Embracing female diversity within the music industry

Maria Voznuka

In the very polarizing year of 2019, female diversity in music needs to be embraced as Lizzo and other prominent musicians take a stand against racism and body shaming.

Lizzo is a relatively new presence, but she already made a huge difference in the industry. As a plus-sized woman of colour, she has inspired millions of women worldwide by promoting body positivity and self-love.

Her music encourages self-acceptance and gives women confidence regardless of their body type, which is something that had not been explored in the past. Songs such as ‘Truth Hurts’, ‘Boys’ and ‘Juice’ have been branded as iconic since their release, and rightfully so.

Even the nude cover from her most recent album “Cuz I Love You” is inspirational in itself as she makes self-love look attainable.

“Body negativity is the norm. It’s what’s expected, so body positivity is this novel idea, and I think it has something to do with consumerism in the media. They’re selling you an idea of yourself that you haven’t yet quite accomplished,” she told Entertainment Tonight Canada.

While Lizzo was received very well in the music industry, the same cannot be said for Meghan Trainor who went about promoting body positivity in the wrong way.

In 2014, Trainor came under fire for her offensive lyrics which shamed thinner women in her song ‘All About That Bass’. For someone who promotes body positivity, she made a fatal error by referring to some women as “skinny b*tches” and implying that men prefer curvy women. Not only is this a toxic outlook on diversity, the idea that women only exist to attract men is also extremely problematic.

The singer worsened the situation when she joked about not being “strong enough to have an eating disorder” in order to lose weight. In her interview with Entertainment Tonight Trainor also added: “I tried to go anorexic for a good three hours. I ate ice and celery, but that’s not even anorexic.” She was criticised online for this.

Demi Lovato spoke out about Trainor’s comments in a series of tweets. As someone who struggled with eating disorders and self-harm while growing up in the public eye, the comments clearly affected Lovato, who is a prominent advocate for mental health and body positivity.

“Having an eating disorder doesn’t show “strength.” Strength is when you are able to overcome your demons after being sick and tired for so long,” she said.

The singer recently shared an Instagram post encouraging women to embrace their bodies and to stop photoshopping their pictures. “So here’s me, unashamed, unafraid and proud to own a body that has fought through so much and will continue to amaze me when I hopefully give birth one day,” she shared.

Beyoncé has also been branded as the face of diversity in the music industry, especially when she made history as the first black woman to headline Coachella in 2018. Not only that, but she also included a full African American team of dancers as a way to celebrate and promote her culture which undoubtedly resonates with women of colour internationally.

Her recent hit ‘Brown Skin Girl’ was also received well. The song is aimed at dark-skinned women and celebrates their beauty despite what societal conditioning may have taught them.

After decades of little to no diversity among women in music, it is refreshing to see so many strong, independent women in the industry celebrate their differences by being unapologetically themselves, inspiring women everywhere in the process. It is nice to see society taking steps in the right direction.

Maria Voznuka

Image Credit: Andrew Witchger