Woman Empowering Women: Demi Lovato

Through various Facebook entries, it feels as if I’ve been working on this post for over a year, and despite this, I think I will never truly be finished with it. I will always have love for my girl Demi Lovato, one in my holy trinity along with Lady Gaga and the legendary Britney (but not to forget other noteworthy female musicians) but there have been some very valid critiques of her. I am a mega-fan with some apprehension, and maybe in some ways a harsh critic because, well, I love her so damn much.

When she is not getting into petty arguments with the likes of Taylor Swift and Mariah Carey, she is belting out powerful pop-anthems and raising awareness and supporting her communities including but not limited to the mental health community which is also very close to my heart. But before I get into the praise let’s get a few things straight:

Lovato has struggled with addiction and body image issues which are nothing to belittle or demean. In an article by John Gavin Harp, he says:

Shortly following her rehabilitation, she rebranded herself as a survivor for fans all over the world to look up to. This persona came off as authentic, which can’t be said for her latest shenanigans.

I have to agree with this statement. DEMI is by far my favourite album of hers, save her love ballad of ‘Stone Cold’ on her album Confident where I think she really hit the nail on the head on what works best for her vocal talent. On Confident she comes off as a bit of a sell-out. She has a number of sponsorships and partnerships with the likes of Tampax Radiant, Twister, and Skechers and launched her own skin-care line which she advertises in her music video ‘Cool For the Summer’ (https://goo.gl/mqwXrR) at 1:28 for goodness sake! She said in a radio interview that she is having a great time sober but with her new album she wanted to show that while misbehaving she was having “a damn good time”. Lovato wants to come off as a party-girl, even though she has long given up the party scene.

When her ‘Cool For The Summer’ song was released, the first single from the Confident album, I was really disappointed. I get that she’s been sober for 5 years and wants to move on from her struggles but that doesn’t mean you forget you have a huge impressionable following who want more than a pop-party banger from their role model and confident means more than romping around in a less-than-there outfit.

Now, about what confident means. Lovato came out with a nude, no makeup, no retouching. photoshoot in October 2015’s issue of Vogue and even though I am a die hard fan of hers and understand what she was trying to put across I think she was far off from what her followers, or at least this one, wants from her. How does Lovato feel confident? In this critique of the spread, it’s this:

The answer is stripping down and making it clear to the world you are implausibly sexy, even without the aid of Photoshop, cosmetics, and strategic lighting. The answer is reminding every person who also feels insecure about their body that they don’t look as good naked as you do.

Lovato struggled with her body image issues for a long time — her whole life even — but her solution to feel comfortable in a body that she has taken every measure to ensure is acceptable by what she thinks and seems to agree is the standard idea of beauty is just wrong to me. Is the only way of getting acceptance and finally coming to terms with our body image issues to conform to the large part of society’s standards of beauty?

demi-lovato_-_hollywire-68228

Beyond that, Lovato is a great advocate for the LGBTQ+ and mental health communities. As she divulged on Ellen, she executive-produced a documentary called Beyond Silence, which follows three individuals thriving despite a mental health struggle. Despite all this analyzing, I love Lovato, and as a mental health advocate myself I want her to get her act together and really be the voice of a generation. She is a role model and idol for some many(!), and represents the aspirations of loads of young women.

I hope she does come back with a new album, even though she claimed to be taking a break from music. There has been a recent studio-teaser on her Instagram (I would know) and that has now been revealed as a collab with Cheat Codes. I am optimistic that if she does make more of her own music after getting a Grammy nod she will be authentic and stick to that soulful sound we love so much.

I know this sounds more bad than good, but it is only because I hold her to such a high standard and really want her to unify her sound, her image, her voice, to truly reflect her beliefs and values. If you brand yourself as a feminist, don’t tear down other female musicians — that’s all I’m saying — which might seem a bit hypocritical of me to say after this critique, but I do truly love her and think she is doing really great things.

I leave you with her singing my all-time favourite song of hers in a living room on James Corden’s late night show:

So raw. So beautiful. Gosh, through all of it I sure do love this gal.

xo

Ashlinn

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