‘Bootylicious’ Celebrated Curves When Skinny Was In

‘Bootylicious’ Celebrated Curves When Skinny Was In

08.24.21
Photo: BET Awards 2020/Getty Images via Getty Images
08.24.21

Beyoncé skillfully schooled the world on body positivity 20 years. But some are still experiencing pressure to fit into a particular box. Earlier this month, Lizzo cried on Instagram Live after being fat-shamed.

And way too often, women — acknowledging that this happens to most people — are scrutinized for the way they look or the way they don’t. In a cover story interview with Harper’s Baazar, Beyoncé explained how her experiences with criticism and overweight gain inspired her to write the body positivity anthem.

“I remember when I started hearing people criticize me after I had put on some weight. I was 19. None of the sample clothes fit me. I was feeling a bit insecure from hearing some of the comments, and I woke up one day and refused to feel sorry for myself, so I wrote ‘Bootylicious.’” she said in the interview.

She wrote and composed the song as a member of Destiny’s Child but she called the song a “launching pad” for her soon-to-follow superstardom. 

“It was the beginning of me using whatever life handed me and turning it into something empowering to other women and men who were struggling with the same thing,” she said.

The 28-time Grammy Award-winner also opened up about her rejection of diet culture and journey to self-care.

“In the past, I spent too much time on diets, with the misconception that self-care meant exercising and being overly conscious of my body,” she said. “My health, the way I feel when I wake up in the morning, my peace of mind, the number of times I smile, what I’m feeding my mind and my body — those are the things that I’ve been focusing on.”

After describing her typical diet, which required “no bread, no carbs, no sugar, no dairy, no meat, no fish, no alcohol,” she said she would never push herself that far again.

Paying homage to her mother, Beyoncé mentioned “she worked 18 hours a day with calloused hands and swollen feet. No matter how tired she was, she was always professional, loving, and nurturing. I try to handle my work and run my company in the same way.” However, she added, “I think like many women, I have felt the pressure of being the backbone of my family and my company and didn’t realize how much that takes a toll on my mental and physical well-being … Mental health is self-care too. I’m … focusing my energy on my body and taking note of the subtle signs that it gives me. Your body tells you everything you need to know, but I’ve had to learn to listen.”