Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Gabourey-Love . . .

I love this girl.

It's no secret that Hollywood loves a skinny, barely-there girl; I've written about it several times on my own blog, and the images are everywhere. Actresses flaunt their protruding shoulder blades, prominent ribs, and stick-thin arms like battle scars from the Somme; after all, they had to workout like mad and avoid any carbs or sugars like leprosy in order to get them. There are a few, sure, who don't have to work so hard, but most accept that to look acceptable in La-la Land means being a size 0.

Then, we have Gabourey Sidibe. You would have to have been living under a rock not to have heard of the Oscar-nominated film Precious that she starred in, and her amazing, breakout performance in it. She rocked the red carpet at the Academy Awards in a gorgeous Marchesa gown, and said that "if fashion is porn, then this dress is the money shot." She was sassy and funny, and completely and utterly unapologetic for not being wafer-thin.

And, it didn't take the vultures long to start circling.

Howard Stern attacked her, saying she was the "size of a planet" and that she was dreaming if she thought she could have a career in Hollywood at her weight. A weight-loss drug manufacturer (and, we all know how reputable they can be), reportedly sent her a letter stating that "The only way you can reach your goal of someday winning that Oscar is by being active, fit, and most of all, healthy!" and offered her a year's supply of their product in return for an endorsement. Let me think about where they can shove their pills after that ridiculous statement. As though she lost the Oscar because Sandra Bullock was thinner than she was, demeaning two amazing actresses in one go. Classy.

And while all this would make me curl up in a little ball of misery, Sidibe has proven to be made of tougher stuff, with a remarkably healthy view on it all: "They [the press] try to paint the picture that I was this downtrodden, ugly girl who was unpopular in school and in life and then I got this role and now I'm awesome, but the truth is that I've been awesome, and then I got this role." She loves the way she looks, whatever size she is. She certainly doesn't see herself as an object of pity or scorn, and doesn't see why anyone else should either.

Luckily, not everyone has their claws out: Oprah is a huge champion of the actress, and Jessica Simpson, who I have always thought was treated terribly unfairly by the media has also said, "She walked the red carpet at the Oscars and she owned it. She had such confidence and I absolutely 100 percent think she could get anything in the world that she wants."

I hope to see much more of Gabby in the months and years to come, a proud, beautiful, talented, sassy actress who deserves to change some of those Hollywood stereotypes. She's already been cast in an HBO series and an indie film, and the scripts are probably pouring in.

Good luck, Gabby; stay classy and sassy for me;)


Tricia McWhorter said...

I'm right there with you! Good post.

Kimba said...

My only argument is that for some reason Hollywood (and the public at large) seems able to accept larger size African-American women far more readily than caucasian women...and this is yet another example of the prejudice we women face daily.