Lizzo, Body Positivity, and the Image of God, Part I

I have to be honest, Lizzo is not in my normal genre of entertainment–yet she did get my attention.

The news and social media posts have been flowing heavy, so I just had to go check her out.

Wow, what a beautiful and charming performer! She has an amazing smile, a great voice, and can be quite funny.

And also she is taking on, through her music, something that is very encouraging to me.

We have long lived in a time of the cultivated image–pretty faces, perfect teeth, and practiced smiles. The advent of MTV and VH1 seemed to make it unlikely that anyone who was musically talented could make it unless they were also highly attractive (according to the demands of our society) on camera.

In the classic book Amusing Ourselves to Death Neal Postman postulated, “…it is implausible to imagine that anyone like our twenty-seventh President, the multi-chinned, three-hundred-pound William Howard Taft, could be put forward as a presidential candidate in today’s world. The shape of a man’s body is largely irrelevant to the shape of his ideas…”, in other words, in our image-centric media world he felt that the largeness of Taft would have prevented him from even being considered as a candidate no matter what his political genius was, and that would be a tragedy.

Thus, Lizzo has certainly achieved a significant victory in a time of shallow focus on the perfect body type as being a prerequisite for success. She is a very talented performer who demonstrates that we should not judge someone’s worthiness by how skinny, athletic, or otherwise “perfect” (in a societal sense) someone is.

Good on Lizzo for that.

Could I Make a Scriptural Recommendation, Lizzo?

I’m a singer, and I’ve done some onstage performing with my local community choir–so yes, I’m a total amateur compared to you–but I do enjoy singing and bringing joy to people through performance.

First of all, keep singing sister! The first video I watched of you was “About Damn Time,” and in that initial scene where you are wearing your sweats and look like a girl in school–you are so charming and sweet. You voice is totally amazing.

And then you quickly appeared in something very revealing, sexy, and blue. And I x-ed out of the video.

Nothing to do with you and your body shape–it’s just the way I understand what God meant by the beauty of the female form when exposed.

Lizzo, you are beautiful and very desirable in whatever you wear, but–that beauty is not for everyone to see. Our Creator intended that to be something special between a woman and her man–particularly in marriage. The man is wired to be drawn to that raw physical image. Indeed, tests have been run on college-aged men and they found interestingly that “skimpy” clothing is more attractive (i.e., “sexy”) than full-blown nudity.

Our Creator intended for that exciting view to draw a husband toward his wife, and since man and wife sometimes do  not get along–that draw is what motivates the man to seek to repair and heal the relationship. After all, he wants to fully enjoy his wife again.

So when I minimized my browser when you came out “skimpy,” it was by no means a critique of my estimation of your beauty–it was what I would have done for any entertainer of any weight/shape wearing something similar. Such imagery is not for my eyes. It is too private, too special, and out of context.

Yet we live in a culture, where not only do we overvalue physical perfection–we also celebrate making special things common–even commercial.

After all what is wrong about prostitution spiritually is that we are selling something meant to be an intimate spiritual-physical connection between a husband and wife alone. We take a precious gift and turn it into nothing more than a packaged treat to be enjoyed for the moment, absent the beauty of a long-term relationship of love.

And that is really where the biblical admonition of modesty is directed. “…Women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control… (1 Timothy 2:9). The writer is not saying that there is something wrong with the physical beauty of a woman, but that it should never be profaned, in other words, taking the spiritual and making it a consumer product.

In other words, with all the love in my heart, Lizzo, now that you’ve achieved a victory over some theoretical need for physical perfection in order to be successful–could you now lead the way in showing that your voice, your beautiful face, and your energy are more than enough to merit being listened to? Could you be the leader in refusing to sell something that should never be sold?

And while you’re at it, I am painfully aware that we live in an age of the degradation of our language–and profanity is as common as air.

I heard an average American guy recently lamenting how he found American women “not so attractive” lately–but Japanese women, on the other hand, he found hard to resist.

But maybe not for the reason you might think.

He said that “Japanese women are beautiful, but so demur.” Demur is a not-often-used word anymore and it has more than one meaning. But what he saw was that Japanese women, although beautiful, were hesitant  to be proud, loud, and profane.

As he said, it was likely because they were cognizant of honoring their families, perhaps back to several generations. They showed honor to their fathers, and that made them far more attractive than the far-too-common cussing and showy American woman today.

We need some strong leadership to clean up our language, stop making what is precious about a woman so vulgar (common),  and show humility–I think you are a good choice for that role, Lizzo.

I ask all of this because you are really an amazing performer and singer–and I would not to have to click out of your videos. You are an example for many, but we need to lead these many into a more healthy and respectable way of life.

Keep on singing, and I’d love your performance even if you wore the grey sweats all the way through! Your smile along with your voice–that’s all that is needed!

Tune in to Part II

Need some more spiritual truth on body image? Tune in to Part II, where we’ll discuss food, weight, tattoos, and other current topics.


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