Pop star Rihanna has responded to an online article which attempted to body-shame her.
According to Mirror, the article, which was posted on the website Barstool Sports, asked the question: "Is Rihanna going to make being fat the hot new trend?"
The author of the article, Chris Spags, joked about Rihanna's figure, commenting that she has been "enjoying that good room service for a bit too long." He added: "A world of ladies shaped like the Hindenburg loaded into one-piece bathing suits may be on the horizon now that Rihanna is traipsing around out there looking like she's in a sumo suit."
Her fans quickly came to her defense, condemning Spags and his post. "I've yet to come across one male employee at barstool that isn't shaped like a lump of raw dough so congratulations you played yourself," wrote one critic.
Another pointedly demanded: "Delete this s***. You are out of line."
On June 5, Rihanna herself responded with a meme showing rapper Gucci Mane at different weights -- one in 2007 and another in 2017. Her caption states: "If you can’t handle me at my 2007 Gucci Mane / you don’t deserve me at my 2017 Gucci Mane." She added a crying emoji to her post, feigning sadness.
The public opposition was reportedly strong enough to convince Barstool Sports to delete the post. Editor Dave Portnoy admitted the article "wasn’t that funny," and noted that "if you’re gonna blog about Rihanna gaining weight you better be funny as f*** and you better make it bullet proof."
Body-shaming can have serious consequences, according to The Obesity Society. "The social consequences of being overweight and obese are serious and pervasive," the organization says. "Overweight and obese individuals are often targets of bias and stigma, and they are vulnerable to negative attitudes in multiple domains of living including places of employment, educational institutions, medical facilities, the mass media, and interpersonal relationships."
Overweight persons can also be "denied a position or promotion due to his or her appearance, despite being appropriately qualified."
It can have an effect on mental health, too. "For obese adults, research has documented that individuals who experience weight stigmatization have higher rates of depression, anxiety, social isolation, and poorer psychological adjustment. Some obese adults may react to weight stigma by internalizing and accepting negative attitudes against them, which may in turn increase their vulnerability to low self-esteem."