Kelly Clarkson’s name made its way into Twitter’s trending topics last night, alongside hashtags relating to the EastEnders’ live 30th anniversary episode. She was performing her new single, Heartbeat Song, on The Graham Norton show, but that wasn’t the reason why she popped up in a lot of people’s feeds.
From the moment the camera cut to Kelly (I was watching the programme at the time), I hoped reactions on social media didn’t focus on her appearance. I felt stupid that this was the first thing that came to mind, even though it wasn’t me judging her negatively. Because of how badly women are portrayed in mainstream media, especially when it comes to their bodies, my immediate instinctive thought focused around the very thing I didn’t want it to – her weight. She’s a singer, it should be about the performance, not if she is a size-whatever.
I knew that Twitter would be flooded with body-shaming comments. That expectation shouldn’t be there, but hey, the excuse is it’s the internet and this is what it does. (One of the first tweets being from Katie Hopkins, of course.) I just wish that we could do better by now, that we’d have started to stop this overwhelmingly harsh scrutiny of someone’s weight and to not post revolting messages about it on a public forum.
Scrolling down the timeline of negative tweets, there were positive ones as well, all coming to the defence of Kelly. It’s great that there are people who are calling out the shameful fat ‘jokes’ (at least there are some with sense), but they shouldn’t have to because those hurtful comments needn’t exist.
Can’t we just watch a performance of an artist without having to treat them like a real-life version of Operation?
It’s not just Kelly that has been under this kind of spotlight, either. Singers like Christina Aguilera and Jessica Simpson have also faced similarly targeted comments about their appearance. These are women that are now in their 30s, have had children and taken different directions in their careers. So what if they have put on a few extra pounds?
If this is seriously the internet’s way of responding to a person’s size, it needs to grow up. By that, I mean that we – as a culture that is constantly ridiculing people who are bigger than average – need to get the hell over it. It’s not your body so you don’t have the right to tell someone what they should do with it.
So go on Kelly, show ‘em what you got and kick some butt while you’re doing it.