Rihanna recently stepped out looking a little bit thicker than usual and fans everywhere seemed to praise her for her appearance.
Seriously, they were overjoyed with the singer’s new embrace of her curves.
Rihanna in New York Today🎌 pic.twitter.com/ODNZeKrUIm
— Outlander Magazine (@StreetFashion01) May 24, 2017
rihanna got thick again which means I have to get thick… for the culture
— SHY (@SHYSOAGGY) May 24, 2017
But as usual, to quote Rihanna herself, “People are gonna talk whether you’re doin’ bad or good.”
In this case, Barstool Sports saw these new images of RiRi and hopped on the opportunity to take a stab at the star for the supposed weight gain, accusing her of making “fat the hot new trend” in a now-deleted story and Twitter post.
Barstool Sports is a men’s blog known for its controversial articles and blunt style of writing and reporting. Chris Sprags, the creator of this particular controversy, puts forth the assumption that Rihanna was getting fat and in doing so was setting up a trend for girls who admire her to follow.
Though it sounds light-hearted, the underlying message and the language Sprags used throughout were actually pretty disturbing.
Barstool is a male ran blog meant for males. To the ordinary girl, this seems like the ultimate place to gain some insight into the inner-workings of the male mind. If this is the kind of message that is being sent, then girls are going to internalize that this is the standard male thought process, which only contributes to a negative body image.
Aside from the fact that the author of this article felt as though he was entitled enough to poke fun at Rihanna, he clearly did not consider the many negative effects of fat-shaming someone so publicly.
According to The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders Inc, at least 30 million people in the U.S. suffer from an eating disorder. As a culture, we wonder why these numbers skyrocket so high yet we continue to fat-shame.
If women are sent the message that in order to be an ideal woman they must conform to a certain body standard, odds are they are going to take drastic measures to achieve that standard.
Something that a lot of people do not realize is that the average American wears a size 16-18 while the average model wears a size 0-2. This is a perfect way to illustrate the inaccuracy of body representation in the media.
One of the biggest issues with the author’s statement is that he not only calls Rihanna fat but he blames her for trying to set a trend. There are many factors that can go into the fluctuation of a woman’s weight and it is no one’s business to be making assumptions about the reason behind a gain or loss in someone’s weight.
Twitter swiftly shut him down.
everyone at barstool looks like melted pillsbury biscuit dough we arent going to acknowledge their opinions on rihanna's body this sunny day
— le hancoq sportif (@hancxck) May 30, 2017
i’m sure everyone at barstool sports is extremely beautiful and has 4% body fat, so they can throw shade at rihanna
— Listen to @onbeliefpod & @ongriefpodcast Li'l 🌳 (@karengeier) May 30, 2017
LRT: i read this and had two reactions: 1) Barstool is gross, men are gross, and 2) look at all the beautiful things Rihanna has done
— sarah (@SarahCalise) May 30, 2017
After receiving so much backlash, the article was removed from the site and the tweet removed from Twitter. Though the statement has been removed it was still made. This is just one example of how women have been treated and the unrealistic standard of beauty that they are held to.
Hopefully the negative attention that this article received acted as a wake-up call for Barstool. The only way we can change the way women feel about their body image is by promoting an environment that accepts all body types without fat-shaming.