Taken Aback(side): The backlash against Lizzo’s backless shirt

I don’t listen to Lizzo and rarely watch basketball (unless it’s a college team playing a full court press), so her appearance at an LA Lakers game was unknown until mentioned in several feminist groups.

Lizzo’s Bootylicious Lakers Game Outfit Goes Viral After People Share Mixed Reviews

The “Truth Hurts” singer rocked a black T-shirt dress with a cutout that showed off her thong as she twerked on the Jumbotron.

By Jenna Amatulli

Many people have a something to say about Lizzo’s latest sartorial choice.

The 31-year-old singer wore a black T-shirt dress with a spicy twist to the LA Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves game over the weekend: a cut-out that revealed her black thong. And, in true Lizzo fashion, she twerked to her heart’s content while at the game.

When the twerking hit the Jumbotron and then Twitter, fans and critics alike came out in droves to offer their thoughts on her outfit and antics.

Yes, negative comments galore made by nosy parkers talking about something that doesn’t affect them whatsover.  People moaned and whined after the game, “Think of the children!” They would have commented during the game, but they were too busy looking at the 50kg Laker Girls dancing around the basketball court at halftime, wearing hot pants and crop tops with exposed bosoms.

More text below the fold.  Yes, the picture you’re expecting is there, and so is another.

Aurielle Marie wrote an insightful piece on Teen Vogue about her and society’s reactions:

Lizzo’s Lakers Outfit Isn’t the Problem, Hatred of Fat Black Women Is

I’ve worked to overcome my own body shame, by listening to fat-positive experts like the brilliant Sonalee Rashatwar and Ericka Hart. I fill my Instagram feed with diverse bodies by following Ashleigh Shackelford, TheBodyIsNotAnApology, Naomi Chaput, Kelly Augustine, and Sesali Bowen. Instead of weighing myself, I focused on activities that fed both my body and my spirit. The shame that I fought to put down is, I suspect, the same energy driving the outrage over a butt-baring outfit Lizzo wore to a recent LA Lakers game. Sitting courtside, she rocked a black t-shirt dress with a hole cut in the back, exposing her butt cheeks and a black thong. During the game, the star got up to twerk when her hit Juice came on, celebrating herself and her hit record.

The image of Lizzo shaking her bare ass at a basketball game quickly went viral, and with that came heaps of criticism. I watched hundreds of people weigh in on Lizzo’s right to wear clothing she owned in a public place, a right no one has the authority (or, frankly, the funds) to bestow or deny. Who the f*ck does Lizzo think she is?, people asked, she knows better than to show her ass like that. Another commented Why do bitches like Lizzo think they can wear whatever they want? Questions that are violent, dehumanizing, and so familiar.

Immediately, discourse on social media became anti-Black and fatphobic. Sure, most of us don’t wear dresses that expose our ass via a circular cut out. But if it were a slim white woman wearing the outfit, would we be having the same discussion about her worth, her morals, and her value?  Would people have asked who “bitches like” that think they are? What this discussion on large bodies is and has always been missing is a reality check: People are not mad that Lizzo showed her backside, they hate fat bodies and the Black girls housed in them. And they hate us even more when they can’t control us, limit our social mobility, or dictate when and where and we are allowed to celebrate who we are and how we look. We look good as hell, and we know it. That’s exactly what pisses folks off.

When Miley Cyrus exposed her bottom in several places, nobody said a word except those who claimed “that white girl has curves”Bamboo has more curves than Miley Cyrus does.  Hell, *I* have more curves.  (Would I do something as outrageous as Lizzo?  That’s between me and my photo collection.)

I saw this rebuttal meme below in the group Feminists Without Religion.  It’s a great touché to all those getting touchy about Lizzo’s performance:

I hope this starts a big conversation about how society polices the bodies of not just Black women and “large” normal bodies, but also women and girls in general and dress codes at schools.  Stop pretending this is about “morality” and admit it’s creepy men wanting their fantasies fulfulled and narrow minded attitudes catered to.

