It's safe to say that Harry Styles and Lizzo have been enjoying a blossoming friendship of late. From performing together in Miami last month, to covering each other's songs in the Radio 1 Live Lounge, and cozying up together during last night's Brit Awards, they've been hanging out a fair bit.
However, fans on Twitter have noticed an interesting disparity in the responses to Harry hanging out with Lizzo, compared to the coverage of him being linked to other female celebrities. And many think that it comes down to fatphobia and racism.
While as far as we know, Harry and Lizzo are just friends, they've been playfully flirting quite openly. Lizzo pointed to Harry during their joint performance of Juice on the lyrics, "You better come get your man, I think he got lost in my DMs," while Harry sang, "I wanna be way more than friends," before holding hands with Lizzo for the rest of the song.
Meanwhile, at last night's Brit Awards, Harry and Lizzo were seen cuddling up and messing about together during their interviews with Jack Whitehall. Plus, in a recent radio interview with Kiss FM, Lizzo said of Harry, "We've collabbed - his d*ck in my a**hole," while she also sang, "Oh Harry" pretty sensually during her Radio 1 Live Lounge set.
Despite all of this quite intentional flirting between them, much of the media coverage and social media response to Harry and Lizzo has largely been in the context of their friendship. In comparison, when Harry flirts or is remotely linked to other female celebrities, the response is mostly that of dating rumours.
the brits would've been so boring without harry and lizzo glad my babies were there pic.twitter.com/RVxAQ6iEXQ
— kim 98 (@VUITTONSUGAR) February 19, 2020
Other women Harry has hung out with (or been in the same room as) in the past - and has subsequently been rumoured to have dated - include Victoria's Secret models Cara Delevingne, Nadine Leopold and Sara Sampaio (plus many more). That's despite never having publicly flirted with any them. So why, then, are there no suggestions that Harry and Lizzo are more than friends on this occasion?
The disparity has led fans to consider that the reaction could be covertly racist and fatphobic. Essentially, nobody suggests that Harry and Lizzo are dating because she doesn't look like the sample-size, white women he's historically been linked with.
Fans have taken to Twitter to express their thoughts, pointing out that Lizzo is pretty much the only female celebrity Harry isn't rumoured to have dated.
lizzo and harry hold hands and flirt in front of the whole world to see and yet nobody’s like “are lizzo and harry dating?2?2??”
why is that? the one time the fans and news aren’t exploding when harry interacts with a woman???
hmm I wonder why pic.twitter.com/EBEBw3IZzV
— IG: fat_fab_feminist ♀️ (@fatfabfeminist) February 18, 2020
harry: is seen with a skinny white woman doing nothing remotely romantic
the media: THEY’RE DATING
harry & lizzo:
the media: a budding friendship? https://t.co/xeqLx0kQCh
— grace (@aestheticwnt) February 18, 2020
literally. if he was out with lana, ari, or any other skinny girl doing this EVERYONE would be like omg ship omg they’re dating. daily mail would say some shit like “harry styles and ___ flirting on stage. could they be dating? but it’s lizzo so no. https://t.co/01w0bOAq9V
— audreyʕ•̫͡•ʔ is SEEING HARRY (@hazhasmedicine) February 18, 2020
lizzo and harry are straight up flirting all the time but media doesn’t dare to assume they are dating, but when harry breathes next to a white skinny girl he is suddenly married to them, i’m so fucking angry
— ana✰ (ia bc school) (@anaisfalling) February 18, 2020
if lizzo was skinny and white the entire world would be speculating that her and harry are dating
— charlie (@charlierhia) February 19, 2020
Meanwhile, others blatantly called out the situation for demonstrating subtle racism and fatphobia.
Y’all speculate and reach when Harry and Kendall are seen in the same room. But you don’t have any theories about Harry and Lizzo ever dating. Leave your fatphobia and racism behind next time pic.twitter.com/g5oNBwLuVU
— m o r g s 🌻 (@Gucci_God_Harry) February 19, 2020
isn’t it wild that lizzo and harry have sang each other’s songs, replied to and retweeted each other’s tweets, PERFORMED together, and haven’t got any dating rumors in the media? is that racism and fatphobia i smell?
— tiger ◟̽◞̽ loves loki (@mcuxmemes) February 18, 2020
It's still early days in Harry and Lizzo's friendship, but it's a valid point and we should be all be questioning why widespread dating rumours are nowhere to be found.
Recently, Love Island has been held up as an example of how people of colour still experience racism when it comes to dating, and plus-size women still report being fat-shamed on dating apps. Whether there's anything going on between Harry and Lizzo or not, the responses to their friendship are still indicative of a wider problem that many people experience daily, and they show that there's still more work to be done for us all.
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