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Why Comments on What Christina Aguilera Did Not Say Still Matter

Yesterday, the popular media threw a hissy fit after Christina Aguilera was first reported by US Weekly to have told Billboard magazine that she is through with being a “skinny white girl” (or words to that affect), which Billboard magazine then said never happened, leading to a retraction by US Weekly and other outlets that picked up this quote.

More interesting than the ‘who-said-what-to-whom’ episode are the comments left on Billboard magazine’s website.

Here are two examples of the diametrically opposing views on this issue:

Mac: Oh COME ON!!…she was never “skinny”…she had a PERFECT body. But now she’s just plain FAT! Face it Christina, you got lazy, stopped working out, and have just been stuffing your face with junk food. And now this is your B.S. way of justifying it.”

Linda: She looks great. Big ups Christina!!!! I love how she is embracing her body at its natural state for her at this point in her life. We need more women in the limelight to do just that, it frees society and humans to be themselves and happy. Haters are gonna hate. Love will eventually set us all free.”

These comments pretty much sum up the public discourse on body weight.

One camp thinks it is all self-inflicted (lazy, stuffing your face), the other is in the positive body image size-acceptance (embracing her body, natural state, good for you) camp.

Like it or not, these discussions in the context of Christina Aguilera’s (or for that matter any celebrity’s) shape and size, do more to shape the public discourse and perception of what body weight may or may not be, than any academic discussions that we may be having about this issue at public health agencies or elsewhere.

Ignoring this discourse means being irrelevant – you cannot influence a discussion if you refuse to join it.

Edmonton, Alberta


  1. A question paramount to public health care is whether weight gain in a thin adult (or a child) is related to the disease of obesity? Also what impact does this topic have on the dynamics of the staging system from a critical evaluation perspective? Does the thin adult – or any adult – who gains weight “allow” or “encourage” the weight gain? There are many Hollywood stars who started out as thin and were encouraged to remain thin. They practiced a discipline and continuously tweaked that discipline, thus “allowing” themselves to remain thin. To the extent they stopped practicing or tweaking their discipline, they did influence their consequence. Many consider this omission, or ignor-ance of their discipline, to be a reflection of failure, which then conjures shame. Many public health care taxpayers believe their funding should reflect success, particularly through hard work and discipline. This begs the question of whether public health care members are responsible to ensure we discipline ourselves to the extent that we do not venture beyond stage 1 of “our” staging system? Or stage 2? Or stage 3? Or stage 4? Many taxpayers become frustrated when their perception of failed discipline allows them to conclude “it’s your own fault and you are wasting my tax dollars”. This is compounded by their appeal to a sense of fairness that includes personal responsibility and discipline. Some believe government and corporate commercialism plays a role, mandating similar government and corporate discipline, but others do not, as reflected by the ruling party and voters.

    What is the relationship between discipline, fairness, and oppression in light of obesity and the staging system? Possibly this question could be incorporated and mapped as part of the ongoing critical evaluation plan.

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  2. Anon actually gets at an important aspect of the debate. Sharma and EOSS emphasize “stopping the gain” as critical for all stages. Christina Aguilera may have been an appropriate weight (probably too skinny) but she had to maintain it through the hard discipline that it takes everyone in the EOSS levels to maintain weight. One of the continuous refrains on this blog is that it is very hard to maintain the discipline to keep weight off. So Aguilera decides she has had enough. Has she actually exhibited the “failure” that EOSS tries to prevent by allowing the weight to come on, thus making it even harder to take it off again?

    Even if we think that the comments about her choice are negative in the context of body image – “you’re fat!”, I thought that EOSS had been trying to promote consciousness of the discipline at keeping weight stable.

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  3. We should all practice responding to negative remarks about an individual’s size or weight in the same way we respond to negative comments about a person’s ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender, for example–promptly, firmly, and clearly so as to show that such negative comments are biased, intolerable and uncool. Celebrities might have much more social influence in establishing acceptable social norms (about weight remarks) than we realize. Historically, celebrities have played significant roles in advancing greater acceptance about race and sexual orientation. Perhaps celebrities could play a similar role in advancing weight (fat) acceptance. It’s a wonderful thought, anyway.

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