You’ve Lost Weight! Congrats! Oops, Can’t You Can’t Say That!
Do you even know who Demi Lovato is?
I would bet most of the KIT audience doesn't, despite the fact that Wikipedia says she has," won 61 awards from 214 nominations for work in music, film, and television... On television, Lovato starred on the sitcom Sonny with a Chance (2009–2011), served as a judge on the music competition series The X Factor USA for its second and third seasons, and appeared as a recurring character on the musical comedy Glee (2013–2014) and the sitcom Will & Grace (2020)."
Sound familiar? You can check out Lovato's website HERE
I haven't followed the 28 year old's career but I do know of the significant talent, the bursts of popularity, activism, eating disorders, substance abuse and mental health issues over the years.
Now Fox News is reporting that Lovato has decided that "she" is "non-binary and will henceforth be using "they/them" pronouns". (my bad) You can put me in the line of folks who don't quite get all that. But, I don't have to. It's
her their life and their choice. (Is this the confusion my parents felt when thinking about the Beatles?)
So why bring up the latest in the unusual life of Demi Lovato? Not to mock or judge but because Fox News also reports Lovato as saying, "complimenting someone on their weight loss can be just as harmful as complimenting somebody on their weight gain."
I consider myself an observant person, and I'm also someone who likes to engage, to chat, joke, quip, comment and pass out compliments and reasons for others to smile and feel good about themselves. Lovato cautions against that.
"If you don’t know someone’s history with food, please don’t comment on their body," Lovato, 28, wrote in an Instagram story post. "Because even if your intention is pure, it might leave that person awake at 2 am overthinking that statement…"
Here's the problem. Not everybody thinks or feels like Lovato. The widest of a wide majority does not. According the the website GenPsych: • An estimated 0.5 to 3.7 percent of women suffer from anorexia nervosa in their lifetime. • An estimated 1.1 to 4.2 percent of women have bulimia nervosa in their lifetime.
A lot of people really work hard to lose weight and to them, their body transformation is a big deal. They really appreciate the acknowledgment of their effort and success. Should I not compliment people so as not to run the risk of affronting those few in the minority who might not process my positive intent in the manner it was offered?
Do we spend our lives walking around in silence, refusing to connect with others? How do we support the concerns of someone like Demi Lovato while giving the deserved compliment earned by Jane at the gym? I guess we each have to figure that out for ourselves, but I am rarely comfortable taking mental health advice when counseled on how I should operate by someone who has left "she and her" behind to embrace "their and them".
I agree we should accommodate whomever we can, whenever we can, as long as it doesn't compromise our values, IF we know of their request. But should we pre-emptively assume everyone is like Lovato? Are we to act like all compliments run the risk of offense? With all due respect to the fluid self image of Lovato, I say NO.
You want to tell us how you want to be addressed Demi? Fine.
You want to tell me how to address everyone else, based on your personal experience? Not fine.
The singer behind hits like "Sorry Not Sorry," "Heart Attack" and "Stone Cold" shared personal struggles with mental health and addiction in a YouTube documentary, prior to and following a near-fatal overdose in 2018.