In 2017, Selena Gomez had kidney transplant surgery after undergoing chemotherapy for her autoimmune disease, Lupus. Lupus can have a wide variety of physical impacts on the body including weight gain or loss, a “butterfly” rash on the face, swelling of facial features due to steroid treatments, hair loss, acne and can even require those with the illness to rely on a cane, wheelchair or other mobility aids to get around due to debilitating joint pain. On the inside, Lupus can cause organ failure, kidney damage, nerve pain, fatigue and stiff joints. Obviously, this is not a disease to be taken lightly.
Earlier last week, several photos surfaced of Selena Gomez wearing a bikini while out with friends in Sydney Harbor. The photos, quite obviously taken by a paparazzi and not with Gomez’s explicit consent, showed her various scars from surgery, including one on her back and one on her inner thigh. Among the rhetoric were various explanations of the scars, questioning of their location and apparent shock that Gomez was wearing such an “exposing” suit after having surgery. But why does the public feel as though they have a right to analyze and scrutinize Gomez’s body in the first place?
Before Gomez came forward about having Lupus, she was criticized for weight gain. Could you imagine being diagnosed with a chronic, deadly illness, and then being told that you’ve gained weight? While her main concern should have been on her health and wellbeing, she’s being pressured to look pleasing for others.
Even after the transplant, people had opinions. According to Style Caster, in a now-deleted tweet, one user wrote, “Does any one has explanation for it. Please guy’s don’t get me wrong. @selenagomez looks bit fat in her recent pic in Sydney. But her physique looks splendid in Puma. Why such difference?”
She had a new organ placed into her body to save her life — that’s why. Surgery alone can cause weight gain or loss, due to appetite changes, laying in bed and being unable to exercise. Now, while she is trying to enjoy her life that was recently in danger, people feel as though they have the liberty to point out what she may have no control over.
Although it had no clear reference to the tweets, Gomez posted an Instagram caption that appeared to be in response: “The beauty myth — an obsession with physical perfection that traps modern woman in an endless cycle of hopelessness, self consciousness, and self-hatred as she tries to fulfill society’s impossible definition of flawless beauty. I chose to take care of myself because I want to, not to prove anything to anyone.”
The titles of these reports, if for whatever reason a news outlet feels the need to publish the photos, should be nothing short of “Selena Gomez enjoys a day in the sun with her friends in Sydney,” or “Gomez looks great in her bikini while on a boat.” Her scars are something that she has no control over, and should be treated as such. Any scrutiny is unnecessary and harmful to not only Gomez, but any sufferers of illnesses that may have left them with scars. Perhaps Gomez would like the opportunity in the future to speak about her scars and what the surgery did to her body, but until then, this is a part of her story that would be best told by her alone.