Gossip singer Beth Ditto‘s new memoir, “Coal to Diamonds,” is out, so quotes from interviews and appearances on her PR tour are starting to roll in–including the obligatory discussion of her weight. And so far, we love it.
Unsurprisingly, her recent interview with The Advocate included a ‘let’s talk about your body’ segment, but her answer was far from typical. Instead of throwing out a canned “body positive” response, or shaming the media for discussing her looks at all, she explained that she hopes all the attention she’s gotten for her size will do positive things for the girls and women who come after her:
While Olympia and Portland (where Ditto and her mates moved a few years ago) can be havens of radicalism, being fat, queer, and feminist can be tough on the world stage. The pressure to be thin affects every female performer today, but the Gossip front woman thinks that perhaps she’s better prepared for the criticism, and she feels sorry for women who were once thin and then gain weight.
“I feel sorry…for people who’ve had skinny privilege and then have it taken away from them,” she writes in her book. “I have had a lifetime to adjust to seeing how people treat women who aren’t their idea of beautiful and therefore aren’t their idea of useful, and I had to find ways to become useful to myself.”
And part of being useful is welcoming critics, fans, and journalists to talk about her body as much as her music.
“I think it’s great. I feel like it’s just like taking one for the team. I think it’s really cool that there are people like Adele on the cover of Vogue and Rolling Stone, and like I think it’s really important that people are talking about your body, because if they don’t, then you’ll never be able to break that barrier.” She says because of her and Adele, when a 200-pound girl wants to be a singer in a band “it’s going to be a lot fucking easier.”
“I know [some musicians] are like, ‘Oh, it’s all about the music.’ But I come from riot grrrl, where it’s not just about the music, it’s about the political message, and that’s just as important as the music to me. I don’t mind being a guinea pig.”
I don’t know what I like more: Ditto’s “take one for the team” attitude, or the fact that she’s willing to take on some responsibility as a role model, along with the benefits of being a celebrity.