Christina Aguilera has issued a big “F*ck You” to the music industry and its ridiculous standards for female bodies. In a new interview with Billboard, Christina said she told producers of her upcoming album Lotus: “You are working with a fat girl. Know it now and get over it.” Effing whoa, girl.
UPDATE: Christina Aguilera’s rep denies that she discussed her weight in her interview…but no one is sure where Billboard sourced her quotes.
I’m so intrigued by Christina’s position here. She’s being body-positive in a such a bold, unexpected, in-your-face way, at least for a female celebrity. Rather than spouting off canned, PR-friendly phrases like “I love my curves!” (and then losing 50 pounds six months later for “health reasons”) Christina is telling it exactly like it is. She’s saying “I’m fat. That’s me. Deal with it.” In fact, her use of the word “fat” is itself kind of incredible. When do you ever hear any celebrities call themselves fat, much less in a positive, empowering way?
Christina also discussed her past with body image in the music industry. Tired of being “toothpick thin,” she explained how she gained weight after her successful first album. Apparently, her record company wasn’t happy about the way she looked when she showed up to promote her second album, Stripped. She said:
“The next time my label saw me, I was heavier, darker and full of piercings. Let me tell you, that wasn’t an easy pill for them to swallow. They called this serious emergency meeting about how there was a lot of backlash about my weight. Basically, they told me I would affect a lot of people if I gained weight – the production, musical directors.”
She also said: ”They need a reminder sometimes that I don’t belong to them. It’s my body.” You can tell that Christina is pissed off about how she’s been treated in the past, about the way that her body became commodified. While she’s not totally off the hook in this (I mean, she does choose to be an entertainer), I really appreciate the fact that she’s helping to interrogate the status quo—especially publicly.
Christina’s words are a powerful statement in favor of female bodily autonomy, both in the entertainment industry and outside of it. It’s no secret that female celebrities are under constant criticism (just look at Jessica Simpson). Women in the music industry can’t seem to do anything right: they’re damned if they’re too thin, too fat, too sexual, too anything that offends the powers that be. Those powers are the industry itself: the moneymakers in the music business. But let’s not leave out the media, which subjects women to an endless cycle of mixed-messages about what’s ok and not ok for a woman to do with her body.
And Christina’s obviously had enough of that bullshit. She’s reclaiming her body for herself and no one else: “My body can’t put anyone in jeopardy of not making money anymore. My body is just not on the table that way anymore.”