I readily admit I had the same failings and ignorant racist reactions in the past.  Changing learnt attitudes is difficult and takes time, but it’s a necessity and an obligation.  People’s existence is not the crime, ignorant attitudes are.  The “ideal body” is as unattainable and non-existent as any “god”.



    • says

      Did you note the hidden link, the period at the end of the sentence that ends just above Lizzo? That’s Hallowe’en 2017. Somehow I won “sexiest costume” over all the cis women. I guess the pity vote won the day. ^_^

      I have some scandalous Lizzo-type photos from this year’s Hallowe’en, but FTB isn’t the place for them.

  1. Bruce says

    So, why do basketball players ever wear bigger shirts than the cheerleaders? The shirts just impede movement.
    Unless everyone wants to admit that sports team monopoly businesses want to exploit female looks in order to make money. Obviously, our government licenses these owners to profit from objectifying women.
    Nobody who goes to or watches a sports event with such cheerleaders should be talking about it if every man and woman there were dressed like Lizzo. Either it’s ok for everyone, or ban cheerleaders. When the NBA, NFL, etc publish dress codes for everyone, then we can start talking about this.

  2. brucegee1962 says

    I’m a bit confused about this post. I can see arguing that women ought to go ahead and wear anything they want, and that dressing in a sexy way is a sign of female empowerment, and that people who object to women or men flaunting their bodies can take a hike. Or I can see arguing that the way cheerleaders dress at basketball games is all about “creepy men wanting their fantasies fulfulled and narrow minded attitudes catered to.” But arguing both at once seems to take some mental gymnastics that I’m not comfortable with.

    I realize that some of the commenters who are being criticized in the article were motivated by Lizzos’ non-traditional beauty standards, but I’d rather take race and body size off the table and just look at what’s appropriate. So let’s just talk about Miley Cyrus instead. Do you think any or all of these are appropriate?
    – Miley wears this outfit and shakes her behind at one of her concerts
    – Miley wears this outfit and shakes her behind in the stands at a basketball game
    – Miley joins a cheerleader squad which uses this outfit as a uniform

  3. brucegee1962 says

    Oh, and add in one more hypothetical: what about a guy (hot or otherwise) in all three situations?

  4. brucegee1962 says

    I’m thinking about what I said above, and I’m worried my point may not be clear, so let me try again.
    The guys in the comments cited by the article clearly believe that scantily dressed cheerleaders twerking is ok, but a scantily dressed Lizzo twerking is not ok. This post seems to argue the opposite: that a scantily dressed Lizzo twerking is ok but a scantily clad cheerleader twerking is not ok. Now, clearly everyone here agrees that a woman’s race and body size shouldn’t make any difference in terms of how she’s treated, so my question is, why should it make a difference where she’s standing in a basketball arena?
    Or in other words, just because our opponents are being logically inconsistent doesn’t mean we need to be logically inconsistent to argue against them.

  5. StevoR says

    People’s existence is not the crime, ignorant attitudes are.

    Quoted for truth.

    Good on Lizzo and more power to her.

    All people should be able to dress as they please as long as it causes no harm or threatens no harm to others -situatiosn that ar ereally rare and rather hard to think of. I gues sthere’s certain work contexts where certain clothe sare essential eg uniforms, long sleeves and hat when going Bush toprotect against sunburn and scratches form branches etc .. Radiationand volcano heat protection suits, biosuits etc .. in those contexts but otherwise.

    but they were too busy looking at the 50kg Laker Girls dancing around the basketball court at halftime, wearing hot pants and crop tops with exposed bosoms.

    Exposed bosoms? Well, no, not really in my view.The image that word creates for me is them being topless – not even Janet Jackson’s half second exposed tiny portion of nipple when Justin Timberlake ripped off part of her clothes really counts. I mean the idea that women have breasts and nipples is radical and wrong how exactly and something kids shouldn’t know or see because why exactly?