To answer this question, we must first ask ourselves a very important question. Did Sam Smith go too far or are we just not ready to embrace true queer happiness?
Had already pre-saved Sam’s new album and when it came out, I replayed it an unhealthy number of times a day. I really related to a lot of the lyrics, my favorite song being “perfect, in which Sam says “I’m not perfect, but I’m worth it”. When I saw that a music video had been released for “I’m not here to make friends” I was ecstatic! I thought it was one of Sam’s best music videos because they truly looked so happy and comfortable in their skin. However, when I read the comments, I was… Shooketh. People had been making all sorts of terrible remarks about Sam’s body and the clothing they were wearing. All of which is absolute rubbish because Sam looked stunning, especially in that black outfit with the thigh high slit and corset.
The most upsetting comment to me was “what happened to bad omen Sam Smith?”. If you don’t know what that means, basically they are referring to when Sam Smith was thin. This really upset me because Sam has spoken about how they had serious body image issues in the past and the pressure from the music industry to look a certain way didn’t help. They once said in an interview that just because I’ve lost weight doesn’t mean that I’m happy and content with my body. Because of the media, and because of what I feel I should look like, it’s always going to be a battle.” This was in 2015. In 2019, Sam said in an Instagram post “In the past if I have ever done a photoshoot with so much as a t-shirt on, I starved myself for weeks in advance…”. So, to see Sam Smith so confidently embracing their body in the music video, looking so happy and full of life was inspiring. I am so proud of them for how far they have come on their journey of selflove and I wish other people felt the same.
Unfortunately, people are still holding on to toxic ideas of beauty and queerness. This is not an issue of just fatphobia or homophobia, it’s both and a lot more. The problems people have with Sam’s music video stem from ideas that go so far back in the past. The saddest thing about this controversy to me is the fact that this is an issue even within the queer community. There has long been a certain standard for what queer people should look and act like, especially in the gay community. Standards which are still evident in Grindr profiles today that say, “no fats/no fems”. Many people in the queer community grow up looking at themselves through a microscope, picking up insecurities like monkeys pick lice, carefully curating their personality and actions; creating so many facades that they lose themselves.
I would know, I did it too.
And despite it all society and their community still reject them. Why? Because they do not fit the beauty standards that have been set by society and the standards of beauty for queer people are extremely high both within the community and out.
So, did Sam Smith go too far? I don’t think so. I think they did a lot less compared to many other artists in the industry. The only difference between them and Sam is the fact that people don’t like seeing queer people happy, they do not like seeing people whose bodies don’t fit their standards and if you combine the two, well…
This is a new era for Sam Smith and I am 100% here for it.