The reigning queen of body positivity celebrated her post as ambassador for Dove’s campaign to make social media a more positive, accepting place with — what else? — a beautifully unedited selfie.
If there was anyone that Dove was going to tap to help them tackle the self-esteem-destroying dark side of social media, it had to be Lizzo, reigning queen of the kind of content that, well, makes you feel good as hell. Just take the newest unedited Lizzo selfie.
“I have nothing to hide,” the 32-year-old singer, flautist and newly-minted Dove ambassador shared during a media event on April 20. “There’s no shame. I just post myself. Take me as I am. You’re gonna have to love me.”
Hosted by celebrity makeup artist and Dove Self-Esteem Educator Dre Brown, yesterday’s live stream celebrated Lizzo joining the brand’s Self-Esteem Project, launched in 2004 to give people the tools to create healthy body image. This particular iteration of the campaign is setting its sights on social media and the ways that staring at images of “beautiful” people all day (most of which are doctored and filtered beyond belief) can erode our sense of self-worth.
Or as Lizzo put it yesterday: “There’s a completely unrealistic standard for your face and body now. There’s something really dangerous about that.” That’s why she’s partnering with Dove to encourage parents to have the “selfie talk” with their children, digital natives who might not be able to tell the real from the distorted. “It’s really inspiring to see how people are taking their identity and their beauty into their own hands,” she said in a statement that ran with the announcement. “However, people are struggling with their self-image and self-confidence more than ever…It’s happening to young people everywhere, so let’s talk about it.”
And while she’s an icon of body celebration these days, Lizzo shared that her own journey began in a dark, “scary” place. “When I was a teen, I remember waking up and wanting to be someone else, change my body, my hair texture, the colour of my skin,” she recalled, adding that in the early 2000s, the filters that exist today weren’t around. “That feeling was already there,” she continued. “It scares me that now there are tools that cash in on those insecurities. They feed the monster.”
Flipping that switch from self-loathing to self-embracing was, as she phrased it, “literal survival. I thought, ‘If I’m going to continue living in this body, I have to find a way to like myself.” A key turning point in that was re-thinking the people she followed on social media. “Everything changed when I started following people who looked like me,” Lizzo said. “I used to follow people who were society’s beauty standard, and while they are beautiful, looking at them I felt I needed to change my appearance.” When she stumbled on Gabi Fresh, an OG body positivity influencer, Lizzo remembers how excited she felt. “She looked like me, and i thought she was beautiful and sexy — and she was in a bikini!” In a wonderful case of paying-it-forward, Lizzo is now that person for so many of us too.
“You can curate your feed so it’s a place of joy that caters to your mental health,” she said.
And a reminder: Her body (and yours, if you want) is not a political statement: “Not only is this body fat and this body positive, but this body’s normal. When you see it, keep it pushin’ and keep the same energy as when you see any other body,” she continued. “When you see it, just don’t say anything.” We’ll double-tap that, all day long.