Is Pink’s Way the Best Way to Stop Fat Shaming?

When Internet commenters criticized the singer’s weight, she took to Twitter to defend her curves. Flannery Dean proposes another strategy for shutting down the trolls

How do you respond to fat-shaming trolls who can’t seem to grasp the Golden Rule?

You don’t. That’s not a problem you can solve.

That hasn’t stopped some female celebs from trying. Most recently, it was Pink who felt the need to answer those who thought it was a worthwhile use of their limited time on earth to suggest the pop singer had put on a little weight.

Social media trolls came out in full force after Pink’s recent appearance at a cancer benefit (Photo: Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images Entertainment)

The singer responded to the comments with a note on Twitter. It begins with a hearty dose of sarcasm: “I can see that some of you are concerned about me from your comments about my weight,” she writes.

She concludes with a pushback against the idea that extra weight dooms a woman to deep, dark despair. “I am perfectly fine, perfectly happy, and my healthy voluptuous body and crazy strong body is having some much deserved time off,” she explains.

Though I respect Pink’s decision not to play the victim, in the end her “perfectly happy” talk still reads slightly goofy, a modern variation on Stuart Smalley’s “I’m good enough, smart enough and doggone it people like me” mantra.

Related: Read our sister mag Today’s Parent’s take on Pink’s reaction

Everyone from Kim Kardashian to Danielle Fishel has felt the need to publicly respond to being called fat. A few weeks back, model Jaime King went after those who fat-shamed a then-pregnant Kim Kardashian, suggesting that it was a particular evil to make her feel bad for packing on the beef in service of the biological imperative. (Irony alert: King then went on to simultaneously contribute to insane pregnancy body-consciousness by posting pictures of her bikini-body bump online in the name of celebrating the pregnant body; and Kim Kardashian never quits talking about her weight!)

I think it’s time female celebs let go of the “teachable moment/positive affirmation” line for one solid reason: it’s not working and it’s soaked in the image-conscious culture they’re reacting against. Instead, why not take a page out of The Male Celeb’s Handbook for Dealing With Creeps. Male celebs don’t react or post pictures seeking affirmation; they shrug it off for the nasty white noise that it is and always will be.

Actor Jonah Hill has been called fat a hundred different ways, but he still hasn’t felt the need to proclaim he’s “proud” of his stretch marks like Alyssa Milano and Chrissy Teigen have recently. Leonardo DiCaprio’s bachelor belly hasn’t gone unnoticed on gossip sites, but he doesn’t choose to trumpet the cause of other Buddha-bellied men, because that would be ridiculous. Comedian Kevin Hart, who is endlessly mocked for being small in stature, has never felt compelled to corral support among other short guys as a means of shoring up his own self-confidence.

Their silence may be largely the result of a culture that doesn’t look at guys the same way, but the example is one we might want to follow if we ever want to unshackle our confidence from the unstable reality of public perception.

It’s time to acknowledge that the reason we keep responding to all the nonsense is that somehow we’re trying to justify, explain and apologize for being ourselves. And that for whatever reason, we kind of do care whether or not people think we’re pretty or ugly or some hybrid of both. Letting go of the troll within—that’s a problem we can solve on our own.

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