Ariana Grande’s been laying low, enjoying newlywed life, and filming back-to-back Wicked movies, but yesterday before heading to set, she recorded a rare video message publicly addressing people’s opinions about her body. Over the last few months the comment section of her occasional social media updates have been filled with fans sharing “concern” over her appearance and what they think it’s saying about her mental and physical health.
“The body you’ve been comparing my current body to was the unhealthiest version of my body,” Ariana says in the TikTok clip. “I was on a lot of antidepressants and drinking on them and eating poorly and at the lowest point of my life when I looked the way you consider my ‘healthy’”.
If you were to watch the video with no sound, it looks like a great celebrity apology video. No makeup and no script. But when you listen she’s actually calling people out in the most compassionate way, because she understands the problem is way deeper than the opinions of a few unfiltered fans. She acknowledges her body’s been talked about for the last decade but she wanted to join the conversation this time. And instead of centering herself, she uses the opportunity to discuss how we all need to change our comfort level with speaking on other people’s bodies — period — because you never know what someone going through.
As body-shaming has been called out and becomes socially unacceptable, we (as a culture) are trying to hide it behind the guise of “concern” for someone’s health and then we end up projecting a diagnosis based off of the subjectiveness of how physically appealing their body is. It’s what we’ve seen time and time again with Lizzo. People want to call her unhealthy, but anyone who’s been to a Lizzo concert knows it takes incredible stamina and breath control to perform at the level she does.
Ariana’s body is different than it was five years ago and that’s not something we needed to be having discourse about in her comment section. She didn’t owe us the explanation that her body changed because she’s happier and healthier. I don’t imagine it was personally beneficial to have this conversation right now, but I admire her ability to think beyond her own situation and use this moment to try and change the dialogue around the baseless meaning we attached to old beauty standards.