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The Scarlet & Black

Op-Ed: Why I’m obsessed with Lizzo and you should be too

Lizzo performing her single “Rumors” onstage in 2021. Photo contributed by Hollywood Life.

After my high school ceased in-person classes in 2020, I gained 20 pounds within a few months. My jeans didn’t fit right. My face filled out more. I relied heavily on sweatpants and baggy clothes to cover my new weight. My confidence was at an all-time low. 

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying the pandemic made me fat. Like so many young girls, my self-confidence was not super high to begin with. My Instagram was plastered with pictures of size 00 models that made me set unrealistic beauty and body standards. I remember looking in the mirror at my thirteen-year-old self and wishing I could zap off the layer of fat at the bottom of my stomach.  

When in the deepest throes of pandemic-heightened depression, I discovered Lizzo. Sure, I’d listened to “Juice” on the radio, but only after COVID-created time on my hands did I listen to her full album. And let me tell you, it is transcendent.  

In fact, every song on her 2019 album “Cuz I Love You” — including the more mellow ones “Jerome” and “Lingerie” — centers around being her own soulmate and loving her curvy body.  

Lizzo makes a point of only writing music about confidence and positivity. In a 2020 interview, the artist said “I love the fact that kids love me, because I’m making music to make us better, to make us smile, to make you love yourself and I think that children need that more than anything so they can teach the next generation how to love themselves. … Love your body.” 

Sure, there are plenty of uplifting songs in the world, but “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves or “Happy” by Pharrell just couldn’t reach me the way Lizzo could. And her music helped counterbalance my obsession with darker indie music. I was just as into Billie Eilish as all the other wannabe manic pixie dream girls, but I don’t know if I would have made the same strides in self-esteem and mental health if I spent all my time listening to “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” instead of “Good as Hell.” Lizzo’s message, musical style and contagiously optimistic personality resonated for me in an unparalleled way.  

The former concert band nerd in me can’t help but geek out that Lizzo is a classically trained flutist. (If you have not yet seen Lizzo twerk while playing the flute, you are missing a life-changing experience!) But whether or not many of us can really appreciate her instrumental virtuosity, no one can argue that Lizzo isn’t a star in her own right. In her affirmation of body positivity, she also reminds us that “big women, big brown and Black women, queer women — are not benefitting from the mainstream success” of the movement. So even as Lizzo benefits from the movement that she helped catalyze, she still knows that her personal success is an exception to the rule that still needs changing. 

In fact, Lizzo has created a new show, “Watch Out for the Big Grrrls,” to help make that change. So far, the show has a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes. The reviews are in: Lizzo is a badass. 

From her style to her humor to her unabashed confidence, Lizzo has certainly made a name for herself. She is a pioneer in the music industry and should not be underestimated. Lizzo has climbed her way up a steep and treacherous ladder to bolster not just her own career, but those of other big girls. 

I know that these days many of us feel down for a variety of reasons: mental health challenges, pessimism about the wider world, lack of body confidence or all of the above. But I also know there is hope. As I write this at my dorm room desk, next to me is a crackling prayer candle with Lizzo’s face on it (thanks for the awesome birthday gift, roomie!). Lizzo may not be an actual god(dess), but I am here to tell you that she has indeed been the answer to my prayers.

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About the Contributor
Allison Moore, Staff Writer
Allison is a fourth-year gender, women's, and sexuality studies major from Granville, Ohio. In her spare time, she can be found crafting, cooking, and cuddling with her kitten, Koda. If you think her mini crossword is too hard, then too bad.
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