This article contains an image of a naked rear end.
For reasons related to the trends best documented in “Coming Apart,” our entertainment media reflexively applauds any vaguely progressive statement from the celebrity class. Given that celebrities are enormously powerful for their wealth and clout, the journalists tasked with covering them most closely do bear some responsibility to give us vegetables with our tabloid dessert.
Now, however, like their peers in the news media, entertainment journalists are too drunk on cultural leftism to even recognize their biases, let alone check them. The consequence is further normalization of bad ideas that directly hurt people with less power far more than they hurt journalists.
Take obesity. Lizzo—who happens to be insanely talented—is among the many celebrities seeking to “normalize” obesity, a goal she recently made explicit. E!, owned by Comcast, then endorsed the singer’s sentiment on Instagram.
Our entertainment media engages in reflexive cheerleading of any vaguely progressive cause instead of covering celebrities like journalists and holding powerful people accountable for their actions
See the caption on this graphic for Exhibit 1,000,000 pic.twitter.com/4iFSj08xHV
— Emily Jashinsky (@emilyjashinsky) May 3, 2021
It may seem harmless, but this is one of the country’s most powerful entertainment news outlets endorsing a celebrity’s argument that obesity should be “normalized.” E!’s journalists surely travel in circles where such a sentiment is hardly considered controversial. Their endorsement of that sentiment is not even a bias they would recognize because soft, you-go-girl body positivity is taken as conventional wisdom for millennial journalists, whose work environments and social lives have been cleansed of dissenters.
As a consequence, this major corporate arbiter of cultural norms used its power to endorse obesity. But, of course, obesity affects poor women at higher rates, so E! journalists don’t have to deal as much with the consequences. A 2017 CDC study found “overall obesity prevalence decreased with increased levels of income and educational attainment among women.”
To put it bluntly, they’re kicking back and watching the likes rack up on their MacBooks while poor women are getting sicker.
Entertainment media outlets don’t need to endorse their subjects’ ideology to provide entertaining coverage. E!’s audience isn’t the same as the Wall Street Journal’s. That doesn’t make it okay for a news outlet to let celebrities use their journalistic platforms to advance and normalize their ideologies without any checks, especially on contentious health issues like obesity or gender dysphoria.
We all bear responsibility for the health decisions within our control. While major media outlets influence our cultural norms, no individual’s obesity is E!’s fault.
It’s also well worth mentioning that our culture should absolutely support people in unhealthy conditions—physically or mentally or both—to be happy, pursue health, and respect themselves. But “normalizing” contentment with a generally unhealthy condition in a way that discourages the pursuit of health doesn’t strike the right balance.
It’s especially gross coming from a cohort of educated, middle-class female journalists who discourage that pursuit out of ignorance or for the sake of virtue signaling. This is all compounded by the reality that expressing disagreement with Lizzo is reflexively smeared as body shaming by many of those same women. They encourage people to be unhealthy and then intimate them out of criticism.
As with pornography services like OnlyFans (feted recently by Disney-ABC) and social media platforms, our cultural power-brokers are encouraging the rest of the country to stay fat, addicted, and silent in the interest of protecting their own reputations, padding their pockets, and growing their own influence.