If there’s one thing the Internet loves, it’s cat videos. If there’s a second thing the Internet loves though, it’s when someone is mad as hell and isn’t going to take it anymore. So it went with yesterday’s viral Christina “Xtina” Aguilera quotes about being fat, which were shared widely, applauded by many, and totally fake.
Yeah, I didn’t say that stuff.
The bogus story quoted Aguilera as telling Billboard:
Basically, they told me I would affect a lot of people if I gained weight—the production, musical directors, [they claimed] people I toured with would also miss out if I gained weight because I would sell no records or tickets for my shows…
I told them during this Lotus recording, ‘You are working with a fat girl. Know it now and get over it.’ They need a reminder sometimes that I don’t belong to them. It’s my body. My body can’t put anyone in jeopardy of not making money anymore—my body is just not on the table that way anymore.
Great right? Too bad it didn’t happen. The quotes originally showed up on Us Weekly (they’ve since been removed), and according to Entertainment Weekly, they gained traction via a Tumblr post that was of course also fake.
So what happened? Well, it looks like someone at Us Weekly may have made the quotes up or yanked them from a Tumblr user who made them up, but no one’s talking and they aren’t likely to start. What’s more interesting to ask is why did this happen? Did someone just really want Christina Aguilera to stand up to the haters and self-identify as fat? Did they just take their celebrity fanfic and try to make it come true? (And does that work? Because if so I have a story about Amy Poehler and Will Arnett that I’d like to share with you…) What was it about this fabricated story that resonated so strongly with so many people?
We live in a complicated, heavily networked, 24-hour media-soaked world where we’re more likely to share a good story than to fact-check it (confession: I “liked” this quote on a friend’s Facebook page yesterday and had no idea it was fake—you might have done the same). We’re bombarded with a million media messages every day telling us how to look, and when someone as famous and famously sexy as Christina Aguilera allegedly calls bullshit, we love it. Xtina never said she was a fat girl or that her body isn’t a commodity (she may feel that way, I don’t know, but she is beautiful no matter what you say) but we liked the idea of her saying it. We wish she would say it, because she has a platform and an audience that most of us don’t. She can call out fatphobia and body policing and sexism in a very public way, and we wanted to believe that she did.
The Tumblr blogger who was originally (wrongly) attributed with fabricating the quote had this to say about it:
I really don’t understand how I became the originator of a quote that had 600+ notes on it when I reblogged it. It does make me really sad its a fake though. Insert two billion sadface emotions here.
I don’t know about two billion sadface emoticons—after all, Aguilera can make her own decisions about her body and how she talks about it—but the fact that this story went viral reminds us how messed up the media is when it comes to women and women’s bodies. We believed that record execs would threaten to cancel a tour because a pop star gained 15 pounds because we know the music industry is shitty to female performers in that way. Whether Christina Aguilera wants to call herself a fat girl and tell the media to shove it or not (and it seems like not), we believed her body was being treated like a commodity because it was and likely still is. Insert those two billion sadface emoticons here.