Like many other social media users, Lucy Hale posted a photo on Instagram to honor her dad on Father’s Day.
The Pretty Little Liars star captioned the stunning photo of herself and her father with a few heartwarming words, saying, “You taught me to have a soul. I love you, daddy.” The post, which gained over 786,000 likes, reeled in a ton of criticism over what Hale posted in the comments section.
Hale tagged famous celebrity hairstylist, Scotty Cunha and wrote, “ugh, I was so fat.” Cunha quickly responded, “lol still gorg tho!”
As expected, many Instagram users called out Hale for promoting a negative body image.
User @rozzleroo commented, “Oh great, just what we need. Women with celebrity status body shaming themselves and therefore thousands of girls who are of normal weight. Good grief.”
Some users even resorted to unfollowing the actress. User @thenotoriousevf wrote, “@lucyhale disappointed in you. can’t follow- very detrimental to women with eating disorders.”
Other fans showed genuine concern for Hale, including @ezriafitzz, who commented, “You weren’t fat at all @lucyhale you were beautiful then and are still beautiful now. Stay strong x.”
A few even took the time to educate others about eating disorders. User wannabecapulet wrote, “I’ve been struggling with anorexia my entire life. A lot of these comments are really missing the point and targeting your character when your character shouldn’t even be in question.” They continued, “A person who knows what it’s like to look at picture from three years ago, and even three months ago, I know how often I regard that girl as ‘fat.’ More often than not I call the girl in the mirror that, too. I really hope you know your worth as a person, and I’m sure you do. You didn’t ask for it, but you’re someone that people look up to. I’m sorry that some of them don’t understand the disease. Take care, Lucy. I’ll always think you’re beautiful.”
There are obviously a number of issues with someone of Lucy’s size calling herself “fat,” but the big issue is that by labelling a skinny figure as “fat,” she is encouraging an unrealistic idea of what healthy bodies can actually look like. And Cunha’s reply implies that a larger-than-average body type is less attractive, which is only strengthened with the various other comments like “you don’t look fat, you look beautiful.” It’s making it seem as if fat people can’t be beautiful when in reality, fat and beautiful do not correspond with or rely on one another.
Hale’s body image concerns are completely valid, as many thin people do seriously struggle with body negativity, but as a public figure, with many young women who look up to her as a role model, it’s immature to encourage her fans that “fat” is an unwanted quality.
Hale has previously opened up about her past issues with a eating disorder. Back in 2012, she told Cosmopolitan, “I’ve never really talked about this, but I would go days without eating. Or maybe I’d have some fruit and then go to the gym for three hours. I knew I had a problem… It was a gradual process, but I changed myself.”
She has not yet responded to the controversy.
While Hale may have not meant to spark such controversy, her comment is a sore spot that unfortunately affects so many people.
Body shaming is never okay, whether it’s shaming for being overweight or underweight. As long as Lucy Hale is comfortable in her own skin, that’s all that matters.