Lizzo Is Tired of People's 'Big Girl' Stereotypes: 'I'm a Body Icon'
Some celebrities are getting pretty tired of their bodies being the topic of conversation—Jonah Hill posted a message to Instagram in October noting that comments about his body "don't feel good," while Nicola Coughlan shared a similar sentiment in January. And Lizzo is one celeb who has always been upfront about body positivity and the unsolicited opinions she hears about her figure. Now she's opening up about being a "body icon" in her cover story for PEOPLE's Women Changing the World issue.
The Grammy-winning singer sat down with Jason Sheeler, PEOPLE's deputy West Coast editor, for a conversation about her career, music, race and her body. "I—and many, many people who look like me—have been devalued and undervalued, and because of that, we don't get opportunities," she said in a behind-the-scenes promotional video. "We don't get representation, and we actually get s- - - on a lot in the media, almost as a tool to make other people feel better about themselves in a weird way."
She explained that she continues to see women like her cast as the same old stereotypes, like "the big girl who's insecure" or "the funny, fat friend." But Lizzo isn't about to let herself or others be put in a corner. "I don't think I'm the only kind of fat girl there is," she told PEOPLE. "I want us to be freed from that box we've been put in."
Lizzo will be adding a little more positivity to the way "big grrrls" are seen on screen very soon. Her new Amazon Prime competition series, Lizzo's Watch Out for the Big Grrrls, will follow her auditioning process for new backup dancers. For an extra-positive twist, Lizzo told Variety that she doesn't eliminate dancers in each episode, and the series won't be about harshly criticizing the dances.
"I just wish people would see the value in fat Black girls," Lizzo added to PEOPLE. She added that she has seen slight improvements when it comes to seeing women who look like her on television, especially in commercials. "I've heard that a lot of times in auditions, they'll be like, 'We're looking for a Lizzo type,'" she shared. She told PEOPLE that she knows she's played a role in that, and it's something she's proud of.
Lizzo also opened up about being a "body icon" and shaping the way people talk about beauty standards. "I think I have a really hot body! I'm a body icon, and I'm embracing that more and more every day," she told Sheeler. "It may not be one person's ideal body type just like, say, Kim Kardashian might not be someone's ideal, but she's a body icon and has created a modern-day beauty standard." She added that she's "stepping into [her] confidence and [her] power" to create a beauty standard all her own that might just be *the* standard one day.
And while Lizzo doesn't shy away from addressing people who criticize her for her looks, she admits that having people bring it up constantly gets pretty irritating. "Okay, we all know I'm fat," she told PEOPLE. "I know I'm fat. It doesn't bother me. I like being fat, and I'm beautiful and I'm healthy. So can we move on?"
We can all agree with her points—her body is her business, and nobody wants to hear unsolicited opinions about their life. If you're struggling to practice body positivity right now, try some of these tips for getting away from negative body image, or check out this dietitian's advice on encouraging body positivity within your own family.