Bella Hadid’s ‘Revenge Body’ Is Not A Thing

Why does the model’s appearance at the Met Gala always have to be linked back to a man? asks columnist Lucy Vine

bella hadid

by Lucy Vine |
Published on

Sometimes it’s like a term gets stuck in the internet’s head, like an annoying song repeating over and over when you’re trying to sleep. The words ‘Revenge body’ are suddenly everywhere I look, like an X Factor novelty song frantically trying to get a Christmas number one.

On Monday night, supermodel Bella Hadid turned up at the annual Met Gala looking like she always does. Which is to say, ridiculously hot and thin because she is, as previously mentioned, a supermodel. It is her literal job to go to fashion-y things in skin-tight, see-through things and look excellent. And she’s good at it, so well done her.

But because an ex-boyfriend – The Weeknd – was also in attendance, with his new girlfriend – Selena Gomez – and they all happen to be famous, suddenly there was more to it. Her body and the way she looked was some kind of deliberate, desperate ploy; a scheme devised specifically to hurt him. Bella’s body was her weapon to one-up someone she used to love. Twitter exploded with stories that declared, ‘Bella Hadid redefines Revenge Body on the Met Gala red carpet’, and, ‘Bella Hadid sends a killer revenge body message’.

Which, come on, is ridiculous. When did wanting to look nice become an angry thing – a form of ‘revenge’? Actually, the whole concept of having a body as a form of revenge is bizarre. The message is, of course, that the only way women can have power in a break up is to be thin – lose weight – and show everyone that. But Bella has been this shape probably since she was, like, I’m gonna say… one and a half? This isn’t something she’s done to ‘show him what’s he’s missing’ like some sassy girl in a rom-com. She doesn’t look this way because of him. To say her looks are about an ex actively diminishes Bella and takes away her autonomy.

Why do we do this? We pick up and examine single women like they are curiosities. We act like a single girl’s every action is about men, and either finding a new one or punishing the old ones. Shouting about Bella’s ‘revenge body’ makes an assumption that she is sad and lonely about this split, but she doesn’t look that sad to me? And when they broke up last November, it was rumoured to be – not just amicable – but actually totally her decision.

And how come we don’t do this to men? No one was checking the tightness of Tyga’s ass and screaming REVENGE BODY at him when he turned up at Coachella the other week, a few feet away from his ex, Kylie Jenner. Did we find out if Tom Hiddleston hit the gym suitably hard after his break up from Taylor Swift, with the intention of upsetting her? Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom keep going to the same showbiz parties, but is anyone demanding the actor get naked on a paddleboard so we can check his abs are suitably revenge-y? We look at Katy though, you bet we do. Is that blonde, pixie haircut about revenge? About furiously, aggressively showing Orlando what he used to have? In fact, maybe that’s why the singer wore an actual red sheet (fashion term) over her head at this year’s Met – so no one would be able to dissect just how revenge-appropriate her look is right now.

I don’t mind the idea of a revenge body, exactly. I would just prefer to think of it under the umbrella of Beyoncé smashing cars in Lemonade, or this lady ripping off the wing mirrors of misogynists. To me, that’s a body exacting revenge. A strong, angry revenge body. Bella Hadid has no such intent, she’s just being a human woman, attending a work party and getting on with her life.

Follow Lucy on Twitter at @lecv

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