I Don’t Care.

The boom of Lizzo's music and popularity has brought up criticism from those who disapprove of her image

Lizzo+displaying+her+%22I+Don%27t+Care%22+attitude+on+stage+at+a+performance.

Fortune Newspaper

Lizzo displaying her "I Don't Care" attitude on stage at a performance.

By Claire Majerac, North Allegheny Intermediate High School

How easy is it to say: “I don’t care”? How easy is it to ignore rude, cruel, and harsh comments from others who in society’s viewpoint, are better than you?

One person who demonstrates this skill to the best of anybody’s ability that I’ve ever seen is Melissa Viviane Jefferson, but perhaps you know her as Lizzo.

Lizzo is so much more than a chart-topping black hip-hop/pop singer; she is a cultural icon who encourages young men and women to embrace their body types, sexual preferences, and emotions.

A self-proclaimed “big girl,” Lizzo embraces this statement by wearing outfits that emphasize her comfortability with her body and size.

Lizzo’s self-confidence in wearing these outfits is a good thing.

By wearing these outfits, she is proving to young girls and to people everywhere that a dress size does not define you.

Others, like Jilian Michaels, think otherwise. In an interview with the Washington Post, Michaels said:

“Why are we celebrating her body? Why does it matter? Why aren’t we celebrating her music? It isn’t going to be awesome if she gets diabetes.”

Michaels went on to later state that she loves Lizzo’s music and listens to it frequently, however it is words like these that get people down and convince us that it matters what others think of us.

While Michaels’s intention seemed good, as she sounded concerned about Lizzo’s health, her real intention was to discriminate against the sole principles of Lizzo and the principles for which she stands.

Here’s the thing: the central message of Lizzo’s music is based upon the idea of “girl power.”

In her song “Like a Girl,” Lizzo talks about female empowerment and how all people are strong regardless of how they look (or weigh).

Lizzo at the iHeart Radio Music Awards

Lizzo’s carefree, diva-esque message proves to people that she is comfortable with who she is, which is something we so desperately need nowadays. Her acceptance of her body is a rarity.

In fact, 30 million people in the United States have an eating disorder. To put that in perspective, it’s a few thousand less than the size of the current population of TEXAS.

Further, in a poll by Heart of Leadership Statistics, 77% of female underclassmen at a typical American High School consider themselves too fat. But of those students that were considered “normal weight,” based on their BMI, 19% still considered themselves too fat, and 12% of the girls admitted that they were trying to lose weight. Further, according to apa.org, eating disorders have the highest rate of mortality of any mental illness.

People are quite literally starving themselves to death because they believe that they don’t look skinny enough, and at an alarming rate too. Every 62 minutes, someone dies from a direct result of an eating disorder.

These statistics leave me speechless. They are a key reason that I think that we need Lizzo’s empowering, self-love message in our lives NOW more than ever.

Her message is not the only thing that is impressive and remarkable about her, though. She has earned the position of TIME’s Entertainer of the Year, and in an interview with Time magazine “after nearly a decade on the road, performing shows for next to nothing, living in your car, and being your own hype man,” Lizzo explains how she has gained the level of her fame. Her hard work is inspiring as well as her message.

Lizzo is living proof that if you work hard and stand strong for what you believe in, people will listen to you and realize that what you have to say is good and necessary. She proves to us that you don’t have to change your views to “fit in” with society. You can be a woman, African-American, heavy, and STILL believe in what you want.

Lizzo pushes the music industry and society in general forwards to have accepting and positive views of women and all people regardless of color, gender or size. Her “I don’t care” attitude inspires me every day to be who I want regardless of the opinion of others.

I believe that we need to incorporate Lizzo’s ideas into our daily lives: the opinion of others does not define us and staying true to what you believe in is all you can do when times get tough.

This story was originally published on NA Eye on February 26, 2020.