Pop Culture

Lizzo Sparks Interesting Conversation on Bigotry, Appropriateness and Stereotypes

Written by Saran Lawson

Lizzo’s cut out dress has sparked A LOT of debates on appropriateness. The debate has ranged from whether it was her size that is the problem or just her buns being out at the wrong place wrong time. I’ve sat back and absorbed the argument on all ends and it has reminded me of other debates on appropriateness. On the one hand, one can argue that blogs and commenters outrage on it just being a time and space issue are a cover for her size. On the other hand, there are children at the game and twerking around children with your buns out is a social no go. I’m going to be honest and say that certain abrupt nudity (despite size) has been a turn off for me. I’m no more passive on it when Nicki does it than Lizzo if I’m being honest. However, I am honest enough to say that body positivity people aren’t crazy. A lot of people are turned off because it’s a bigger body. Honestly, I don’t think you would find Nicki twerking somewhere she wasn’t being paid in that sort of outfit. However, the argument of her body size is the issue isn’t misplaced. 

I mentioned before other arguments on appropriateness. Most of you know parents have taken issue with Disney. Back in 2017, the first gay kiss was on a children’s cartoon series on Disney was aired on the show “Star vs The Forces of Evil” in the “Just Friends” episode.  The main characters on the show attend a concert and one of the songs sparks lip-locking amongst audience goers. Amongst the couple smooches were several same-sex couples. Recently, the parents have been up in arms again because there have been other mentions of Disney airing the same-sex couples and kiss scenes. Historically Disney has supported the LGBT+ community so it comes as no surprise to people who are familiar. However, I’ve seen articles air where people are taking offense to the fact that Disney would show anyone kissing on a kid’s show. Here is the issue with that, There are several Disney movies and shows where opposite-sex couples are kissing. Even recently in “Frozen 2” there is a montage of Anna and Kristoff. One scene features them kissing. I don’t doubt Disney snuck it in on purpose to see if anyone would react. Sure enough, I haven’t heard anyone protest the movie because of the kiss. The double standard is there. I’ve seen allies and members of the LGBT+ community say, It isn’t the fact that people are kissing. It’s the fact that gay people are kissing. And honestly, I can say that the bias is there. “I don’t want my child to see anyone kissing at an early age” for some people is a thinly veiled excuse to cancel out a gay kiss on a children’s network.

That brings me to Lizzo, “I don’t want to see anyone wearing something like that at a basketball game” can be taken as a thinly veiled excuse. It can be translated as, “I don’t want to see a larger-sized body in that outfit”. An attempt to hide their prejudice with a universal sensor. In order for me not to see this person wear this, we should ban everyone. In order for me not to see these groups of people showing affection in front of children, let’s ban everyone. I understand the partiality of this sentiment. One person who does not practice thinly-veiled ideals is Azealia Banks. While she did state that she thought the outfit Lizzo wore to the basketball game was cute. She shared some sentiments about Lizzo and her image as an artist. Ideas that she has posted before. In a recent Instagram story she wrote:

“It makes me sad that she feels the constant need to like…make fun of herself and her sexuality as “the fat girl” when I’m sure she would really rather just be celebrated for being talented & successful. It just fits in with that TV version of the thirsty fat black woman who has a hard time being considered sexual by men so she just does all these extra ghetto/aggressive borderline sex predator things to get male attention stereotype teas. Very ‘Haaaaay professor Ogelvee’ gigs”.


And just like that, although no one has accused Azealia of being compassionate, I can’t say that I see her point. Historically bigger sized black women have been portrayed as these sex-crazed, sexless predators who seek out male attention. Her argument was less about what Lizzo was wearing and about her behavior in the public eye. Although, Lizzo would see herself as being free-spirited. I can’t say that her actions and words sometimes line up to exactly what Azealia point to be. Even members of the plus modeling community have spoken up about her wardrobe. I do think that everyone is an individual and should be allowed to be exactly who they are, even if who they are likes to wear “cut out bum” dresses. I feel this way even if this doesn’t exactly line up with my personal views on decorum. Or, whether it’s going to make other black women who look like her bear the burden of her image. I am adamant about black women not being a monolith. However, I will say that she has raised a lot of dialogue about several issues. Appropriateness, Bigotry, and Stereotypes. Sound off in the comments your views on Lizzo’s wardrobe and behavior at the game.  


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