I follow Cardi B on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. I’d follow Cardi through the desert and feed her sips of Hennessy on crushed ice if she asked me to. I’m not a pop star stan in general but I see Cardi as a middle finger to respectability politics. She’s a port in the storm of expectations that every woman of color should conduct herself like Meghan Markle to get a little respect.
From the pole to the screen to the mic, Cardi’s body positivity is always on ten. This is the woman who twerked on stage at Coachella seven months preggo. She's also the woman who rapped about Chipotle queso (on someone else’s song, at that) and then received a lifetime supply of it from the company. You cannot consume all that queso and not be body positive. I would know.
Here’s one of the tricky parts of becoming a celebrity influencer though: People want you to endorse things. And when you’re a woman influencer, sometimes these things are bullshit wellness products that perpetuate not just patriarchal but unrealistic and downright irresponsible body ideals. One of Cardi’s most recent IG posts endorses Teami, a brand of tea and tea products to “detox” your body and help you lose weight (it was unclear, at first, whether it was a paid endorsement or not, since her original post didn’t include a discount code).
Now I believe strongly in Cardi’s (and every woman's) right to stack paper by any means necessary, but hear me out:
Detoxing is not a thing unless you’re talking about drug withdrawal.
“As a rule of thumb anything labelled as a 'detox' should set your bullshit detector off,” says James Brown, senior lecturer of biosciences at Aston University in the UK, who’s been vocal about celebrities’ endorsements of quick-fix wellness products. He tells me that tea itself—especially green tea—can be incredibly beneficial; it contains biologically active compounds, such as catechins, which can strengthen the body in many ways. “In terms of detoxing however, Cardi B—like the rest of us—has a liver and as long as it’s functioning well, it's detoxing her system 24/7/365 for free.”
He says to avoid wasting time and money on teatoxes, or any other types of cleanses (we have contacted Teami for comment and will update this post if they reply). Instead, Brown suggests sticking to eating a healthy, balanced diet and getting enough physical activity.
Cardi, please don’t go full Kim K on us with “get skinny quick” endorsements.
Belcalis. From one Uptown girl to another (disclaimer, I just moved Uptown two years ago and it’s not even the Bronx): There are millions of teenage girls watching your every move, learning about incredible things like body autonomy, financial self-sufficiency, and about how to not give a fuck and be your most authentic self. Going the KarJenner (and Sarah Palin?!) route by plugging pricey “health” products that boast a quick fix for weight loss amplifies false hope, eating disorder culture, and the message that we don’t need a long-term plan for taking care of ourselves. And that brings me to my next point.
You just had a baby. Ignore the weird societal pressure and take your time getting your body to where you want it.
I cannot personally speak to the effort it takes to lose a baby belly or get certain parts of your body back in formation but it’s pretty psychologically damaging to suggest that every woman who gives birth should be able to snap back to flat-ish stomach immediately, considering the surreal thing her body just did. I’m unsure whether Cardi is really drinking this tea or just endorsing it, but perhaps stick to the regular kind and sip it for pleasure and the long-term benefits Brown describes. Cardi, your people will wait as long as you need. We were all about you fatting in peace, so we’ll sit patiently while you thin, or don’t. Regardless, no teatox needed.
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This article originally appeared on VICE US.