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 the recent 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 the 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 collaborated—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 rumors.
Other women Harry has hung out with (or been in the same room as) in the past—and has subsequently been rumored 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 rumored to have dated.
Meanwhile, others blatantly called out the situation for demonstrating subtle racism and fatphobia.
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 rumors are nowhere to be found.
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.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.