Who would have thought a tummy – Selena Gomez’s no less – could be the catalyst to saving us all from ourselves?
Ok, I may be getting ahead of myself, but the actress and singer has whipped people up into quite the frenzy after declaring, with meme backing, as she is wont to do, ‘real stomachs is coming the f**k back, ok?’
In a TikTok this week, Selena was seen reclining on a boat (#richpeople am I right?) in a one-piece and rubbing her tummy while insisting she’s ‘not sucking s**t in’.
While I’m usually resistant to celebrating such a thing as ‘woman simply exists’, the comments from her followers have got me thinking.
‘You make me feel comfortable in my own skin,’ one proclaimed, while others mused of the ‘refreshing’ nature of her body positivity.
If more celebrities and influencers took a leaf out of Selena’s book of body positivity, I’d go so far as to say there would be no such thing as ‘body positivity’ – everyone would be thriving in their own skin without making a thing about it.
Yes that sounds very pie-in-the-sky thinking, but we’re dealt with an influx of filtered and fabricated physiques that have employed more special effects than a Marvel film, which makes it impossible to know what is real or not on our timelines anymore.
And as much as activists are turning the tide in their own circles, it’s gonna take someone like Selena – who breaks through the echo chamber with her 42.5million followers on TikTok, after once boasting the most followers on Instagram before Cristiano Ronaldo and his 473million ran onto the pitch and nabbed that trophy – to shift the message.
As one responded to her clip, ‘you don’t realise how much this video helps us young women’ and, scepticism back in its box, by job I agree.
I also recognise, though, that Selena is in a position to stand up in the face of a billion-dollar industry that sells, like, everything off the back of perfection, and for every Selena Gomez there is a whole family of Kardashians that don’t subscribe to such a body positive movement and make millions each day from an arguably altered version of ‘reality’.
Selena might be encouraging not to ‘suck s**t in’, but Kim Kardashian became a billionaire from creating a shapewear company that will do that for us.
And the total antithesis to Selena’s message, and brilliant timing for this here column, only this week did Kim reveal she’d had a ‘stomach tightening treatment’.
If anything, props to the mogul for finally admitting it’s not just diet and exercise that helps her achieve her famous bod (even if it does reek of gifted content), but, for the rest of us who can’t afford such luxuries as sitting back and having an, albeit painful, laser eradicate stomach fat, suppose we’ll give this body acceptance palaver a whirl.
Still, as it tends to fester in this little ol’ brain o’ mine, there’s a point of inner-debate in the way Selena’s sentiment is seemingly revelatory.
As a society we’ve gone so far that someone, who is still arguably slim and attractive, miming along to a refusal to ‘suck’ one’s tummy in is being praised as some sort of philosophical oracle.
Maybe it is going to take a lot more than a five-second clip to truly save us.
Because, got a stomach? Not an inanimate object? Congrats hun, you have a ‘real stomach’. Yes, you too, Kim, no matter how many tightening lasers you throw in our face.
I don’t want to poo-poo Selena’s message with my defeated brand of cynicism, though, as it can only do good and I can’t minimise the effect on people to see this kind of content, normalising the celebration of ourselves, no matter the size, shape, texture, whatever, in a world where the constant bombardment of altered perfection is creating peak toxicity and dysmorphia.
So I for one welcome our unapologetic queen Selena who is here to bring a reality check to our algorithm *breathes out*.
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