beauty and makes these slightly different, non-Barbie characteristics into beauty... because she is/was telling the media and the young girls what's beautiful and appealing. She struts out like a way-more-accessible Peaches, and while I'd take Peaches over Gaga any ol' day, both of these women expand what people think of as cool. If you haven't spent much time with teenaged and preteen girls recently--holy crap, do these subtle things matter to their self image and decisions about how to present themselves!

Thanks

It's not simple and I appreciate the debate. It's infuriating that I can simultaneously understand the harm of the beauty industrial complex while still feeling the brainwashing of wanting to be physically beautiful. Despite all the accomplishments in my life, people are most impressed and proud of me when I have lost weight. I struggle with an eating disorder (for 15 years, half my life) and what is the most difficult and upsetting for me to deal with is the fact that so frequently, who I am as a person in the word is largely defined by what people think of my appearance be it size, gender, race/ethnicity. My value is determined first by what is seen in a glance.

Part of me really loves Lady Gaga for giving her fans a place to love their bodies wholly and fully and to allow them to be vulnerable in their anxieties and love of their bodies. That's great, she's a celebrity who seems to care about her fans, However, my trouble with beauty campaigns is the assumption that empowerment most significantly comes from approval (outside or inner) of ones physical appearance. Our bodies inform who we are in the world because how people are treated is frequently a result of how they look but could a body revolution redefine how we celebrate the body? My body is not just the skin and bones and scars but also my brain, my compassion, my intellect. Mind and body are connected so perhaps we can celebrate all of what makes us human, not just our physical forms and then maybe we really can have an evolution of the beauty of humanness.

My body is wonderful because it allows me to be in the world where I can engage with others respect others traditions and opinions, learn new things every day just by talking and listening to other people and not judging them on their physical appearance. I love my body because it allows me to have and enact compassion, it allows me to make mistakes and learn from them, and it allows me to love. My body allows me to do all of these things despite how my skin or hair look, despite my size, despite my sexuality and gender, despite my physical abilities, despite the symmetry of my face. My body allows me to have all of these experiences whether or not anyone considers me physically beautiful.

Just came across this

Like this!

I Do Agree

That Gaga's (and her Little Monsters') comments could be phrased in a more body-positive light. Why not, "she is now a C cup, and her boobs still look beautiful because ALL BOOBS ARE BEAUTIFUL"? That would have been perfectly acceptable and confidence-boosting for everybody. We should never feel bad about complimenting someone or pumping them up, but we should understand how to do it in a way that makes everyone feel good about themselves, not just the person it's directed toward.

Gaga is a genius; this was

Gaga is a genius; this was all preconceived years ago I reckon. She's dismantling pop culture at high speed for us all to pick over after she's done. There is ambiguity in her use of words like "hot" and "beauty"; she isn't just speaking of inner beauty, or falsely complimenting people. The problem is most perceived beauty is hardwired into humans (golden phi, 120 degree angles, symmetry, etc)... you can jam culture but not evolution.

Firstly, I'm a bit late with

Firstly, I'm a bit late with my comment. I've been reading about this 'Body Revolution' that Lady Gaga has launched for awhile and have been waiting and waiting for people to bring this point to light: So many of Lady Gaga's fans are quite young and, therefore, quite vulnerable to shady characters on the internet. Why is everyone getting behind this and okay with them posting pictures of themselves in their underwear? Am I just being a prude about this or something? Young teens taking underwear selfies in the name of self-acceptance is all well and good, but it's not very responsible.